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BlizzCon 2010: Warcraft cinematics panel


CATACLYSM WARNING: There are spoilers here.

The BlizzCon 2010 Warcraft cinematic panel took place Sunday morning and featured the answers to some of the most common questions about Cataclysm cinematics.

Of course, you might have seen the big news about the amazing worgen cinematic. This video is intended to take place in the in-character timeline right as you learn your character's fate in Gilneas. It provides you vital information about how your character was captured after joining the furry crowd and how it came to be in stocks in the middle of the town square.

The cinematic is fantastic. It's leagues different from the goblin cinematic. The goblin story is fast-paced and action-packed. The worgen story, by comparison, is moody and dark. It highlights the humanity of the worgen and sets the genre away from simple, raw adventure into something deeper and meaningful.

One of the most interesting explanations about the video is that everything in the video is created entirely from in-game models. Lord Godfrey's cloak, for example, is actually the same one worn by Arthas. Godfrey's glasses might be recognizable as the ones Ozzy wore in his Prince of Darkness clip. The cage in which the worgen is caged is built from board, nails, and bars found around the player experience. While obviously the animation is created using more advanced techniques, every visual piece is taken from somewhere in game. This is intended to help keep the cinematic feeling real and like something that could happen in the World of Warcraft.

Two other bits will also prove to be especially interesting to WoW players everywhere.

The panel spoke about why goblins and worgen don't appear in the Cataclysm trailer. The simple answer is that the video was intended to be Deathwing's story. The trailer is about Deathwing's torture, rage, and emergence. Splicing in scenes about the new playable races felt like it distracted from that meaning. They could have included tiny little orcs falling out of the towers, for example, but that would have left the video feeling silly.

The team did want to feature a player character montage but without taking away from the amazing Deathwing visuals. To do that, the cinema folks focused on different recognizable locations within Azeroth. By using these familiar places, the team was able to nod to player action without distracting from the big, bad dragon. Everything in the video would be real and somewhere players could actually inhabit.

This leads us to the second important emphasis from the panel. Don't take Deathwing's flight across the world too literally since it is part of an artistic montage. That flight path wouldn't make much sense in a "real world" sense, but was meant to convey the awesome power of Deathwing soaring across Azeroth.

The panel also discussed the technical methods they used to create the videos. I think the important part to convey is how experienced the massive cinematic team has become. They use every tool at their disposal to constantly expand the quality of their animation. These videos are an important part of the WoW experience, since it helps the whole thing feel real and part of a story. I always look forward to hearing what these guys have to say.

BlizzCon 2010 is upon us! WoW Insider has all the latest news and information. We're bringing you liveblogging of the WoW panels, interviews with WoW celebrities and attendees and of course, lots of pictures of people in costumes. It's all here at WoW Insider!

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