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Blur Studio: creating commercial spots for video games

Titanfall 2, Doom, Halo Wars 2, Mafia III are all names of popular games that have a common link: Blur Studio. When it comes to commercial spots for these and other games, Blur is the name behind.

Blur Studio: commercial spots for videogames

Blur Studio worked with ad agency Argonaut San Francisco recently to create an action packed 90-second national commercial for Titanfall 2, the new game from EA. Business as usual, says the studio.

With the line between Cinema and video and computer games thinner for each day that passes, it’s only natural that the commercials for new games are created by teams who live with one foot in each camp. We’ve seen this marriage between video games and cinema evolve, supported by technology that allowed games, especially in modern day computers, to achieve breathtaking levels of detail… which makes them almost film-like.

The flow of narratives is not very different in many modern games (and old too) – look at Mafia, for example – with the main difference being that the hero is, usually, the viewer. But camera angles, all the tricks from Cinema and some others that a virtual environment and virtual cameras that can be placed anywhere allow to explore, contribute to video games, many times going beyond what normal Cinema can achieve.

That’s the reason why teams as the one at Blur Studio have appeared. Looking at Blur Studios history, which starts in 1995, when director Tim Miller and visual effects supervisor David Stinnett decided to create the space to “craft visually striking and engaging narratives – an ambition that remains true to this day”, it is easy to understand how the experience of the team in different areas leads them to create a variety of spots for different clients. From things as intergalactic sequences for Avatar, immersive stereoscopic animation for a 3D attraction at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, abstract black-on-black opening titles for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, to the almost entirely CG prologue of Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World… or multiple commercials for video games. It’s that segment of their experience we focus on here, showing some examples of the work done.

Titanfall 2 is one example. Blur Studio created an action packed 90-second national commercial for the new sequel to the blockbuster first person shooter developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA. Helmed by director Dave Wilson, the live-action and VFX hybrid combines naturalistic landscapes and sophisticated character animation to highlight new gameplay features and promote the expanded adventures available in Titanfall 2. The spot was produced by Blur and RESET; Blur also handled editorial, VFX and finishing.

Hunter Hindman, Founder/Chief Creative Officer, Argonaut, said, “We knew we were setting out to create something truly distinctive for the category and that Blur was one of the few partners that would be able to pull off a production of this scale and complexity. And they did so with style. Their talents in CGI are equally matched by what they can do in live action and we were thrilled to see how it came together to add a new level of dimension to our story.”

Wilson added, “We gave this spot Blur-style fast-paced action, but I’m glad they also wanted something more unique and conceptual. It weaves in character moments that you’re not used to seeing in a game commercial, it’s different, and required taking a risk that I believe paid off.”

The list of games for which Blur Studios has created commercials spans a few years now and includes clients as diverse as Microsoft, Bungie, Bethesda, Bioware,  Electronic Arts, Activision and others. On its website Blur Studios shows a total of 40 commercial spots for video game titles, from Fable III or Firefall to  multiple Batman and Star Wars games. It’s a unique voyage of discovery that we suggest you make, as it will give you an idea of what is being created and also the evolution of this specific area of the market: commercial spots for video games.

Here we point to some examples that confirm the variety of genres and the diversity of work Blur Studios has created for video games.  One example is the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic Digital Expansion – Knights of the Eternal Throne, which sees Blur teaming up with Bioware once again. Last year’s trailer pitted brother against brother. This year, in “Betrayed,” directed by Blur’s Dave Wilson, mother faces off with daughter in the epic family battle for who controls the empire.

DOOM “Fight Like Hell” spot was created to promote the much-loved franchise Doom. Alongside Bethesda and agency AKQA, Blur worked with director Joe Kosinski to extend the reach of one of gaming’s oldest and strongest brands by creating an action and character driven 60sec spot for the game.

Ubisoft’s popular Assassin’s Creed franchise needed a spot so award-winning director Joe Kosinski (Reset Content) teamed up with Tim Miller and Blur Studio to create the spot “Unity”. Tapped by agency Sid Lee Paris and collaborating with production company Iconoclast, Blur produced the emotionally charged, all-CG commercial featuring massive crowds and intricately animated characters storming the streets of 1780’s Paris.

Mafia III: Worldwide Reveal Trailer is another spot to watch. Blur’s Dave Wilson directed this highly-anticipated trailer for the brave new installment in the popular Mafia series. Publisher 2K and developer Hangar 13 reveal a new definition of “family” in this hard-boiled story of organized crime. Set in 1968 in a reimagined New Orleans, the rich art direction and compelling story stood out at the trailer’s premiere at Gamescom 2015 in Cologne, Germany.

These and many others represent some of the highlights of Blur Studio’s portfolio, one which extends to other areas of work of this Oscar- and Emmy-nominated production studio based in Culver City, California. Visit their website for multiple hours of pure visual delight.

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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…

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