While our backers have received a few updates, some livestreams and what not, the rest of the world probably has no idea where Outerlands is at or where it's going. We're hoping this trailer rectifies some of that. Our backers will be receiving the first episode next week as a digital download from Humble Bundle, but for everyone else out there that just might be a little curious...
AREA 5 is finally in a full-team huddle after traveling and dividing-and-conquering these last few months for Outerlands. That means it’s time for us to update all of you! The team has been watching and logging footage every free moment since we began shooting in March. While there are software programs which are supposed to streamline this process, we’ve never found anything that’s equal to the task of simply watching and then renaming every file by hand. Most of this task has fallen on Ryan’s shoulders. That guy is a machine.
Outerlands adds up so far to about 8,500 files and 3.5TB of data. I have no idea how many hours of footage that would be stretched end-to-end. Thankfully we’re in the digital age! I’m pretty sure we’d need an entire other office just to store film reels. Double those numbers, add in a few hundred more GB for good measure (not everything one shoots is worth logging) and the “storage problem” begins to add up. That’s where Cesar came in. For the past month in-between shoots, he took on the task of building a Network Access Storage (NAS) device. Our five year old Mac Pro honorably sacrificed its life for this greater good:
While it ain’t pretty, this system holds 22TB of usable hard drive space in a RAID 5 configuration. That may not mean much to many of you, but the short of it is that it gives us redundancy should several of the drives in the NAS fail. The dead drives can be rebuilt from algorithmic backups stored on the other drives.
So what’s on that sexy monstrosity? Our latest shoots are from sending Ryan and Cesar to EVO 2014—the largest, greatest fighting game tournament anywhere—and Jason and myself to GaymerX—a videogame convention for everyone regardless of gender or sexuality (which also began as a Kickstarter!). There's lots of little interviews and shoots we've gathered up as well, but the other big event was our NYC->Rochester->Buffalo->Candada->New Hampshire->Boston road trip. Here's a gallery of that epic quest:
What's next? We're settling back for a few months to dive into editing on this beast. We want to hone in on the layout for the episodes and then target our next locations and shoots on filling out their themes with the best stories. We're heading to Argentina and Chile near the end of September and beginning of October. Austin, Toronto, LA, Washington DC, Seattle, and Virginia are all in the cards at the moment. And, of course, we'll be constantly shooting all around the San Francisco Bay Area; our next local shoot will be at the Computer History Museum in San José which will help us round out our story on the PDP-1 which we began at MIT in Boston.
And there's another AREA 5 Kickstarter! Well, it's not so much ours as it is something we have a stake in. Should it get funded, we could have a hand in a 3D concert film/documentary on Infected Mushroom! It's been in the works for over a year and AREA 5 put a ton of work into the pre-production and the Kickstarter video from Spring through Fall of 2013. The project is being run and managed by our good friends over at Golden Gate 3D, but if you take a close look at the Kickstarter video, you'll see the AREA 5 stamp all over the shooting and editing. If it's something you'd like to see made, tell your friends!
For all our international friends, potential backers that missed out during the Kickstarter campaign period, and those who wanted or needed some alternate ways to support the project, we're very happy to be working with The Humble Bundle to offer up two Slacker Backer options! A regular edition digital download and a special edition digital download. As with our Kickstarter backers, your downloads will not be available until July 2015. You could, of course, wait until then, but every dollar that comes in now is another dollar we can spend making Outerlands better.
If you've to an audience and would like to link to our little widgets directly, here's some handy cut-n-paste web-coding for maximum enjoyment-use™!
<a href="https://www.humblebundle.com/store/product/outerlands_seasonone/XLKdjwoi4j" target="_blank">Outerlands: Season One Slacker Backer!</a>
<a href="http://area5.tv/outerlands/" target="_blank">Outerlands: Season One Slacker Backer!</a>
We are extremely pleased to announce that our feature documentary on one of the best games of 2013 is now available on Amazon Instant streaming and as a download for FREE! AREA 5 does not see any revenue from this, but could you do us a solid, download the film, watch it, and then review it on Amazon? It would mean an awful lot to us and will help us when pitching projects like this in the future to be able to point to that reviews page. Grab it here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IHV0W3Y
Unfortunately it is only available in the United States right now.
This is also a great indicator of the kind of quality we'll be bringing to Outerlands. Our Kickstarter which was just successfully funded!
