Whenever I show my dad a cinematic game trailer, his reaction is the same. “Why don’t they make movies like that?” That was my reaction too when I first learned about Blur Studio. Four years before Star Wars: The Force Awakens ushered in the start of a new trilogy, Blur blew us away with a trip to The Old Republic.

Five years later and that trailer still gives me goosebumps.

Blur and Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Blur’s work would take them from my favorite movie franchise to my favorite game franchise. I was already pumped for Halo: The Master Chief Collection when it was announced. Then I heard Blur was remastering every cutscene in Halo 2 Anniversary. I was hyped.

Then, Halo: The Master Chief Collection released. While the collection was a disappointment, Blur’s work on Halo 2 Anniversary was most definitely not.

Halo 2 cinematic

More than 150 Blur artists spent nearly nine months crafting 53 minutes worth of cinematics. The remastered cinematics breathed new life into Halo 2 and made the return trip just as great as the first time.

Blur’s work wasn’t just giving a facelift to the current cinematics. They completely reworked them. New angles, new assets and new shots helped tell a more cohesive story. The new cutscenes look and feel completely different compared to Halo 2’s original cutscenes. Check out three separate scenes in Halo 2 highlighting the incredible work Blur did.

Blur and Halo 4

While Halo 4’s cinematics were handled in-game, Microsoft once again turned to Blur for help. The launch trailer melds live-action and CGI to quickly tell the story of Master Chief and highlight the grave new threat he faces. The result? Another fantastic visual treat.

Blur and Halo Wars 2

Before Blur brought their incredible detail to Halo 2, they helped Microsoft and Ensemble with Halo Wars. And it was Blur’s most hands-on work. They didn’t just help with the cutscenes. The studio had a hand in creating the Spirit of Fire. Blur’s David Wilson calls it a “pretty special moment for me.”

Awesome cinematics and great console-RTS gameplay ensured Halo Wars would get a sequel.

Almost a year ago to the day, Xbox revealed Halo Wars 2. Who better to handle the announcement trailer than Blur?

At last week’s Comic-Con, Xbox gave us a much more in-depth look at the work Blur is doing on Halo Wars 2. The story vidoc below sets the stage for who we are fighting in Halo Wars 2.

For the first time, we meet Atriox – “something the Universe hasn’t seen before,” according to 343 Industries’ Dan Ayoub.

Atriox isn’t your typical Brute. He’s meaner, tougher and smarter than the rest. He’s tactically savvy and can out think his opponents. And that’s what Wilson loves about him. Halo has its heroes. Master Chief, the Spartans from Halo Wars and even the Arbiter. But what about villains?

“I’ve always felt these stories are often defined by your villain,” says Wilson. He mentions Star Wars and how Darth Vader is what made the story special to him. They created Atriox to give Spartans something to “bump up against,” says Wilson. Blur and 343 want audiences to fear Atriox.

At Comic-Con, Wilson dived into the behind-the-scenes of creating these cinematics. Here’s a short montage of Blur creating these cinematics.

Wilson talked about how capturing these cinematics has changed from Halo Wars (2007) to Halo Wars 2. “Technology didn’t really allow us to capture everything in one setting,” said Wilson. You would have to capture voice performance in one area, your motion capture in another spot and then you facial capture. Then you slapped it all together and hoped it worked out.

Today, actors can do it all at the same time. “There’s nothing that beats being on stage and setting the tone,” says Wilson. It’s all about “letting them bring a little bit of themselves to the table.”

creating Halo Wars 2 cinematics

A Halo Wars 2 capture session.

Wilson calls the technology available today “wonderful” for creating cinematics. The ability to capture every aspect of an actor from voice to motion at the same time allows for the freedom to change on the go that studios like Blur just didn’t have in years past.

Blur’s work before entering the Halo franchise was phenomenal. Today, they are taking it to a whole new level. I usually shrug at cinematic trailers for games, but when Blur is doing them? I can watch them all day. Now, when are they going tackle a Halo movie? Or a Star Wars movie? I’m not picky.

When I’m not playing Rocket League (best game ever), you can find me writing about all things games, space and more. You can reach me at alex@newsledge.com

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