Psyop teamed up with Finnish game developer Next Games on The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land, the cinematic trailer for the upcoming mobile game based on AMC’s TV series The Walking Dead. You can watch it above.
The trailer has already become an online sensation among fans and gamers alike, with conspiracy theories abounding around Psyop’s latest cinematic.
Developed by Next Games in close collaboration with AMC, the game will feature themes familiar to the TV series, where characters fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic, walker-infested world.
The Walking Dead story is based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics. The series tells the story of the months and years after a zombie apocalypse and follows a group of survivors, led by sheriff Rick Grimes, who travel in search of a safe and secure home.
“We’re huge fans of the show,” said Psyop director Marco Spier. “It was important that we created something emotionally engaging for the players, but we wanted to make sure that the essence of the show came through for fans of The Walking Dead."
The scene opens from black to reveal a distressed face of wounded survivor longingly staring behind the camera. We hear an echo of a faint voice singing a melancholy folk song through the room as the camera slowly pulls out through a frozen moment. This moment captures a dramatic pause between the survivors and hints at their back stories, and sacrifices they have to make to survive. Haunting sounds of people’s voices sneak in as the camera travels out of the room.
The story unfolds as the camera pulls up and out to roof of the building to reveal a herd of walkers coming towards the building. The folk song is overwhelmed by the sounds of walkers and breaks down leaving a feeling of hopelessness.
“There’s a moment in The Walking Dead: Season 2 when the survivors find safety in the fenced in jail,” added Psyop director Marie Hyon. “They’re able to stop running and take a moment around the campfire and when Beth sings The Parting Glass it was really emotional – in that stillness, that quiet moment, through that song, the other characters had time to think about their experiences and their memories. This unspoken moment in the abstract was really powerful for me. We wanted to capture that thought provoking moment, like the calm before the storm.”
Opting for this frozen approach over something fast paced and hectic also played a large part during the technical aspects of production. Psyop and Next Games created different archetypes for each character in the trailer, and worked with Another World Studios to capture hi-def 3D body scans of the four main survivors. The backgrounds were created in CG using a photogrammetry technique, with photographs taken of an abandoned basement that were art directed to echo a deserted supply room and then enhanced by matte painting.
“Similar to the show, a big part of the game is having to choose who you trust to be part of your group,“ said Marie. “We wanted to create different archetypes of characters - the weak, the companionate, the untrustworthy, the leader.”
“In that moment of escape when one person needs to be sacrificed for the good of the group was important part of the story” said Marco. “We liked that the story isn’t completely spelled out for you and liked that viewers could watch the reveal as though it were a 3D painting. We wanted to pay tribute to the power of imagination in that regard.”