Perhaps most famous in video game circles for the lovely soundtrack to FEZ, Disasterpeace (Rich Vreeland) is a prolific musician who is unafraid to explore the boundaries of his art. Alternately electronic and acoustic, analog and digital, this always-musician and sometimes-game-developer can't be oversold as an inspired individual. While this Outerlands short clearly puts his talent on display, our hope is that it'll showcase, as well, the deep consideration that goes into everything Disasterpeace does. Our secondary hope is that this will make it easy to understand why we want to make Outerlands. If you haven't yet, there's still a few days left to back the project on Kickstarter.
Frank's passion is finding lost games. Prototypes, cancelled titles, failed launches. In fact, his site, Lost Levels is devoted solely to this endeavor. To that end, he's put together perhaps the largest personal collection of videogame magazines anywhere. Yes, he's currently in possession of perhaps the only existing copy of the first English-language review of Super Mario Bros., but these piles of (often terrible) industry mags are treasure troves of information. Ads for games that never came out, mail order forms with overly-optimistic listings of games that were still in the "faking a screenshot" phase, and interviews and commentary that seemed innocent at the time, but are windows into a surprising number of incomplete or abandoned experiments. Frank wants to find them all!
This story is likely to appear in Outerlands in some form and we want to share it with all of you as a representative sample of what you can expect the storytelling to be like if our Kickstarter is successfully funded. Which reminds us: the majority of our backers are coming to us from Twitter, which means that every time you tweet about Outerlands and get others to tweet about us, you're helping in the best way possible to make it happen!
Extra special thanks to Tony the Cat!
COMPLIMENTARY PIZZA AND BEVERAGES!
(Oh, and come meet the AREA 5/Outerlands team)
There will be a laptop on hand with a page open to our Kickstarter project, so bring friends who haven't backed the project yet and peer pressure them into signing up!
We WILL run out of the beverages and pizza, but you're welcome to stick around and get your fine craft brews and awesome grub the usual way (by forking over some cash). The bar is OURS from 2pm until 3:14pm (see what they did there?) when they open to the general public. But come by any time! You MUST have a ticket with you in order to get the complimentary beverages and pizza, though. Download the image below and print it or save it to your phone.
And here's a maps link just in case the one on the ticket doesn't help ya get there!
You may have already heard about our new documentary series we're calling Outerlands. Tomorrow we're going to do a live stream the Outerlands Twitch channel. We'll answer all of your questions about the project and our friend Disasterpeace (FEZ Soundtrack) is going to do a live improv piano performance! (Well, live via Skype, but that's still live!). Disasterpeace is one of the musicians who's graciously come on board for the Outerlands soundtrack!
SCHEDULE (4PM 'til WHENEVER)
- 4PM - Stream Begins -- Q&A with AREA 5 Team. LIVE from their Hole-In-The-Wall office in San Francisco!
- 4:30PM - Disasterpeace joins us! He'll be performing improv piano and, time permitting, answer a few questions!
If you haven't had a chance to check out the project yet, watch the video below and then read about the awesome backer rewards, and super cool partners we've got on board to help us make this project the best it can be!
Most people have never had the privilege of visiting a development studio or movie studio and seeing the incredible amount of pre-production artwork that goes into a project of the scope of something like The Last of Us.
During the filing of the rest of our development series for Naughty Dog, I walked past their concept art wall countless times. And, a few times, I had time to just stop and get lost in it all. It's this feeling that we wanted to capture. The second source of inspiration came from Gustavo Santaolalla's unbelievable soundtrack for the game—something we'd become intimately familiar with while editing Grounded.
I'm not sure Naughty Dog understood exactly what our proposal was, at first, but they still decided to give us a shot at what, really, is kind of a surreal experiment. Ideally, you have the means to hook this up to a large screen in a dark room, but either way, we hope you enjoy it.
Faced with the brutal realities of their world, their relationship is a complex one. Writing, direction, and the talents of two very special voice actors (Ashley Johnson as Ellie and Troy Baker as Joel) each contributed something critical to the process that turned mere characters into living, breathing people.
It has become a kind of Internet law that online videos over five minutes are wastes. Wastes of time and wastes of treasure.
No one will sit through anything longer. People have shorter attention spans than ever. ADD. Media polysaturation. Get in, get out. Especially on YouTube.
We've always thought that length shouldn't be your goal. If the content is right for five minutes (or six seconds), then produce it accordingly. But if you've got, say, a twenty-five year old entertainment franchise with global cultural impact, five minutes probably won't do you justice.
Capcom, of course, understood this implicitly, and they approached us from the get-go to make something feature-length. What happened next was crazy.
The problem with a documentary about Street Fighter is that it's fucking Street Fighter. Really, research should be done for 3-6 months, the researcher should be an ongoing crew member until wrap, and the shoot schedule should evolve over time; preferably over a period of 6 months to a year. We had 4 months.
