Back in 2008, game company Namco Bandai decided to update and reimagine their horror-themed video game Splatterhouse (originally from 1988) for the Playstation and Xbox platforms. The game play was extremely gory, as can be surmised by the title, but Splatterhouse also had some great storytelling sequences, known as cinematics or cut-scenes, between game levels. I animated some of those sequences at Brain Zoo, the studio that handled all the cinematics for the production. Fortunately, the cinematics were more along the lines of the horror movie style but without the fighting and gore present in the game play itself - not my kind of thing!
I was pleased to be assigned to the ending sequence where I worked under the supervision of Harry Walton and director Mo Davoudian. In that part of the tale, the main character, Rick, was conversing (in his head) with the "Terror Mask" which had taken over his body and made him into a hulking monster. The inner conflict seemed very psychological, seen by Rick's ultimate attempt to tear off the mask in order to break free from the evil persona. After Rick's girlfriend, Jennifer, awakened from a spell of possession, they shared a tender “beauty and beast” moment, which was significant due to the size difference between the characters. These scenarios provided a nice range of acting possibilities for me to animate!
We had some limitations due to the pressures of a tight deadline and the fact that the models were only game-quality assets; however, everything looked great once the Brain Zoo crew had completed the effects, lighting, and rendering which gave a mysterious and haunting look to the entire project.
- Story © 2021 Joel Fletcher
- Splatterhouse © 2010 Namco Bandai