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Environment design is a crucial component of any project as it sets the atmosphere of the game.
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Spy Twists and Turns: How Breathtaking Cut Scenes for Revived XIII Appeared
[Case Study]

August 21, 2020
Author: Victoria Mozolevskaya
2003, Ubisoft, a French video game company, decides to translate the famous comic strip into game reality. Its name is XIII, and it is a spy story of one man who got into a conspiracy cycle of a certain secret group, which framed him in pursuit of their goals. The game is realized in a hand-drawn style using cel shading technology and is very warmly received by the players. They are delighted with the stylish implementation, dashingly twisted plot, fast-paced gameplay and a unique, powerful atmosphere that harmoniously fastened all the components into a magnificent spy thriller.

2019, Microids, also a French video game company and the current owner of the rights to the game, announces a remake of XIII. Technology has taken a colossal leap forward, graphics are pushing boundaries every year, so a successful shooter that won many fans has every right to be reborn in line with the time spirit. The development of the game is entrusted to the Ukrainian game studio PlayMagic, which asks Kevuru Games for help in creating exciting and dynamic cut scenes. Challenge accepted: our team is honored to work on such a legendary project.
GOAL

Giving the game a modern look with modern approaches to creating graphics and state-of-the-art technologies

Rethinking the mechanics of movement and interaction of characters in cut scenes

Developing and customizing the environment corresponding to the style and atmosphere of the game
CHALLENGE

Create cut scenes for key moments in the game
TEAM COMPOSITION

3D modeler

3D animator

Project manager

Initial Data

In order to create an updated version of the cut scene, it is necessary to see how the old one looked. PlayMagic provided our team with character models and references in the form of a video from an old 2003 game, and we created a new version of the cut scene as close to the original as possible. Thus, the work was divided into two main areas: character animation and the creation of the scenes themselves in the required interior or exterior with all the necessary surrounding objects.

The geographic variability of key locations where the main game events take place is extremely high: from wide rooms in high-rise buildings to secluded courtyards, conference rooms and decks of steamers. Therefore, in addition to recreating the meaning of the scene, we needed to provide high detail and a level of realism for each environment so that all this did not run counter to the spy atmosphere of the game. Every detail, movement, object and overall color palette of the setting made a huge difference.

Although it was necessary to stick to the old videos, some improvements from our side were welcomed. For example, we could have made a suggestion for a better camera angle, character movement, or adding certain details that were not present in the original video.

Workflow

Thanks to the availability of material from the original game in the form of video and 3D character models, we settled into the work routine much smoother and faster: in addition to the fact that we had access to the visualization of all levels, there was no need to create character models from scratch.

The work was structured in the following way: we took video from the old game into work, developed a new cut scene and demonstrated the work done to the client within the framework of review sessions 3 times a week. After discussing all the nuances and receiving feedback, we implemented the specified improvements and provided an updated version of the cut scene at the next review session. Thus, the cut scene was prepared for further processing and introduction into the game. Particularly complex cut scenes could take several weeks to develop.

Value Delivered

As a result of more than a year of cooperation, we have created 20+ high-quality captivating cut scenes that help maintain the intrigue and interest of the players until the very end. Each of them is an important plot milestone, organically woven into the general storytelling canvas of the game.

Our team is grateful to PlayMagic for the unique opportunity to contribute to providing a second wind to a truly amazing spy game and once again demonstrate our sincere dedication to the game matter.

Cut Scene Creation Stages

1
Goal setting
Determining the purpose of the cut scene and its role in a specific moment of the gameplay
2
Planning
Pre-rendering work: script development, concept design, and storyboarding
3
Animation
Giving movement to characters, adjusting the optimal position and angle of the camera
4
Approval
Producing final cut scenes with animated characters and environments, ready for detailing and rendering

Final Words

Working on a remake is a task of increased complexity: it is necessary not only to remind the players about the subject of their long-standing admiration, but also to show them how bright, successful and, most importantly, relevant is the rethinking of the original version. The release of the game for Windows, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One is scheduled for November 10, 2020, and we are sure that it will stir up the gaming community exactly as it should.

Our team loves games too much to miss an opportunity to work on another one. Therefore, if you are on fire with the idea of giving new life to an old game or igniting the star of a new game, be sure to engage us. We always create outside the box, and this invariably helps each of our projects to achieve impressive success.
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