Plastic Wax Animation, a digital animation studio specializing in CG content and in-game cinematics for the videogame industry, has been pretty busy over the last 18 months or so, collaborating with Vigil Games and THQ Inc. on their latest blockbuster, Darksiders II.
With over fourteen years of industry experience dedicated to large AAA titles, Plastic Wax Animation is a full service studio that works with marketing and product development groups to produce award winning in-game cinematics and pre-rendered CG scenes. Located in Sydney, Australia, Plastic Wax's studios include a state of the art motion-capture studio, sound recording and editing suites, and a complete art, design and animation studio.
“The projects have come in on a constant stream.” explains Studio Manager Matt Dignam. “Sometimes, we’ve been working on two or three at the same time.” Most of these projects have just been released and they came from all genres. THQ's Darksiders II and Disney's EPIC Mickey 2 are polar opposites. They couldn’t be further apart. “One is the personification of Death himself, slashing up demons in hell, and the other is Mickey Mouse sharing loves and hugs with Disney characters,” explains Dane Maddams, Production Manager at Plastic Wax.
Plastic Wax has been doing work with THQ for a number of years, the previous major project with them was the Saints Row The Third. Plastic Wax did about 55 minutes of all the cut-scenes in the game itself as well as the CG trailer, so they were first in line to be called to work on Darksiders II. In fact, Plastic Wax has also been responsible for work in THQ properties since 2006, like the original Space Marine and Warhammer cinematics, as well as Dawn of War 2, Kill Team and Retribution in between. The line up is pretty full on. Plastic Wax Animation is bringing home some great material and is pretty much Australia’s answer to Blur Studio.
By the end of the production for Darksiders II, the Plastic Wax crew knew the Darksiders universe like the backs of their hand. The last piece for the title they did was the launch TV commercial, called The Darkside of Salvation, which is on worldwide airplay at the moment, took inside of four weeks to produce, from the brief. “We had the Darksiders ideas pretty well tamed, and we could swing the material out in a reasonably short amount of time,” says Dignam. These look like they took a few pointers from Danté’s Inferno. Not the game, the real story. But the reference actually came from the in-game level action of Darksiders II. “We dug down into the asset builds in the levels and gathered a deep understanding of the complete environment. We then took all that information and re-rendered that into the cinematic space. Going into hell where Death is fighting 300+ demons, all with unique animations, it was an enjoyable challenge for our crew,” adds Matt. “The game level designs were brilliant to work with. Vigil Games and THQ really knew their game.”