Hollywood, CA — Hammer Creative recently completed a new campaign promoting THQ’s highly-anticipated Darksiders II video game, slated for U.S. release on August 14.
Spearheaded by creative director/producer Brett Hocker, the campaign was conceived and produced entirely by Hammer Creative, and comprises three fully CG-animated trailers, a live-action trailer bookended by CG content, and additional behind-the-scenes content. Hammer Creative also provided post production services at its Hollywood facility, including editorial, motion graphics, original music, sound design and audio post.
Sydney, Australia-based Plastic Wax Animation was tapped to produce CG elements for the campaign, and director Abdel Abonamous of The Ebeling Group was hired to shoot the highly cinematic live-action trailer filmed on location in Prague.
“Brett Hocker wrote and produced this dramatic piece for Darksiders II, and truly was the creative visionary behind this unique trailer,” commented Hammer’s executive creative director Scott Hayman. “Our goal with this campaign was to build up the mystique of the ‘Death’ game character. Gamers aren’t sure if Death is a hero or a villain — whether he’s good or evil. We don’t really know what his intentions are, so we wanted to convey a bit of intrigue about this unique character. For the ‘Last Sermon’ trailer, we wanted to add a human element to the story of Darksiders, which takes place mostly in Heaven or Hell–there’s very little game activity on Earth. The scene of a Minister in a decimated church delivering his literal ‘last sermon’ was our way of presenting what would likely happen here on Earth, before the actual apocalypse were to take place.”
“The live-action trailer was conceived as a companion piece of fiction inspired by the Darksiders story, bringing real-life humans into the game’s world,” adds Hocker. “We shot the piece for a week inside a 200-year old church near Prague, with no heat, during winter. The cold smoke you see coming out of James Cosmo’s mouth during his speech was real!Â James was the perfect actor for this part, since he has such a larger than life presence and a wonderful, commanding voice. We felt if anyone would stand up to Death during Mankind’s final hour in real life, it would be him.”
“What attracted me to the ‘Last Sermon’ script was its deliberate focus on the collateral damage in the Darksiders universe,” said director Abdel Abonamous. “Outside the church, Hell, in a very literal sense, is breaking loose, but in our film, we decided to focus on the reactions of a huddled congregation who barely even understand what’s happening to them, let alone the bigger picture that the game’s plot paints. This storytelling method takes a huge event and transforms it into a low-level personal experience, making us, as viewers, feel like helpless bystanders. The location in Prague we found was great, both visually and in terms of the emotions it elicited. We shot in the very deep winter, and my goal was to make sure that James Cosmo and the extras felt a deep desolation. James was the perfect choice for the role of Priest, both for his physicality and for the deeply human element that shimmers from behind his eyes.”\
“What Hammer Creative did so effectively in producing ‘The Last Sermon’ was to deliver something directly targeted to the Darksiders audience,” adds Jim Huntley, THQ’s vice president of marketing. “After viewing this trailer, fans will be acutely aware of the massive scope of the apocalypse that humankind is experiencing in the world of the game.”