Yeon-Ho: So people, we begin to get into Broken Shore cinematic. I need to go back and talk about Warlords of Draenor cinematic. What you see here is Battle of Shattrath, our longest, and largest, and most epic cinematics in Warlords of Draenor.


For this piece, we have a total of five unique characters, and these are good numbers to tell the epic story by the time.


Meanwhile, for the Broken Shore, we had few more, and more, and more. Is this still going? We had 21 characters. Surprisingly, these are not everything. We even made a variations on the background characters. So in total, we had more than 30 characters. Just for the Broken Shore cinematic.


Having that number of characters allowed us to create the largest Epic scene we could never have done before. For Warlords of Draenor, this was our basic feature set up for every character with about 50 facial controllers.


In Legion, however, we doubled the amount. Now we have more than 100 facial controllers on every character. Since we put those extra facial controllers on a more accurate mark of the facial, we could get the job done even faster than before. Part of the reason for this huge upgrade is that we have been unifying our rigging system across all cinematic department.


You know what that means? Now we can share and reuse animations between pre-render and in-game, and vice versa. Whenever we need, we could search and grab any animation from our animation library, and then the size of the library is getting bigger and larger. Having this flexibility made us to maximize the full force of Blizzard animation to create the most epic experience we could have ever done in in-game cinematics.


Terran: Awesome. Than you, Yeon-Ho. So now we are going to take a look at one of the more interesting features that the Broken Shore provided for the players.

Vol’jin: Do not let the Horde die this day.


Terran: I’m sorry Vol’jin. I’m sorry. The Fog of War.


So for those of you who may not know, maybe you didn’t notice the first minute of the Broken Shore cinematic was actually different depending on whether you were Horde or Alliance. This began as kind of an experiment again for us where we are thinking in the context of the Fog of War. A phenomenon harkening back to the early days of Warcraft, and Warcraft II, in which two disparate factions would be fighting on the same battlefield, but this fog would keep them from seeing what is actually happening to the other faction of the given time.

This kind of was like that. The first minute, you were only seeing what was happening to your side of the faction, your side of the battlefield; and we thought this was a really interesting narrative choice, and we were really excited to see exactly how it was going to play out.


Let me tell you, we had no idea what the fan reaction was going to be at the time when the forums exploded, and the Alliance and Horde were just going at it. We kind of marvel: did you mean to do that? But it was great. It was great to have the Alliance and Horde factions like our arms up in arms again, but another side effect of this fog of war mechanic was that the Horde had a lot of moments occur outside of the purview of the Alliance.


A lot of very important moments. Especifically, Vol’jin’s fall, Sylvanas taking the reins, calling the Val’kyr, putting yourself in vulnerability to save the Horde. But what had happened to Vol’jin?


We felt we had to follow up on this and we had to find a capper for the story.

Sylvanas: Who among you will help me avenge him.


Terran: The fate of the Horde was unclear. While on the Alliance side we had the clear line of succession with the son of Varian Wrynn, the Horde side not so much. We had no idea necessarily definitively who would pick up the reins of the Horde, and so this movie had a lot of weight on its shoulders. It had to treat Vol’jin’s demise at the hands of the Legion with dignity and grace, while at the same time having to make the case to the both the players and to the characters within the story.

That the choice of Sylvanas for Warchief was not crazy. How to be a good choice, we had to feel good about it. Unlike a lot of the other cinematics we did for this series of content, this was going to be little more than a conversation.


There were not going to be any big explosions, fight scenes, or spectacle of any kind. It was two people talking. And so in order to get the drama in the scene, in order to really feel what was going on, it was going to fall on the lighting and cinematography parts of our pipeline; and Geordie is going to come up and talk to you about how we visualize this incredibly important scene.


Next: Lightning


In-Game CinematicsCreative DevelopmentDemon Hunter CutscenesSuramar CutsceneGenn vs Sylvanas
Broken Shore CutsceneAnimationLightningBroken Shore FinaleNexus: Varian

Hope you enjoyed this article. Please, support Blizzplanet via PayPal or Patreon, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch for daily Blizzard games news updates.

BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts