I feel a weird disconnect when video game characters are brought to life with real actors.
This week saw two different Xbox games launch fully scripted and professionally acted videos as promotion for upcoming games, each of which takes a different approach but both of which share a common element that I didn’t expect. They’re both quite subtle.
Halo‘s gone down this path before with their ODST video series, and the new “Birth of a Spartan” video that went up this week follows a similar trend. With basically no dialogue and just a sequence of moments from basic training up to that last second before our newbie Spartan dons the iconic armor, this is a mood piece. The music is dramatic but dour, brimming with a tragic energy. There are no surprises here but rather a building sense of self-sacrifice and tension, all portrayed amongst the soberest of lighting packages and facial expressions. None of that sounds very subtle, I know, and as a piece of film on its own merits, it’s not. Compared to the technicolor, jumping up and down, gunfire-filled romp of your average Halo multi-player match though, it’s subtlety personified.