What say you to the idea of a feature film based on The Secret World? It's a pretty cool thought, however unlikely, amirite?
Yesterday, someone linked me to one of those mash-up YouTube fan trailers that purported to be a teaser for a Secret World movie, and it was so well done that I spent portions of the day collecting as many pro-quality TSW trailers as I could find. Most of these I'd seen already. Some are fairly obscure, though, and given the bad news swirling around the game these last few weeks, I figured that today's Chaos Theory ought to take a step back and celebrate some of the awesome that stems from the TSW's chewy narrative center.
It's probably best to start at the beginning, and Funcom's first foray into TSW trailer goodness happened way back in 2009. You probably remember the clip. It stars everyone's favorite milkshake-slurping Dragon girl (now that the game's out, we know her as Mei Ling) as well as a big nasty that doesn't seem to phase our plucky heroine in the slightest.
The clip immediately gave us some clues as to the game's penchant for horror stylings and scary critters, and it also showed off a couple of potential weapons in the samurai sword and some elemental fire powers. The big thing here (as it is with all these clips, really) was the atmosphere, and it's fair to say that this trailer went a long way toward establishing early notions of how The Secret World would feel even when we didn't know how it would play.
Also, that milkshake sounded really good.
Later that same year, Funcom released a new cinematic in time for the annual Penny Arcade Expo. This time around, the star of the show was Rose, the official Templar mascot NPC who was paired with one of those creeptastic Solomon Island raven dudes. Like the previous cinematic, this one is short, sweet, and jam-packed with the title's signature real-world-but-not-quite stylings.
We also got a look at another weapon choice (the shotgun).
Let's fast-forward to 2011 for this next one. It's part three of what I'm calling the factional protagonist trilogy, and it features Alex of the Illuminati. Alex likes to drink, smoke, and do otherworldly tricks with his pocket change.
He's also quite cool under pressure, and he doesn't so much as bat an eyelash at the oozing terror making use of an adjacent urinal. Funcom ups the supernatural ante in this clip, and personally, I found this video to be the one that convinced me to follow The Secret World closely during its pre-launch buildup.
This next one is one of my all-time favorites, not just from The Secret World's trailer lineup but in terms of game trailers, period. That's a pretty bold statement, I know, but it's a pretty badass clip, all things considered. The occasion was Gamescom 2011, and the fictional setting was a bombed-out section of New York City.
Once again, our three mascots take center stage, only this time they're joined by an Obi-Wan Kenobi analogue named Zuberi, whom players first encounter during The Secret World's Tokyo subway tutorial mission.
Since we're speaking of subways: The Cthulu-style monstrosity lurking beneath the streets of New York apparently doesn't like them too much because he sends one of the cars crashing towards our heroes just prior to his grand entrance. You may remember this clip from when we posted about it earlier this summer in conjunction with Funcom's NYC raid announcement.
The new content is clearly inspired by the trailer (or is it the other way around?), and I can't wait to see whether the actual in-game encounter is as epic as the cinematic.
What's better than the previous four trailers? How about a synthesis set to some pulse-pounding action-movie music intercut with a good sampling of gameplay footage? That's exactly what we got with The Secret World's pre-order trailer. There's not much more to say about it other than it kicks holy ass, so enjoy the embed above.
Funcom scaled back the CG for its Everything is True trailer, but the results are no less impressive. This three-minute clip paid homage to plenty of popular myths as well as some lesser-known legends (urban and otherwise) from a variety of cultures. The stark white-on-black inter-titles are occasionally interrupted with slow pans across a few of the game's fantastical landscapes, and all of this is underscored by a musical track lifted from the original score to Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ feature film.
An unexpected musical choice also reared its head in our next video. 1950's R&B queen Dinah Washington probably isn't a household name for many gamers, but her vocals nonetheless graced Funcom's launch trailer for The Secret World. The musical track was a remix that also featured portions of Max Richter's On the Nature of Daylight, and the resulting combination is pitch-perfect accompaniment for the scenes of nihilistic dread that make up the clip's three-minute running time.
Finally, let's close this week's column with a pair of fan-made gems. First up is a five-minute masterpiece of mise-en-scene by a YouTube user known as IndependentAlien. Mashup footage from most of the vids above is the order of the day here, as is a heaping helping of stylized gameplay augmented by Awolnation's pop electronica (the song's called Sail).
Last but not least is the faux film trailer I mentioned in the intro. YouTube user bloodrunsclear serves up a delicious combo of popular film clips that look tailor-made for Funcom's globe-trotting conspiracy storyline. Throw in a shot of an in-game monster and a soundtrack that mixes the Smashing Pumpkins and 30 Seconds to Mars and we have 83 seconds of fanboy bliss.
That's all I've got for you this week. I know, it was a bit of a fluffy departure from my usual rantings, ravings, and guides. Every so often it's good to remind ourselves that the point of all this is to have fun, though, and what better way to do that than by geeking out on some terrific cinematics?
Yes, Jef Reahard is paid to play The Secret World. But he's not paid by Funcom; Massively leaves the bribes and the bad grammar to its imitators (it's a conspiracy!). Chaos Theory comes your way every Thursday, bringing you Gaia's latest news, guides, and commentary.