Sunday, November 9, 2014

Torchlight II Storyboards

  We ended up having 4, 2-D animated cutscenes in TORCHLIGHT II. A "long" opening scene, 2 small (30 seconds-ish) chapter breaks, and a final "You've Won!" sequence that ran about 90 seconds.
  We committed to making these rather late in production and we had a pretty small budget to work with. We partnered up with Klei Entertainment (who were joys to work with) because what we were aiming for was very similar to some of the great work we saw in their own SHANK games.
  The original idea was to have these contained within the pages of a ink washes, sepia tone, and yellowed parchment of a book.
  It's tough to compete with full 3D, movie-quality cinematics that some games have the privilege of making. So, we went the other direction--try to be stylish and do something unexpected. I think the end result was quite polarizing. Some people LOVED it. Others wanted it to look like it cost more than our entire game's budget :)

A collection of shots for the final opening cinematic sequence along with character art for our Torchlight 1 characters Syl and "The Destroyer". Character art created by Klei Entertainment.

The original Opening Cinematic sequence. This version was a broader synopsis of the events at the end of TORCHLIGHT and what had happened in between it and the beginning of our TORCHLIGHT II story. It was a more "historic" focus than the sequence we ended up going with, which was more immediate and tried to put more focus on action shots. I'm fairly certain the public has never seen these storyboards before now.

The original Act II Chapter Break Cinematic. The challenge we faced on these later sequences were that we were world-building and generating our internal lore while the writing of our story was happening in parallel. Earlier attempts found the sequence to be far too long and wordy for what we budgeted (we were having these voiced by a narrator). It was also a mouthful of exposition. This sequence got heavily abbreviated with the removal of the Mana Guardian altogether, and the focus shifted to mood-setting and creating some vistas that our game (being top down isometric) couldn't show.

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