Did you love the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Deathwing cinematic that came out last week? Did you get goosebumps as you saw some of your favorite areas of Azeroth destroyed by a giant tidal wave or under a surging curtain of fire? At Blizzcon's Blizzard Cinematics: Cataclysm panel, the development team took us through the extensive process that went into creating and finalizing the intro to the next World of Warcraft expansion and revealed the world premiere of the Worgen cutscene that's been missing from the beta.
One of the earliest problems that the developers had to deal with before they began creating the Deathwing cinematic was which zones were going to feature molten dragon destruction. For maximum player recognition, they chose areas like Booty Bay and Stormwind, zones that every player has some kind of connection to and which have been seen again and again throughout the years. Destroying these areas have such a higher emotional impact for the viewers and drives home the fact that the world will be forever changed.
The sheer size of this scene came as a very daunting challenge to Blizzard. For some shots they had to go through multiple versions before they decided on what would look the best. The Thousand Needles shot is a great example of this. By moving the camera closer to the wave and making it scarier to the viewer they finally achieved the desired effect they were going for. No one is escaping that tidal wave alive!
After they chose which zones to destroy, they had to choose the final model for Deathwing himself. Never before had Deathwing been depicted visually, and in order to create the nastiest, toughest, and darkest looking dragon they went through multiple concept designs before deciding on the final version we have today. One of the best visuals from the panel featured a scale view of Deathwing taking up an entire football field, and we'd love to see him playing in the NFL. Maybe he can replace the Cowboy's offense. It was fantastic to see how monumental this winged beast with an attitude problem would be in real life.
Once the design for Deathwing was finalized the next thing the developers had to work on were the smaller details such as his armor. The team decided to focus very hard on the intricate details in his armor that were going to be seen close up. They also applied fluid simulations to Deathwing in order to give his smoke and fire effects a much better and more realistic feel. Once these effects were added, the file was 40 gigs per frame to render! For a person on a normal cable modem this file would take over a year to install. No wonder it took so long to come out.
After telling us exactly how much work went into creating Deathwing for the video, they premiered the new Worgen cutscene that plays when your character turns into a Worgen for the first time in their starting zone. It featured Lord Godfrey talking to you as a caged up beast, saying, "They've kept you alive because they believed you can be saved. Is there even a shred of humanity left within you?"
Cinematic developer Terran Gregory, explained that they really wanted to show off the dark and dreary zone of Gilneas. They achieved this by adding a cinema look, additional lighting, dialing up the inigame effects, and adding more shadows and rain. They also wanted Lord Godfrey himself to have a heavier look, and to achieve this they actually gave him Arthas' cloak and Ozzy Osbourne's character's glasses from the television commercial.
We hope the Prince of Darkness dropped some other good loot as well.