Level: Airship
Level: Blackwall Yard
Level: Embankment
Level: Catacombs

Chapter 9: An Uneasy Alliance

Section  1 |  2  | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11


Timeline of the level
  • Galahad and Lakshmi arrive via tunnel

  • They use scaffolding to reach street level

  • Lakshmi climbs over a gate; they get separated

  • Galahad takes out the sniper threatening Lakshmi

  • Galahad protects and reunites with Lakshmi

  • They cross through a ship under construction

  • They finally reach the shipping warehouse

  • Lakshmi reveals the vampires in UIC crates

  • They set fire to the warehouse

  • The warehouse burns; they battle UIC and Lycans


 
Transitions in & out of cinematics

In a game as cinematic-heavy as The Order, it was crucial to find ways of entering and exiting these scenes smoothly.  In essence, we wanted them to feel integrated into the gameplay rather than representing a different sort of experience, the way some other games treat them.

Our team developed technology to blend seamlessly into an animated sequence, but sometimes that's not what the "filmic" presentation of the moment called for. In these instances, we tried to always "camera cut on player action"—to start a sequence only when the player gave permission by some sort of controller input.

(Whenever possible, the player should sense that this is about to occur.  However, here's a good example of one where that's not the case.  But Galahad pulling himself up partly before and partly after the cut lets our brains stitch this together into a continuous action.)





As a bonus, this cutscene lets the developers quietly slip in a "back-gate" (as explained in Section 1 ).  The player's attention is so focused on the tasks ahead that they're unlikely to realize that they're unable to drop back down into the pit the way they came!

It's equally important—though usually much easier to achieve—that a cinematic end smoothly, yet also clearly so the player is sure to understand when control of his character has been returned.  It's a delicate balance when our movement- and combat-camera systems present so cinematically, like this:



One of the best moments for our team during development was watching players experience our first hands-on demo, where the opening cinematic transitioned so seamlessly into gameplay that many didn't notice that control was returned to them;  they were so immersed in the visuals and narrative that it took a few seconds to realize that the gameplay had begun (and their character was standing idle in the middle of a tense firefight)!



Timeline of the level
  • Galahad and Lakshmi arrive via tunnel

  • They use scaffolding to reach street level

  • Lakshmi climbs over a gate; they get separated

  • Galahad takes out the sniper threatening Lakshmi

  • Galahad protects and reunites with Lakshmi

  • They cross through a ship under construction

  • They finally reach the shipping warehouse

  • Lakshmi reveals the vampires in UIC crates

  • They set fire to the warehouse

  • The warehouse burns; they battle UIC and Lycans


 
Gradually taking control

Some of the most impressive transitions into cinematics don't take control away from the player all at once.  These are key to achieving the "filmic" presentation that was our driving principle:  blending into or out of a cinematic in such a way that one feels to the player like an extension of the other.

Here, Lakshmi moves ahead and waits for the player to approach, urging him from time to time to join her.  As the player moves close, his character is eased into a custom "sidle" between two carts, where the only possible direction of movement is forward.  The player still retains some control:  he can move forward or stay still at his pleasure.  But the process of relinquishing control has begun with the player's (implied) consent.

Once in this mode, a full cut into a cinematic feels inevitable—the player understands that his attention is being focused toward some imminent moment of importance!







Section  1 |  2  | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11