To help promote the Aug. 21 street date of the highly anticipated BIOSHOCK videogame, EyeballNYC crafted a :60 spot in collaboration with ad agency RDA International on behalf of their client 2K Games. Challenged to distill Bioshock's visual and graphic complexity, Eyeball set out to create a commercial that would entertain general viewers, tantalize fans and do justice to "the ground-breaking nature of the game."
"This isn't just a commercial-this is an interpretation, a foreshadowing of the epic story told by 2K Games and developers 2K Boston and 2K Australia," said Eyeball's creative director and founder Limore Shur. "We wanted to thread together dramatic snippets that would give a real sense of what players will actually encounter in the game."
Forsaking the usual game trailer conventions --linear story arcs or all-out action -- Eyeball takes the viewer on a cinematic romp through the mean streets of Rapture, the undersea city at the core of BioShock's plot. Creating suspense through erratic pacing and the power of suggestion, the Eyeball team took a nuanced approach befitting a game inspired by the likes of George Orwell and Ayn Rand. For example, in one of the spot's early action "snippets," the viewer is pulled face-to-face with a towering menace known as the "Big Daddy." Without a trace of gore or violent spectacle, a well-timed fade to black communicates everything about what it's like to tangle with one of these bio-mechanical monstrosities.
"This spot is more about surprise and grappling with the unknown than it's about shock value or any overt attempt to be creepy," Shur explained. "It's really more dramatic when you leave something to the imagination."
Animated "from scratch," the scenes in the spot were essentially built around 2K Games' "wish list"-- specific features they hoped would be highlighted in Eyeball's 3D visual summary of the game.
Because the developers put so much effort into constructing a gaming environment that would "behave" in a realistic manner, the BioShock commercial was expected to follow suit. Whether meticulously color scripting, fitting mannequins with clothing to accurately depict the movement of a character's garments, or tracing light rays, Eyeball's design team tried to achieve a level of realism seldom seen even in gaming commercials.
Lead animator Rick Vicens said, "This was all about collaborative effort -- with all the talent here, everyone brought something to the table. We really pushed the boundaries of 3D on this one -- I hope people will want to watch this spot again and again."
2K Games is a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO).