To craft a gripping storyline that's not just your regular ol' Robin Hood tale, but the one that shows its twist, co-op mechanics and fighting with style, as well as to create a cinematic gameplay trailer.
Medieval England, Robin Hood and his gang. And guess what? Suddenly, kaboom! Explosions, artillery – and hold on tight – airships floating around. Yep, the story took a detour, and that’s where things got really interesting. So, we needed to whip up a seriously cool storyline and produce an in-engine trailer that was all cinematic and clocking in at around a minute. But wait, there's more: we were aiming for something called a "buzz generator". What's that, you ask? Well, it means this trailer isn't just another face in the crowd. Nope, it's here to grab attention, make people follow and fan out on socials and in stores, all while giving you the game's core vibes.
Now, among all the key messages we had to get across – like it's a co-op action game with heroes who team up and unleash some seriously stylish moves – we had some must-haves: the gang of 4 heroes (Robin, Marian, Little John and Friar Tuck), scenes showing off their heroics and skills, bad guys from the game and a sneak peek of enemy progression. And here's the kicker: when we started off this gig, Gangs of Sherwood was in full-on development mode, which means there were content constraints.
We came up with diverse story concepts, each having a unique approach. However, in the end, we settled on the concept of a narrative inspired by classic medieval ballads. We kick things off by showing a problem, and then we take you on a journey to solve it. If you watch the trailer all the way to the end, you're in for a twist, a new character – the Puppeteer. And let's talk about storytelling: it's like a medieval puppet show telling the tale of Robin Hood and his gang. You won't even see the dieselpunk elements coming at first. It all starts all medieval-like, and then, one by one, those dieselpunk touches sneak in. By the time it's all said and done, the trailer gives you that classic medieval flavor but with a sprinkling of sci-fantasy elements straight from the game.
Our trailer's entire story was weaved through the game's locations. Every twist and character move – all sprung from these in-game playgrounds. But hold on, the game was still simmering in the development pot, and the client kept tossing in fresh locations and assets. Character models, maps – they were all “under construction”, raw materials for us to play with. And with each game update, our trailer got a little makeover – locations became enriched with new details, character models improved, and their animations became more refined. Given that we had to work with Unreal Engine 4, we did a good camera job. We worked angles, camera moves, to add cinematic flair and hide the shortcomings of this engine.
In the middle of the trailer, we hit a real challenge. Our heroes had to dive into a mine complex, ascending through tunnels and platforms galore. This was no ordinary scene. Imagine a long camera sweep, gliding through all the action. And guess what? Those heroes are mid-action, too. Syncing it all was a puzzle, particularly to ensure that each punch was captured on screen. But we kicked it up a notch – every hero move showcased their unique style. Passing one, you'd catch a flaming punch before the camera breezed past. It was like nailing a magic trick within the game engine. To make it perfect, we called in a cameraman from the movie industry. The result? A single, seamless take – no cuts needed.
Now let's talk VFX. We captured everything in Unreal Engine, then jazzed it up with explosions and crumbling structures – all the good stuff.
Editing played its role too. Poetic rhythm and drafty music set our storytelling tone. Our sound designer crafted a medieval-modern hybrid track. After all, this game's all about merging medieval with dieselpunk. And the twist? The trailer evolves from classic Robin Hood to dieselpunk. Plenty of artillery and a bunch of crumbling buildings. And the big finish? A wow-inducing one more enemy reveal and the final unexpected turn – Puppeteer, the storyteller, emerges. By the end, you'll realize it's all a wild show within a show.
Alright, how about you take another look at the trailer now?