Murdered: Soul Suspect
Murdered: Soul Suspect

Murdered: Soul Suspect Game Cinematic by Digital Domain

Digital Domain created the game cinematic for Square Enix’s “Murdered: Soul Suspect” game for E3


When Square Enix and Airtight Games sought a creative partner to realize the trailer (and an earlier :30 sneak-peek teaser back in January) they set the bar extremely high. “We needed a team that could pull off production quality of the highest degree, tell our story in CG in a way that felt emotive and powerful – more like a film than a game, and do it all within a games marketing schedule and budget,” said Square Enix Executive Producer Naoto Sugiyama. “Few companies in the world have that capability. Digital Domain was our top choice.”

The trailer introduces Ronan and takes the viewer along with the tough cop as he discovers that the grisly murder he is trying to solve is his own. It also unveils some of the rules by which players navigate the “ghost” world.

“Square Enix and Airtight had a great concept for the teaser,” said Digital Domain’s Co-Director Neil Huxley. “What we set out to do was to create another experience of it; to take it into another realm entirely.”

To realize the stylized, movie-like piece, Huxley and Co-Director Vernon Wilbert used the tools and techniques of filmmaking. They began by developing a story for Ronan, which then defined the structure and limitations of his environments. For the shoot, they segmented the script and shot it in sections, like a typical feature film, instead of shot-by-shot, the more common approach for games marketing.

“By working this way we were able to help the actor stay in the moment during the shoot and capture several different camera angles, which helped us avoid re-shoots,” said Huxley.

“Digital Domain has worked with some of the biggest directors of the past 20 years and brings that film knowledge to every project,” said Wilbert. “We took things like lens flares created for the game environment and re-created them so they could work in a real world. We adapted some of the visual rules of films that inspired us, and brought their style of lighting, cameras, shooting – even the contrast ratio from color grading – into this piece because they were great metaphors for this story.”

Huxley and Wilbert also leveraged Digital Domain’s virtual production studio and team, conducting a live action stage shoot to capture the mood, tone, lighting and body/face/voice performance that drove the digital characters and assets. They tapped the studio’s advanced facial capture and animation process and pipeline used on the Academy-Award-winning movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, on TRON: Legacy, Jack the Giant Slayer and many other top features and commercials.

Rich Flier, VP of Advertising and Games at Digital Domain and Mothership, said, “Square Enix really wanted to bring the marketing for this game to a different level — raising the entertainment and production value of every aspect of this game, starting with the first introduction of the character. We unleashed all of the talent and know-how we have built over years of feature film and advertising work to create a sophisticated piece that did justice to the concept they had created.”


Spot title:                             “Murdered: Soul Suspect” 2:00 Announcement Trailer
Directors:                            Neil Huxley
Vernon Wilbert
Client:                                   Square Enix
Game Developer:              Airtight Games

Digital Production, Animation, Editorial & Visual Effects by: Digital Domain

Rich Flier                             VP/Executive Producer
Scott Gemmell                    Head of Production
Vernon Wilbert                   VFX Supervisor
Tiffani Manabat                  VFX Producer
Alex Michael                       VFX Coordinator
Lee Carlton                         CG Supervisor (Character)
Tim Jones                            CG Supervisor (Lighting/FX)
Stew Burris                          Previs Artist
Brian Creasey                    Generalist
Daisuke Nagae                  Generalist
Christian Sanchez             Generalist
Lily Heng                             Generalist
Rick Glenn                          Animation Supervisor
Paul Wood                          Animator
Les Major                            Animator
Adrian Dimond                Rigging Supervisor
Rick Fronek                        Asst. Technical Director
Ken Jones                          FX Artist
Jason Mortimer                  FX Artist, Previs Artist
Adam Briggs                       FX Artist
Rafael Colon                      Compositing Lead
Franz Kol                             Compositor
Lenz Kol                              Compositor
Peter Sidoriak                     Compositor
Cody Williams                     Motion Graphics Artist
Chris Weston                      Concept Artist
Colin Woods                       Editor
Jeremy Lusk                        Editor
Jeff Heusser                         Flame Artist

Virtual Production/Motion Capture: Digital Domain

Gary Roberts:                         Virtual Production Supervisor
Gaby Rios:                              Motion Capture Production Supervisor
April Warren:                          Lab Supervisor
Ryan Beagan:                        Motion Capture Lead
Chris Cummins:                     Motion Capture Coordinator
Steve Madonna:                     IT/Systems Manager
Ron Rhee:                               Motion Capture Artist
Alia Dong-Stewart:                 Head Mounted Camera Operator
Thomas Frederick:                 Camera Operator
Jeremy Schichtel:                  Motion Capture Artist
Jonathan Berry:                      Motion Capture Artist
Matt Valverde:                         Motion Capture Artist
Mocap Actor:                           Reuben Langdon
Mocap Actor: Jason Brooks
Mocap Actor:                           Mark Musashi
Louis Silverstein:                    Digital Script Supervisor
Thomas Frederick:                 Camera Operator
Stephanie Bravo:                    Make up
Charlie Siemaker:                   Sound Mixer
Allister Mann:                           Boom Operator

Music/Sound Design:     Silkscreen Studios
Original music by Jeff Rona
Music mixed by Jim Hill
Sound design by Michael Schmidt
Co-produced by Nathan Rightnour

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