'Deep' Undersea Adventure with 'Portal' Tech for Director Shane Acker
by Ben Pearson
June 11, 2012
Last year, filmmaker Dan Trachtenberg took the internet by storm with his short film Portal: No Escape. It turned Valve's popular video game into live action, and the results were fantastic. Now the company is teaming with 9 director Shane Acker to help develop new technology for an animated film this time, an apocalyptic undersea adventure called Deep that uses their video game engine to render environments and characters to ultimately save a ton of time and money while making a full-length feature. Plus, since it's being developed through a game engine, it's easier to adapt into a playable game once the film is completed.
Evoking the feel of an underwater western, Deep takes place after humanity has moved below the water to escape nuclear fallout. The crew of the Norwood, a nuclear submarine, must find out the truth about the Wayfarers, a splinter group with the potential to entirely wipe out humanity. The technology sounds similar to the way Steven Spielberg shot The Adventures of Tintin, with the camera being easily manipulated in a digital world instead of having real-life physical limitations on where you can put it.
And while most video games based on movies are almost universally terrible, since this one is actually being developed using the same exact technology as the film itself, it should be a treat for gamers once it hits shelves. I never saw Acker's 9, but the filmmaker has worked in the animation department for films like The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and the upcoming 47 Ronin, so he obviously has a tremendous amount of skill in the visual arena. Hopefully Deep can successfully blend video game technology with feature film storytelling. Thoughts?