Press Release - April 2012
From it's initial beta release, World of Tanks by Wargaming.net has been a phenomenal success, with over 20 million users worldwide. Earlier this year, Kennedy Monk was asked us to create a video for World of Tanks to celebrate one year since official release since beta.
There were already a large number of videos for the game, generated in-house by the company itself and by players, many hosted on their official YouTube channel. We watched dozens of these to see what was missing and what we could bring creatively to really make our video stand out from them.
We noticed the majority of the videos were generally informative tools. They tended to be over-long fairly repetitive, lacking the pace or narrative of a traditional game or movie trailer. Crucially the soundtracks tended to be fairly generic and the action didn't relate in any meaningful way. We decided that music and sharp editing to the music would be key. So we started the creative process with a music search. This was also strategic, as if we were to secure a licensed track we'd need as much time as possible to get it cleared.
We identified that rock music was going to match player preferences well, but we wanted to find something with more currency and edge. Acts like Skrillex and Nero were very current and popular, so we went looking for something that could combine the credibility of rock and the urgency of dub-step. We used SoundCloud to scour for modern remixes of contemporary rock classics from bands like Rage Against the Machine and System of a Down. We discovered excellent remixes by Guildford-based band Subsource which fitted perfectly with our vision.
With no actual in-game footage to work with right away, we captured from older YouTube videos as placeholders for the type of shots we wanted and used these to cut tests edits to several different music tracks to see what was most effective. The heavy dub-step tracks lent themselves best to the action and pace we wanted, with lots of loud heavy beats to sync to.
It soon became apparent that licensing the type of remix track we wanted would be a legal nightmare, while even licensing a straight track was going to be difficult when our deadline was pushed forward by several weeks. Fortunately, both ourselves and the client had already fallen in love with Subsource’s sound and one of their own original songs “Molotov”, stood out for everyone as a great solution. We would give the audience a new musical discovery and we were very confident the song would be popular.
The client needed to get a lot of information across in the video. There were industry quotes and awards, plus international newspaper and magazine quotes. Along with this we needed to wrap the whole thing in with the overarching one year anniversary message. While some message cards would help punctuate the flow of the piece, we felt too many would become tiresome, no matter how gorgeous they looked. We decided to use different visual styles to separate the different types of message.
We created the three-part introduction focusing on “One year”, colour treated to match the gold and red of the Wargaming brand. Meanwhile the international press accolades were slammed on to the screen against a cold battle-torn concrete bunker wall. This was all textured animated and lit using Studio Max, with extra atmospheric detail added in After Effects.
For the gaming press we decided to do something different by placing the press quotes and awards into the battlefield itself. We used 3D motion analysis to place quotes dynamically into the moving landscapes and ‘paint’ the awards on to the surfaces of tanks. The result brought stature to the messaging and a elevated production values, as the towering words swept towards the viewer nested in the beautiful landscapes of the gameworld.
As soon as we received the in-game footage from the client we set to work re-editing and laying in all the graphics and effects.
Due to an unavoidable deadline change from the client, this final process was achieved in an incredible 5 days across the entire Easter bank holiday period. Production was coordinated between 4 separate video artists in separate locations, via email, voip, screen-sharing and high-speed file-sharing.
We gave the final piece a 'signature grade', by desaturating, adding a "cross-process" colour treatment and custom "light-leak" flares to each shot to lift the colour and add back some warmth. The finished effect gave every frame a beautiful and unique look.
The final video was posted to YouTube by the client and received over 100,000 views within the first 6 hours. Thousands of commenters praised the video as an excellent tribute their favourite game, and also raved about the music track. Kennedy Monk was instrumental in arranging an exclusive buyout of the track for Wargaming and are currently discussing live appearances of the band at World of Tanks events.
"Molotov" will be on Subsource’s upcoming EP, "Generation Doom", released May 2012.
Both Wargaming.net and Kennedy Monk are delighted with the success of the project.