Gamescom Asia 2022 is back in full swing as it returns back to its physical event format, and we had the opportunity to attend a talk by Sarah Delathanty, Cinematic Director from Blizzard Entertainment titled Cinematic Directing in Real-Time Worlds.
During her talk, Sarah mentions how before World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, the system that they had made the life of an animator much harder. But since then, Blizzard had the acquired the proper tools to do stuff in Shadowlands, which made the overall process much smooth, especially in terms of creating real-time animations.
Sarah also talks about how they were had to check what kinds of animation the characters have before starting, as they were only able to use the animations within the games.
Fortunately, the process nowadays made it so that they can use new tools to layer different animations together to create something entirely new, like having a character pose with different kinds of gestures. By the end of Shadowlands, the team had created 7 new animated real-time cutscenes.
Another example that Sarah gave was where Hanzo was standing on a helicopter, but Blizzard didn’t had an asset for a helicopter, so she adapted and created a wacky helicopter using other various assets which included, floors, steam engine looking objects and even a character model wielding giant swords as the rotor blades of the helicopter. And while it may seem silly, it certainly worked out in the end.
Sarah ends off her talk by saying how Real-time cutscenes brings in another layer of storytelling in games.