Fortunately, we had an ace up our sleeve: Seth Killian. A man of incredible talents, Seth was our entry point into all things Street Fighter. Community, legacy, moments in time. He had it all. We began reaching out almost immediately to names-on-the-list, as it were, as well as anyone else that our experience told us could lend the right story or tone. After all, this wasn't supposed to be just a by-the-numbers history lesson, it needed to show the uninitiated just how deep the rabbit hole goes. We remember arcades and corner stores and laundromats and 7-11's and pizza places (and, and, and . . . ) with their line of hungry quarter-poppers ready for the next challenger. But for many it goes far beyond enjoyment of the game and straight into life-altering experiences. Street Fighter is a cultural force that's shaped a significant portion of a generation as they grew into adulthood—is still shaping them. It also shaped an emerging entertainment industry for decades to come—is still shaping it. For that, Capcom set us up with some of the biggest visionaries of the Japanese game developer community, alternately inspired and bedeviled by Street Fighter throughout their careers.
Now it was time to come up with a production plan that would have us shooting in multiple locations in three countries, on two continents, edit, color correct, produce a soundtrack for and mixdown the final film and still somehow reach a hard deadline for when the film had to go in for mastering and inclusion in the 25th Anniversary collector's set. We are not strangers to long hours, lost weekend and all-nighters, but this project nearly killed us. We had to get it right and there simply wasn't time.
When it was done, the celebration was mild. All we saw were the mistakes, the missed opportunities. Now, a year later, it's easier to see it for what it is and judging by the feedback it seems we somehow managed to hit our mark. For that, we have to give special thanks to a few without whom there would have been no hope:
Seth, of course.
SPL Pictures whose expertise on-set were never in doubt. Worth every penny.
Tsuyoshi Kanda who was on loan to us from Capcom as line producer in Japan. The two weeks the crew spent there was infinitely better because of him.
8-4, Ltd. who not only location scouted for us but provided constant translator and localization services. There's no way the film would have been on time without their organization, feedback, and quality control.
And, of course, to EVO and the FGC for never once backing out, always being available, and lending their hype, their archives of footage, and their expertise.
Unfortunately we didn't have the time to consider doing much "behind the scenes," but here's a few photos during our shoots with DJ QBert and famed collector Clarence Lim.
For many games, combat is a critical part of the game's design, and much like the previous episode, we find that Naughty Dog has let no storytelling opportunity slip by. The awful struggles forced upon humanity in the game's world are constant and brutal. They've shaped the remnants of human society in terrible ways and The Last of Us tries to bring the point home through every player action.
This trailer contains no spoilers—either of the film or the game. However, if you plan to play The Last of Us it is highly recommended that you beat the game before watching the full film.
Area 5 is very proud to present our trailer for this feature length documentary on the creation of The Last of Us.
Making a new IP is hard. Really hard. Even when you're a venerated and much-beloved game development studio like Naughty Dog (Uncharted, Jak & Daxter), you're leaping headlong into a sea of unanswered questions when embarking on a journey like this; questions that can only be resolved through failure, after failure, after failure.
But that's the Naughty Dog way. Their unique corporate culture cultivates a flurry of creative energy like few places on Earth. The Last of Us is a game shaped by visionaries, but given form through the dedication of hundreds of individuals—each with the power to shape the vision at the highest level. Everyone that worked on the game made their mark, and the heroes of our film represent but a tiny fraction of the incredible amount of effort which finally brought it all together. Actors, directors, artists, sound designers, and engineers; at Naughty Dog everyone is a storyteller.
We hope that whether or not you play the game, you'll still enjoy their stories.
It's remarkable to us here at A5 just how much brainpower Naughty Dog puts into every aspect of The Last of Us. The easy way out would be to make a scavenging and crafting system that simply upgrades your damage-dealing abilities and throw correspondingly tougher enemies at you as the game progresses. But what if such systems were considered every bit the storytelling opportunities that we normally associate strictly with cut-scenes or scripted dialog? What if you could feel a world, its characters, and its choices this way?
The second in the series. This one focuses on Naughty Dog's approach to a post-pandemic world. Eerily beautiful, this isn't a gray-brown, lifeless apocalypse; it's simply what happens when we are no longer there.
Everyone loves Runner 2. With good reason. Here, Gaijin Games allowed us inside to tell the humble story of the game's earliest beginnings.
We feel extraordinarily privileged to be wor king with Naughty Dog on a series of mini documentaries about The Last of Us. This is the first. The series will be released first as short cuts (spoiler free!) and then extended cuts which will be on the game disc. The extended cuts will, in total, compare in run time to a feature length documentary.