“A dwarf hunter accompanied by his bear treads steadily through the midst of the blizzard. With a beard speckled with snow, he stops to scan the horizon before continuing on his way, leaning on his musket. Ironforge, the dwarf capital , stands in the background, carved into the side of the mountain … “ It’s an understatement to say that the very first images of the game’s fabulous intro cinematic World of warcraft have left a lasting mark on the retinal memory of those who were about to embark on the long adventure of this massively multiplayer role-playing game.
Released in February 2005 and developed by the studio Blizzard Entertainment, WOW for Insiders has redefined online gambling for several million people. Often imitated and copied, but never equaled, the competitors have broken their teeth on a title which has become, whatever one can say, an absolute reference and exceptional longevity. It is also preparing to welcome the eighth expansion of the game, World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, by the end of the year.
Each new chapter of the game has been introduced by fabulous cinematics signed by the studio. Renowned for being ultra perfectionist in its game design, the studio is also praised for its exceptional mastery and world-renowned expertise in CGI cutscenes, to the point of being sometimes nicknamed “the Pixar of video games”. We keep as such and for example a still moved memory of that, extraordinary, which accompanied the launch of the release of the extension of his game. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, in 2008.
It is to say if one threw oneself with greed on the sumptuous Artbook devoted to the Art of the cinematics of the game World of warcraft, available since October 15 and published by the young house Mana Books, specializing in the editions of superb books devoted in particular to the world of video games. From the pen of Greg Solano and Matt Burns, the book sweeps in 248 pages all the creations of cutscenes, up to the one designed for the expansion Warlords of Draenor, released in 2014. Considering the density and the maddening richness of Artworks, this artbook is only volume 1. The next one will logically evoke the cutscenes of the extensions “Legion”, “Battle for Azeroth”, and the last which must be released soon.
In addition to retracing the history of the team in charge of cutscenes at Blizzard, a small team of enthusiasts who were demanding at first glance, who had achieved the feat of offering 8 minutes of cutscenes on Warcraft ii – never seen before – in 1995, the book offers a detailed analysis behind the scenes of the creation of these cinematics, with the ever more assertive desire to push back the technical limits despite the constraints, the difficulties of scene, the choice of framing …
Richly fed by tasty anecdotes from the creators (such as the inspiration for the creation of the cinematic of Myst of Pandaria, whose benchmark in terms of rhythm was Chuck Jones’ Looney Tunes!), the book offers a rather rare – and therefore precious – point of view on the backstage of a department that fans (and journalists!) would dream of. be able to visit. A department which mobilizes more than a hundred people working only on the cutscenes. Months and months of work for a result that lasts no more than a few minutes. We also know that, given the importance of this work on CGIs, Blizzard has even created a cinematics department solely dedicated to World of Warcraft.
But there is more: the studio remains to this day one of the very few to still do these cinematics internally, where the competition has been subcontracting for years to specialized companies (and sometimes of very high level, such as Blur) the creation of these. This work devoted to the art of cinematics of the studio does not fail to maintain the very hypothetical fantasy of a future feature film entirely in CGI made in Blizzard. We can always dream…
World of Warcraft: Cinematic Art – Volume 1
248 pages / 299 x 260 mm artbook
Price: € 34.90
Mana Books publisher website
To situate the level and for fun, here is the last cutscene of the game, dedicated to the Shadowlands expansion: