The Black Soulstone Cinematic Nominated for VES Award

The Diablo III DiabloWikiBlack Soulstone cinematic that debuted at Blizzcon 2011 has been nominated for the prestigious Visual Effects Society award. Here’s the category and the full list of nominees in it, with the Blizzard nominees named:

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Commercial or Video Game Trailer

I was curious, so I watched all the entries and put links to them into the post. It’s a damn strong field; I though the Coke commercial was corny and derivative, but the Audi and Sony commercials were excellent and mainstream enough that voters won’t be scared away, while the Prey 2 mini-movie is great. The Black Soulstone is excellent as well, but speaking from my complete ignorance of the voting history of this award, I think it might be too heavy or weird/fantastic to get a majority of votes.

Which did you guys prefer? You can watch them all embedded, below the fold.

Audi A6 Avant

Coca Cola: Siege

Diablo III: The Black Soulstone

Prey 2 E3 2011 Trailer

Sony: 2 Worlds

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard, Cinematics


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  1. Needlessly inflammatory post. Apologies.

    • Completely agree.  The voice over for az is so bland and generic.  I feel that Blizz has fallen into the trap of believing so much in their cgi prowess that they bank on that more than the actual merit of the videos they make.  Some of their best work ended with war 3 and LOD.

      • If only you were being sarcastic.

        This is a Visual Award. Besides the fact that I highly doubt you could come up with anything half as interesting visually, Blizzard deserves credit for this simply for their outstanding CGI.

        Blizzard’s video is one of the most beautiful and difficult CGI wise, although Prey 2 is probably going to beat it.
        I had a hard time enjoying the Prey 2’s visuals though because the camera was moving back and forth so quickly.

        If you guys don’t like Blizzard’s new direction that’s fine and all, but seriously try not to bash it if you’re watching it with “this sucks” on your mind before anything is onscreen yet.

        • I actually was, but it didn’t come across well. Now it’s just awkward because people are getting behind it. Don’t tell anybody! Honestly, I’m indifferent toward the entire thing. The highpoint of CG for me was back in high school with Final Fantasy, after that series, I got bored of CG, ha!

        • You are quite right.  The award is for the visual effects.  And in the that respect, I absolutely agree.  They do deserve credit for that.  But note my criticism was not directed towards that, in fact I probably understated their prowess in that regard.  Perhaps bringing that point up did confuse you and others but its far too early to conclude that I wear tinted shades when it comes to Blizz.

          Nonetheless your remark doesn’t necessarily obviate or preclude that in my opinion some of their best CGI work was produced in LOD and War3 series. And by that I don’t simply mean the technical aspects which have obviously been surpassed, hence the nomination, but the overall ensemble that makes for a visually entertaining production.


  2. Slightly OT, but Diablo 3 is finally through in Korea: ^^

    • Coca-Cola should win for excellent use of 1812 Overture. Sony’s 2 Worlds is good too. I’m a big softy I guess. All of these are pretty great, until you realize they’re trying to sell you something. Really takes the edge off. 🙁

      Edit: Ugh, not again. Didn’t mean to reply. Anyway, that is also awesome news. It really is.

  3. RMAH is never off-topic at this point in time, read it just before though. Faaaark yeah!!

  4. Nominated for an award before the game is even out, win or lose that’s great for the artists and designers that created it.

    • If anything, they were likely nominated for the most realistic looking eyeballs yet seen in CG. Well, that I’ve seen…

      • Yeah, I mean these awards are simply the CG and not the story or anything else like that.  I really think it’s down to the Sony one and D3, with a preference to Sony as I’m sure they’re rating it based on the 3D version which I can only imagine how amazing it must be like that.

  5. I wasn’t impressed by the technical aspect of the Audi spot, but I respect it artistically. The Coca-Cola one was very well done, as was Prey 2; parts of that CGI were really good. The Sony spot gets nods for it’s artistic flair as well. I don’t know about the while D3 trailer, but the close ups of Leah are hands down the best CGI I have ever seen, and win or lose deserve a ton of kudos.

  6. The heavy commercial vehicle bumble bees (?) made me laugh. I go for the Audi commercial. Funny commercial, that conveys a message and is visually pleasing.
    The black soulstone trailer is great, too. The animation is flawless. They could make a movie out of it, like the final fantasy movies. I’d watch it. The sound quality is very fitting, too. Sounds like Lord of the Rings. Epic, dark, creepy – Diablo.

