HONG KONG — Production company Final Frontier has launched an animated film for Netease’s martial-arts-driven battle-royale game, NARAKA: BLADEPOINT.
The latest 2D short film from Final Frontier Entertainment serves as a launch piece for the game’s new Chapter “SHOWDOWN – GELID YUSHAN,” and a new Player Versus Environment (PvE) game system.
Animated in production studio Le Cube’s signature dynamic style with fluid transitions, the action is reminiscent of anime, but choreographed with the moves and sequences distinct to Wuxia-style sword-craft.
The film centers on fan-favorite heroine, Viper Ning, as she faces off against the demonic Mother of Kunlun, in an enormous and cavernous temple. Viper seems destined for defeat before lifelong rival blade master, Justina Gu, emerges to fight by her side, the ensuing battle intercut with flashbacks to the protagonist’s complex past.
Director Ralph Karam said, “To reflect the magnitude of this epic face-off, I wanted there to be a palpable feeling of tension, that builds and intensifies until the final climax. There needed to be an oppressive atmosphere of terror and the constant inescapable feeling of Viper’s struggle against a formidable opponent. The music was a key component in achieving that effect. To enhance and escalate the tension, we layered sound effects rather than going with melodic music.
In terms of technique, we found a smart way to paint the background over a 3D structure and later animate it as a 2D asset. That helped us a lot to speed up the design process. Our experience producing the first film helped us to maintain aesthetic coherence this time around, especially with the fine ink and texture work, which ultimately gives the project its unique personality.
The main challenge was to be true to the game’s existing character and environment designs, and also the specific way that the characters needed to move, while at the same time making sure we were adding our own vision, style, and unique touch to the film.
My favorite moment is when the Mother of Kunlun looms forward and emerges from the shadows, fearsome, eyes blazing. Again, it was all about playing with the light and shadow, and sound to create that chilling sense of dread. I also love the effects, which infuse the action with extra dynamism.”
Final Frontier Executive Producer Chris Colman said, “I really just want to pay tribute to Ralph and Le Cube’s creativity, craft, and professionalism, and Netease, for trusting us again to execute their vision serving a game and world with which we feel deeply connected. It’s proving to be a powerful Ning and Justina-esque combination.”
NARAKA: BLADEPOINT is a Chinese martial art “wuxia sword-craft” game that takes place against the backdrop of the battle between two ancient gods, seeing heroes from around the world venturing to the legendary Morus Isle to compete for the immortal mask. First launched in August 2021, by June 2022, global sales of the game had exceeded 10 million copies.
Besides the first episode in this series, Final Frontier also created the full 3D CG trailer for Naraka Championship 2022, the inaugural edition of the international esports tournament.