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Goodbye Kansas Pokes Fun at Games in ‘Outer Worlds 2’ Trailer

The Lovie Award-winning ‘official announce trailer’ is a tongue-in-cheek parody that mocks common tropes used in game promotion – the hero can’t be seen because the game’s design, story, and gameplay aren’t yet ready!

Stockholm-based VFX studio Goodbye Kansas has just shared details on the Lovie Award-winning official announce trailer they created for Bethesda Games’ The Outer Worlds 2 Xbox game. The tongue-in-cheek parody mocks tropes we see within game trailers; the voice-over narrates, “Now we see our hero, but only the silhouette, because the developers haven’t finished the design, or the story, or any gameplay that’s actually ready to show.”

To begin the project, Goodbye Kansas was provided with a script that poked fun at the games industry, an idea for a 360-degree Michael Bay shot around the monster, and a storyboard. The storyboard, provided by the creative studio Buddha Jones, included the simple game elements of a monster, a troop of soldiers, a landscape, and a hero. The team was instructed to expand upon the storyboard, creating a visual identity for these key elements using their interpretation of the voice-over narration. With the outline from the parody voice-over in mind, Goodbye Kansas began work on the details and stylization of each element.

According to VFX supervisor Kristian Zarins, “Outer Worlds does not have an earth environment; we needed to create a lot of the alien plants. For the last shot, we could not anticipate how much work it would take to fly through a canyon. We didn’t take any shortcuts. We wanted to provide familiarity and produce a classic trailer with over-the-top visuals. It had to look as impressive as all the other games trying to impress audiences.”

Check out the trailer:

Despite the script’s humorous overtones, Goodbye Kansas took a serious approach to the production. “Even though we understood the humorous narrative, we had to take the visuals very seriously for the trailer to make sense,” said director Bengt-Anton Runsten. “For us, the narration gave us a challenge, to make the most amazing monster and the most detailed one-take through the canyons. We had to take each aspect very seriously. The visuals and the narrative were fit for the Outer Worlds universe. It's part of the IP for Outer Worlds, the ‘over the top-ness.’ But the joke isn't in the visuals, it's more in the storytelling.”

Goodbye Kansas’s expertise in creating realistic digital humans was immensely helpful on the project. After hearing the comedic narration, “suddenly and for no reason at all, people running,” Runsten noted, “I was able to instantly capture the vision from Buddha Jones. I read it and I instantly got the vision of what was being described and how to bring out the irony visually.”

Looking at this work as disruptive and subversive for the gaming industry, Goodbye Kansas felt proud to lend their abilities to create the visual effects for the Outer Worlds 2 trailer. The success of the unique trailer was evident based on the YouTube creators who have since used the voiceover for their videos or gameplay.

Source: Goodbye Kansas Studios

Dan Sarto's picture

Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.