At E3 this week, 343 Industries and Blur Studio debuted a two-minute trailer for upcoming Windows 10 and Xbox One game “Halo Wars 2” directed by Dave Wilson.

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E3 took over the downtown convention centre this week, with more than 70,000 game industry attendees from around the world. Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Square Enix, WB Games, 2K and more showcased their new games, VR, and game services at booths on the show floor. (Noticeably absent this year: no Activision, EA, or Konami on the show floor). One of the highlights of E3 was the release of this new Halo Wars 2 trailer (below). 

Blur Studio is an Oscar and Emmy-nominated production studio based in Culver City, California. Founded in 1995, the company provides animation, effects and design for a wide range of media  films, commercials, concept art, feature effects, music videos, game cinematics and broadcast design. We have featured their game cinematic work here many times before - it is the benchmark for quality and design. For example Mafia III) ...and that is before we get to their recent little films like say ... Deadpool.

The CG trailer shows the crew of the UNSC Spirit of Fire facing off against a dangerous mercenary force known as The Banished as they battle for supremacy within the Halo universe. To visually convey each leaders’ skill in quickly analyzing an action-packed battlefield, the trailer includes multiple slow-motion sequences at 1,000 frames per second, giving viewers a ringside look at what these commanders must process while in the heat of battle.

Performances were recorded via motion capture; Blur created a new character pipeline to handle The Banished characters’ unique facial structure and hair, and deliver an enhanced level of realism in CG.

The team used Softimage, 3DSMax with Ornatrix (for Hair) and the Foundry's Nuke. The team relied on V-Ray for the impressive rendering and also used FumeFX, thinkingParticles, Rayfire, Krakatoa and XMesh. The project also used Houdini.

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“We wanted a trailer that really showcased how the leaders in ‘Halo Wars 2’ find opportunity in chaos, focusing on those moments that separate the two factions of the UNSC and The Banished,” said Dan Ayoub, Studio Head of Strategy Games Development, 343 Industries. “After multiple collaborations with Blur throughout the life of the Halo franchise, we knew we could come to them to deliver with a trailer that engages fans and leaves them wanting to dive straight into the game to see even more.”

 

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“Blur has been collaborating on the ‘Halo’ franchise since 2008, but this game takes it to a new level of intensity and scale which was an exciting challenge,” said Dave Wilson of Blur, who directed the trailer. “Our team of 30 artists had already developed so many of the characters, environments, and assets for the in-game cinematics that when it came time to make the trailer, we had the freedom to focus on really cranking up the effects and ultimately making it a visual spectacle that reflects the unprecedented scope and scale of this game.”

 

Behind-the-scenes video from Blur Studio

In addition to the trailer, Blur is also creating 25 minutes of in-game cinematics for “Halo Wars 2” which comes out February 21, 2017. As a side note, Xbox also announced Xbox Play Anywhere allowing Xbox One and Windows 10 integration and the new high powered 4K Project Scorpio due Holiday 2017. The new console for release in 2017 packs a whopping 6 teraflops of processing power (compared to the current Xbox One's mere 1.31), along with a much improved 320GB/s of memory bandwidth, ( at the fxguide tech compound, we'd certainly love to play Halo Wars 2 with those specs!)

 

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The Blur team

Director: Dave Wilson
CG Supervisors: Sebastien Chort  and Peter Wildman
Producer: Tiffany Webber 
Executive Producer: Al Shier
Layout: Alex Beaty, David Nibbelin, Leo Ribeyrolles
Character Modeling Lead: Chris Grim
Character Modeling: Joel Durham, Gage Hedden, Christine Holmes, Daniel Kho, Samuel Perez, Beat Reichenbach, Tom Wholley
Modeling: Gage Hedden, Christine Holmes, Samuel Perez, Beat Reichenbach
Modeling TA: Daryn Houston
Head of Technical Animation: Jeremie Passerin 
Rigging Lead:Josh Cogswell
Rigger: Halsey Herms, Jennifer Hendrich
Tech Animation TD : Tyler Fox

Animation Supervisor: Thierry Labelle
Animation Lead: Ryan McGeary
Animation: John Fielding, Bryan Hillestad, Jeremiah Izzard, Thierry Labelle, Justin Murphy, Moy Parra, Oliver Parcasio, Jason Spencer Gals-worthy, Minji Suh
Cloth/Hair Lead: Yury Sakovich
Cloth/Hair: Arturo Aguilar, Marc Berrouet, Adam Dorner, Adnan Hussain, Mark Mancewicz, Yury Sakovich
Scene Assembly Lead: Gage Hedden
Scene Assembly: James Atilano, Chris Bedrosian, Paul Bush, Kenzie Chen, Gage Hedden, Kevin Herjono, Mike Johnson, Lauren Kaczor, Dan Levy
Compositing; John Cornejo, Bobby Cardenas, Wade Ivy, Bee Jin Tan, Jared Tripp

FX Supervisor: Kirby Miller
FX: Brian Alvarez, Daniel Chamberlin, Yates Holley, James Newton, Victor Wei

Production Supervisor: Rachel Berry
Motion Capture Supervisor: Anthony Romero
Stunt Riggers and Equipment: Action Factory Equipment, Damien Bray, Mariusz Klibicki
Mocap Stage: Rouge Productions
Mocap TD: Josh Guenard, Gabriel Romero
Mocap Talent: Damien Bray, Billy Bussey, Nosh Dalal, Tim Garris, Marius Kubicki, Eric Linden, Peter Maivia, TJ Storm
Motion Graphics Creative Director: Norn Jordan
Motion Graphics Designer/Animator: Evan Stalker
Production Coordinator and Assistant: Savanna Aghassian, Valerian Zamel, and Amanda Powell
Matte Painting: Nick Hiatt 
Pipeline: Will Cavanaugh, Mikey Kambli, Mike Hendricks, Mylene Pepe, Stephen Lu
Programming & Systems Administration: Duane Powell, Evan Baltimore, Chris Bouges, Alexander Chavez, Paul Huang, Matt Newell


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