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Production company Blacklist and their wunderkind animation team Polynoid collaborated with 343 Industries to create five atmospheric and at times frenetic openers for “Forward Unto Dawn,” the highly successful web series promoting the recent release of “Halo 4,” the latest installment in one of the most successful franchises in video game history.

POLYNOID HALO 4 MONTAGE

Polynoid’s microfilms illustrate the intense relationship between Cortana, an artificial intelligence entity and indispensable aide to Master Chief, the long-time hero of the Halo series. Set aboard a spacecraft, the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn as it drifts towards imminent doom, Cortana must battle to awaken Master Chief from cryo-stasis before it’s too late.

“For us, Cortana was the centerpiece around which we spun our story,” said Polynoid’s Jan Bitzer. “When we started working out the scenes and shots, we did it under the premise that Cortana is the only ‘alive’ being we could play with.”

With elegantly framed shots, drifting cameras and gloomy lighting, Polynoid emphasized the soul-crushing loneliness aboard the nearly empty spacecraft. To effectively communicate the passing of time, Polynoid switched from the relative calm of zero-gravity to intense time-lapsed action.

“[The time lapse sequence] was technically the most challenging. We spent a lot of time tweaking it; always trying to improve every shot simultaneously to guarantee a consistent quality for the overall piece,” Bitzer noted.

Polynoid and Blacklist collaborated with 343 Industries every step of the way, carefully guarding production from the massive press surrounding “Halo 4.” “Polynoid are gamers, and this was a dream opportunity,” said Blacklist Executive Producer Adina Sales. “This project was a perfect fit for our team. 343 was looking for a sophisticated interpretation and they encouraged us to push the artistic lense. Polynoid had a clear vision from the outset and we were determined to deliver in spades. We’re very proud of the results.”

For additional concept art and styleframe imagery please visit POLYNOID.

THE EPISODES

Episode One

Episode Two

Episode Three

Episode Four

Episode Five

CREDITS

Year: 2012
Client: 343 Industries

Animated Opening Sequences
Production Company: Blacklist
Executive Producer: Adina Sales
Producer: Alexander Unick
Direction / Art Direction / Animation: Polynoid
Music / Sounddesign (Montage): Michael Fakesch
Artists: Jan Bitzer, Ilija Brunck, Bashir Hamid, Marco Kowalik, Csaba Letay, Sebastian Mayer, Fabian Pross, Egbert Reichel, Heiko Schneck, Carl Schroeter, Tom Weber

Live Action Series
Director: Stewart Hendler
Live Action Production Company: Laskey Productions, Inc.
Visual Effects Producer: Dave Moulder
Associate Producer: Jamieson Fry

LINK TO FULL CREDITS