  7. Hm… I never really thought of the Black Soulstone cinematic as a trailer (more like just one cinematic among a handful of others that we just happened to get to see early), but whatever… It’s awesome that they were nominated… I also didn’t even know such awards existed, so that’s also pretty awesome that they do…

    As far as the different nominees go, I think they all have very good things about them. I especially liked the action and story of Prey 2’s trailer (plus the fact that they used a Johnny Cash song :D) and it definitely made me want to play the game. The Audi and Coke ones were great for the art and for what they were trying to do, but I would say the Sony one eclipsed them in the art aspect. If I was judging them all just for the visuals then I would say the Sony one would win, but it’s possible that they will look beyond the context of the Diablo 3 cinematic and vote for it instead… I hope so at least… 🙂

    • My argument against the Sony one is the lack of originality. It’s basically the slow motion exploding background stuff from Inception, crossed with the slow motion walking through broken glass particles I first saw (much better done) in the Constantine film, from 2005. It would have been amazing work in 2004, but seemed familiar in 2011.

      The same goes for the other commercials, really. The Coke one felt like LotR crossed with some WoW-esque video game, and the Audi ad was basically a remixed version of Cars.

      • Yeah but minions pouring from Mount Doom to serve their master and find the Object of Power in the Diablo 3 cinematic is so original 😛
        You’re just being a fanboy, as we all are. 🙂 Black Soulstone should win just for Leah’s eyes.

        • But I didn’t say anything defending the D3 one. Just pointing out issues with the commercials. The Prey 2 one is fairly awesome, and I hadn’t seen it before this post, but I suppose it could be critiqued as basically the Star Wars bounty hunter city chase scene set in Blade Runner. I liked the hints of space age tech they worked into it though, with the PoV shots of the Iron Man style visual interface.

          The D3 one can obviously be critiqued on the plot, as it’s familiar and derivative and archetypal (as is all of Blizzard’s fiction), but the visuals are spectacular, and it show a wide variety of styles. Realistic flames, super closeups of a human face and hands and hair, a weird demon that manages lip synch despite not having any lips, epic vistas with countless moving demons all realistically-sculpted, numerous changes in lighting and depth of field, etc.

          In fact, the more I think about it now, the more it seems like it should win, out of this field. The award comes from the Visual Effect Society, after all. Not the Innovative & Original Storytelling & Dialogue Society.

          • I totally agree with both of your comments here. As I watched the audi one, it just reminded me of pixar, nothing new or visually awe-inspiring, but I did enjoy it.

            I thought the fireworks on the Coke commercial were well done, but that was the only part that I thought was anything more than “bleh”

            The Prey 2 trailer was pretty awesome, and I hadn’t seen it before either, but I didn’t like the camera angles changing so fast all the time and the zooming in and out of focus.

            The Sony one was good and probably took a lot of time and effort but the bits of class and stuff to me seem like they’d be hard to screw up, as they’re just jagged shapes.

            As for the D3 trailer. the details in Leah’s face, hair and hands etc. are the best I’ve ever seen for CGI. I also think the realistic smoke barreling towards Leah looks perfect, and the wall that breaks apart is similar to the glass in Sony’s commercial. Plus they end it with the huge scene of insane detail on every single one of the demons.

            If I were voting, D3 would win (not just because I like the game) but Prey 2 I think has the potential to take the award too.

          • Yeah, I remember them saying during the Blizzcon panel about the Black Soulstone cinematic that they had animated all those rock fragments from the crumbling wall by hand… Ridiculous effort and detail like that is why Blizzard should win. But knowing how people in general tend to think in this day and age, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sony one wins just because the general populace seems to eat that kind of stuff up… 😐

  8. The Prey one should win for sure. I would like to see several movies made out of this.

    The Sony: 2 Worlds has already been done before. It was a video in black and white IIRC, from Europe I think. It’s set in the 50s and the man is crossing the street to get to the girl, she breaks the glass as well, and he gets hit by a car and it does nothing.

    I wish I could find the video!!!

  9. Found it. Much better version of this commercial. LOL

    • Wow. Just… That blew me away. Thanks for that.

      The Sony one is excellent too. The voice over is modified version of Leonard Cohen’s poem A Thousand Kisses Deep.

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