“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” the fifth game in Bethesda Game Studios’ Elder Scrolls series, is the latest release to receive the fan film treatment on the gaming and media streaming website Machinima.
The live-action short “Skyrim: Into the Void” was created by Machinima partner Warialasky, who also created films based on the games “Goldeneye” and “Splinter Cell.” It follows the noble dragonborn hero Dovahkiin, who saves the world from destruction only to be cursed by a vampire in the process.
Hero Complex spoke to Warialasky partner Landon Sperry about “death eater technology,” working with Machinima and fan reaction to changes from the original text.
HC: Before doing the movie, what was your Skyrim experience?
LS: Originally, I played the game a couple of months after it launched. People were saying “It’s like ‘Lord of the Rings!’ It’s the coolest thing ever!” So I jumped into it and now I’m one of those people trying to convince others to play it because it’s phenomenal. It’s one of those games that can completely suck you in and take up tons of time.
HC: You’ve already done one “Skyrim” project, what made you decide on a second?
LS: There’s quite a few different fan films floating around, but what we found was that they were all sort of the lighter side of Skyrim. Honestly, the game is pretty scary. You’re in a dungeon a lot of the time and there are noises behind you and it’s dark and there are werewolves and vampires and people being raised from the dead. So we set out to show these things that hadn’t been portrayed yet; things that we thought were the coolest parts of the game.
HC: And the effects?
LS: On our YouTube channel, you can see that our area of expertise is visual effects. Everything that we put out on the Internet, we always try to have them. And each time, we try to learn something new and expand our tool kit. So with this one, we had a few ideas for characters and different ways to tackle that. One of the things that we used was something called Fume FX [which was used to make the death eaters apparate in “Harry Potter”] that allowed for realistic smoke simulations. We had the idea that these vampires, when they travel around, they have this plume of darkness around them to protect themselves from the sun. That was one of things that we used.
HC: In terms of working with Machinima, was there something else in their wheelhouse that inspired you?
LS: One that comes to mind is last year’s “Forward Unto Dawn,” the Halo series. We’re really suckers for visual effects, so that really impressed us. It’s always one of the things that we think of: If we can just really get our effects together enough, it will take our storytelling to the next level. And, of course, we’re all waiting for the next season of the “Mortal Kombat” series. But that’s the other thing, there’s not a ton of content like this on the Internet where people put a lot of time into a longer format like a film, which is the direction that we wanted to try and go with our content. Machinima does that, and has the audience that we need.
HC: What are some things you have in the works?
LS: We’re tackling a science fiction short. It’s a really cool short story and we want to try and do that to stretch ourselves with visual effects with crazier sets and that sort of thing. But our dream project, and what we hope to be moving to shortly after, is a “Legend of Zelda” fan film — live action and similar to the “Skyrim” film. Above all else, we’re huge “Legend of Zelda” fans. We’ve been planning and working towards that for several years now. That would definitely be it for us.
HC: What do you hope to see in terms of a reaction to “Skyrim?” There are rabid fans.
LS: We portrayed things from the game, but with our own perspective on them, and so we’re really curious to see how people take some of those elements. We didn’t completely change ‘em, but it’s almost like Christopher Nolan’s “Batman”… slight tweak here, slight tweak there. One example is that there’s these guys that are referred to as the Dark Brotherhood, this clan of assassins. In the game they wear masks and look kind of like ninjas a little bit — they just cover their faces. But in our film, we thought it’d be cool to just paint their faces black so you can’t tell who they are and they look even more threatening that way. There are a lot of little things like that where we’re curious to see how people take it.
— Jevon Phillips
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