GamesCom 2011 - EA Community Reporter Tom Wallis on the perils of video editing and the blurring of time.
Averaging between 3 and 5 hours of sleep a night takes its toll over the course of a week. When you’re continually thinking about what you’ve got to be doing next, it makes holding it together that much more of a challenge. Day 4 and 5 have blurred together - hence you are receiving them at the same time. These days were filled with video editing. Charged with creating multimedia content for the site, we had an idea to launch a Need for Speed: The Run competition (which ends 26.08.11) and can be seen online if you’re interested).
Rich has told me that I took on the role of DP. Apparently this means Director of Photography. That fact alone will tell you how far outside my comfort zone of writing words on paper I had strayed.
A straight race would have been boring, in my opinion. If you want to watch athletes after all, you don’t tune in to games convention coverage. Thus we grasped for a big idea instead. The concept was collaborative, with each member of the six man team coming up with what they wanted to do in the video, before the group collectively decided they would do something completely different. Finally we struck gold: a staged race across GamesCom with each racer seemingly choosing a different strategy and route.
In technical terms, the hardest part was mashing the Need for Speed: The Run Limited Edition trailer and matching it to the video that was captured. Notably, I had no idea I was going to try that before I got to the edit. Secondly, the laptop I have is, in terms I can use without expletives, shockingly slow. Rendering the end video, bearing in mind it’s an HD masterpiece at one minute and thirty-eight seconds, took a little over an hour. You can imagine my joy when Dan AKA EA_Actionman, asked for some final amendments. Needless to say I left the convention centre when they were kicking us out at 10.30pm, and I still hadn’t finished.
Looking at the feedback it would also seem that a lot of people thought this video was some kind of official trailer. Firstly, trailers are usually made by professional filmmakers with professional equipment andfull buy in from the developers. Secondly, it’s extremely rare that game trailers are made without any footage of the game whatsoever. In hindsight,perhaps we should have made the public more aware that this was a video made by community members for a bit of fun; but I really thought having the public face of the EA Community sitting in front of a giant EA Community sign would suffice. For that I am truly sorry.
The game itself; Need for Speed: The Run, is really good. You should play it. You need a bit more than that you say? Well alright then. The game is implementing the Autolog feature pioneered by Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, however they’ve evolved it to make your ability to play asynchronously (not at the same time) with your friends even easier, more informative and more interactive. Just like Hot Pursuit you’ll be racing the same track over and over to shave a few seconds off for the ultimate bragging rights.
There’s also a narrative to the game. Before you turn your back hear me out! The game takes place across the 3000miles from coast to coast in North America. You race a portion of this; some 300km, but from what we’ve seen the narrative not only makes sense, but will compel you to do just one more race before you head up to bed.
As part of the narrative we were shown some set pieces. By this I mean epic moments in certain races that are not only eye catching, but change the track physically as you race down it. Arguably this takes queuesfrom Split/Second and more recently Motorstorm: Apocalypse, but that’s not a bad thing. The avalanche we managed to play on the show floor, even at thisearly stage of production, created real edge-of-the-seat gameplay that I can’t wait to experience when the game is released next year. I loved Hot Pursuit and I’m looking forward to beating your times in The Run.