CGI Studio Axis Creates Spartan Ops Series

CGI Studio, Axis, in collaboration with 343 Industries, proudly announces its participation in the brand-new, story-driven experience of "Halo 4" – Spartan Ops: Season One. A first-of-its-kind, exciting new addition to the "Halo" franchise, Spartan Ops is an episodic adventure that blends immersive storytelling, high-quality cinematics and action-packed gameplay to deliver an unprecedented serialized experience.

The CGI video series is being directed by Axis co-founder Stuart Aitken, on the heels of other recent high-profile game-related projects, including the much-acclaimed and award-winning Dead Island announcement trailer. Director Aitken immersed himself in the "Halo" canon, taking in everything that could provide insight into previous story elements, given that Axis would be creating never-before-seen moments in the "Halo" universe.

Aitken and Axis Producer Debbie Ross worked hand-in-hand with Halo 4 developers 343 Industries to creatively develop the content, including casting, script development, art direction, sound design, with the clear goal that each Spartan Ops episode should be as engaging as the best feature film or television drama.

"Spartan Ops was an absolutely unique project, with a unique schedule and unique challenges," said Frank O’Connor, Franchise Development Director at 343 Industries. "Axis stepped up to those challenges with imagination and
energy, and more importantly, a wonderfully collaborative vision of the story we wanted to tell. Working with our writers, our cinematics team, and a dizzying plethora of tools and assets, they became a seamless extension of our narrative group – and we look forward to continuing our relationship and creative partnership in the future."

"What makes this such an incredible opportunity is that this is full CGI movie-style storytelling and character development within the rich and exciting world of Halo," said Stuart Aitken. "We’ve collaborated at every level with 343 Industries throughout the process to create a truly immersive cinematic experience."

Through a weekly series of cinematic episodes, Spartan Ops tells the continuing story of the UNSC Infinity, following the events of "Halo 4." Ten animated episodes, featuring over 1200 CGI animated shots, are being released throughout the series, which began on Nov 6th with the launch of
"Halo 4". These cinematic episodes provide the backdrop for the weekly Spartan Ops gameplay missions, where players can take part in five new missions each week that explore the corners of Requiem and help uncover the secrets of the mysterious Forerunner world.

Spartan Ops features a fantastic cast of leading talent, including Jen
Taylor, Vedette Lim (True Blood), Ethan Peck (Gossip Girl), Darren O’Hare (Bones), Jennifer Hale (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and many others. The Episodes were rehearsed and shot across two intensive two-week sessions in Los Angeles, with the actors performances (including facial capture) captured at Giant Studios, best known for their pioneering motion capture on James Cameron’s Avatar. In order to maintain every nuance of the actors performances when these were applied to the CG characters, Axis developed a special facial motion capture solution in conjunction with Giant Studios and Cubic Motion, a world leader in solving this difficult problem. The result is some of the most realistic and expressive CGI facial animation to date.

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