Halo 4 / Spartan Ops

Axis Animation, 343 Industries + Microsoft Games

Realise: 3D + Visual effects

It’s always exciting to have innovative content in the studio. Axis Animation, working in collaboration with 343 Industries approached us to work on a new addition to the popular Halo games franchise. Called ‘Halo 4 – Spartan Ops: Season One’ the new content is an ‘episodic adventure that blends immersive storytelling, high-quality cinematography and action-packed gameplay’.

Released weekly as ten animated episodes, the dramas provide the backdrop for the ‘Spartan Ops’ missions within the game itself, the first time that the two narrative formats have worked together in this way. The series is being directed by Axis co-founder Stuart Aitken, who has won acclaim and awards for the moving ‘Dead Island’ zombie game trailer, amongst other projects.

We supported Stuart and his team with 132 shots for 4 of the ten episodes. Key to the success of the collaboration was integrating the workflows from the different studios. Using Axis’s tools and set-ups, our tasks included lighting, rendering and special effects for the major space battle scenes in chapter 1 and many of the hero character sequences in chapters 2, 4 and 5.

The scale of the production, although larger than most commercials, was similar to the recent features we have worked on, such as ‘Prince of Persia’ and ‘John Carter’. Working with a team of fifteen we created explosions, hyperspace sequences, missile trails and filmic lighting for lead characters and the four-mile long space-ships orbiting the earth. The standard of the cinematography and direction meant the film was always satisfying to work on, even for the innocents not addicted to the game itself.