Blizzard Cinematics In Review

With the Mists of Pandaria cinematic just out, not one but two bloggers have taken the opportunity to look at it in the context of Blizzard’s previous cinematic efforts.

We’re up to five mini-movies from Blizzard now, all the way from Vanilla to MoP, and it’s fascinating to chart the changes along the way.

First up, we have Apple Cider Mage, who has somehow already managed to write a very detailed and entertaining analysis of the new Mists trailer as well as a comparison to trailers of the past. As you’d expect, she’s looking at gender issues (and the disappointing fact that there have been no female characters in any Blizzard cinematic since TBC), but also takes time for an entertaining snark-filled look through the Mists trailer:

“I admit I really liked the voice-over asking the really hard questions but the nature analogy seemed very cliché. I will take this moment to say that the animation for the cinematic is a far cry better than the original cinematic. Very lifelike in some places. The cinematic also sets up, as I said before, the initial story of how people find Pandaria: a huge naval battle crash lands Horde and Alliance forces and strands them on this mysterious land shrouded in… well I’m sure you can guess.

… Our first manly man, the delegate from the Horde! Let’s call him Thunk Rockjaw. Thunk, despite having eaten several full villages of Night Elves, does still manage to have a beautiful, expressive face. The detail on the armor, hair and his skin is just unbelievable. You can also see his WICKED SICK TATTS, BRO. Is this the same orc from the other cinematics? Who knows. I’m sure someone will figure it out.

… And here comes the Alliance. Admiral Chestyhunk. Captain Hunkachunk. Slam Beefchin. Sizzle Beefslab. Reportin’ for duty with a very sharp stick.

…He’s going exploring on this jungle island full of ruins that look radically different. This is NEW! STRANGE.

…Secondary note: I hate to see you leave, Captain Beefypecs, but I love to watch you go.”

Meanwhile, Vidyala takes a detailed look through the history of WoW cinematics, looking at their intentions, their execution, and what each one said about the story that expansion told. She’s also linked to each of the trailers, which should provide a fun journey back in time for many of us:

“The Burning Crusade

This is a trailer I watched closer to when it was actually released. I didn’t have any idea of the backstory of Illidan (Tyrande, Malfurion etc) at the time so I had no idea who the scary guy with the voice was. Watching it now with different eyes, I can appreciate the impact of the Illidan voiceover. You know it had a lasting effect, because how many times did you hear someone make a joke or quote, “I/You/Your Dog was not prepared”?

The blood elves and the draenei are characterized; they did a particularly good job with the female blood elf, in my opinion. Especially the first time you watch this trailer, you’re surprised by her sudden shift in attitude from seemingly innocent to sinister. There is a need in her that’s frightening, which is exactly the story of the Sin’dorei in the Burning Crusade.

Up until this point with the cinematics, Blizzard has been outdoing themselves each time. I’m not talking about the actual graphics of the cinematics (although they have obviously improved, along with technology) but also the scope and ambition. This one shows the Dark Portal with its swirling door – challenging players, even mocking them. “You are not prepared” became a catchphrase because it was so memorable and it hits right at the heart of gamers. You think I’m not prepared? I’m going to show you how prepared I am!”

I’m still a huge fan of the TBC trailer – it seemed to get almost everything right.

What was your favourite WoW expansion trailer?