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The Elder Scrolls Online: The Arrival Cinematic Trailer

By 3dtotal staff

Web: http://www.blur.com/ (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 14th March 2014

Blur Studio director, Dave Wilson lays his Magicka to rest and recharges his Stamina to chat to us about the latest awesome cinematics created for The Elder Scrolls Online

All images copyright: Blur Studio, AKQA, Bethesda Softworks and ZeniMax Online Studios


Few game cinematics have caused such a huge rise in anticipation for a game than the recent Elder Scrolls Online cinematics. Both The Alliances and The Arrival have been watched online by millions of viewers.

Dave Wilson was the director over at Blur Studios where these incredible trailers were created. He talks about some of the difficult processes involved in creating them, such as that incredible moment when the chains drop down from the newly opened portal, and the challenges faced by having such an open spec to begin with. No doubt it took a lot of Stamina, and maybe Health was affected to some degree, but with a little Magicka, anything is possible...

Altmer elf from The Elder Scrolls Online 'The Arrival' trailer

"Enthusiasm is infectious and starts at the top; as long as you foster a welcoming, collaborative and friendly environment, it's natural for everyone to want to be a part of the process and pitch in"

3dtotal: Thanks for taking the time out to talk to us today. Congratulations on your work on The Elder Scrolls cinematics – both the The Arrival and The Alliances are truly awesome! How was it working on these? How long did they take to complete?

Dave Wilson: Working on both projects was fabulous. The initial brief called for a 3-minute trailer, but after seeing how nicely everything was coming together, we worked with AKQA and Bethesda to expand The Arrival and The Alliances into what they are today. They gave us key moments to hit, but beyond that, the brief was relatively open, which meant we had a lot of room to play. That kind of freedom allowed us to explore our creative possibilities in the best possible way. Production began in early 2012, and we wrapped up both trailers in about 18 months.

Nord from The Elder Scrolls Online 'The Arrival' trailer

Breton from The Elder Scrolls Online 'The Arrival' trailer

3dt: Do you have any favorite moments from either of the cinematic trailers?

DW: I have many! In the first trailer, I love the cavern scene – this came together better than originally imagined. It was also particularly exciting when they asked us to produce a second trailer.

With that said, I'd have to say one of my favorite parts of the second trailer is the battle scene with the Nord and his interaction with the scamp creatures. Figuring out how to best combine motion capture and keyframe animation was incredibly complicated, but the animation team did a stellar job. The destruction of the tower was also a highlight, and although a very ambitious undertaking our FX supervisor Brandon Riza led the charge with great success.

Daedra from The Elder Scrolls Online 'The Arrival' trailer

Last but not least, I really enjoyed the ending of trailer two with the undead Breton; it was a great way to cap things off and was actually one of the very last scenes we finished. Everything – the crowds, sound design, and matte paintings – came together beautifully and our lighting lead for this scene, Darren Butler, did a fantastic job in helping to set the right mood.

Atronach from The Elder Scrolls Online 'The Arrival' trailer

3dt: What were the biggest challenges you needed to overcome?

DW: I view challenges as a way to break new ground and make us better, so I try to incorporate these sorts of elements into the trailers I work on. That said our first challenge out of the gate was making sure our characters looked absolutely incredible since they would be the foundation. We spent a lot of time on the characters, especially on the finer details like hair and cloth.

Mathieu Aerni – our character modeling lead – was diligent at making sure all the characters were up to speed. We had a lot of people with various skill sets working on the project, and Mathieu made sure everything worked together harmoniously on screen, which set the tone for the rest of the project.

Nord from The Elder Scrolls Online 'The Arrival' trailer

Undead Breton approaching the Imperial City

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