I play a lot of Xbox. To be more specific, I play a ton of Halo 3. Anyways, today the New Xbox Experience launches giving the players more enjoyment out of their online experience. It also gives them one of the coolest welcoming animations I have seen in quite some time.
Exopolis worked directly with the Xbox team to bring us a smorgasbord of visuals from shiny orbs to phantom race cars. I caught up with the director, Magnus Hierta, so he could give us a little more insight on the project.
So how stoked were you to find out you’d be working on the welcoming animation for the New Xbox Experience?
Honestly, when we found out what the project was and who it was for we couldn’t stop grinning. The project brief (despite how it actually said it) basically read like this: Make something rad and have fun and kinda try and stay on brand with some of the colors and stuff…
So, yeah, it was akin to the experience a 7 year old would have if they were allowed free reign of a candy store. I mean, we’re basically locked in to something like 14 million viewers and that’s just a projection based on the number of Xbox owners out there.
If people like it and decide to show their friends, they will be able to navigate to it through the new interface and play it again. How can any artist / designer not get a kick out of that amount of distribution? It’s pretty satisfying right of the bat and consequently those factors were the largest driving force behind our sustained energy through the project.
Awesome! What was the process of working directly with Mircrosoft Xbox like? Did you have to run the design by Bill Gates?
Haha. Yeah, didn’t you know that since he basically owns the world even Microsoft has to clear things with him?
Working with Xbox directly was actually a really harmonious and pleasant experience. Jeff and Tobias were great clients and were really onboard with our creative vision from the beginning. They came down to LA for the duration of the project and we basically had a charrette type of experience with them.
How did the concept develop and what was the process like to bring it to life?
We had a daily meeting in the evening where we would go over the day’s progress and development. We had a lot of fun and the meetings would often extensively cover other interesting material in the advertising and gaming worlds where we would just be hashing out ideas with each other. It was great fun.
Xbox had some initial thoughts about the concept which involved some sort of representation of the different gaming genres. We then took each genre and distilled it down it’s essential idea. From there we used these basic principles to mold a story line.
So what’s your favorite Xbox game?
We finished Burnout during the final rendering stage of the project. For some reason it’s all we played. It was fun because the clients brought one of 10 Xboxes that had the new software installed and we got to play around with it during the project.
It really shows in the piece that they enjoyed working on it. As with most productions, there was plenty of midnight oil burned in the process. Congrats on the beautiful work! I hope to see more from Exopolis soon.