The latest footage promoting Battlefield 3 brings shakycam to modern warfare.
David Goldfarb and the rest of the team at DICE want to bring as much realism as possible to the military shooter sub-genre. In modern cinema, depicting realism has become synonymous with a camera technique that eschews a steady hand for a more frenetic view. The so-called shaky-cam was first used by French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard in Breathless in 1960. The technique didn’t see widespread usage in Hollywood until it was popularized by Evil Dead director Sam Raimi. Spielberg used shaky-cam to great effect in the opening of Spielberg’s war epic Saving Private Ryan and Paul Greengrass has kept it modern with the Jason Bourne films.
Games haven’t delved heavily into using the technique graphically – Kane & Lynch 2 is the notable exception but that game suffered from other problems. Battlefield 3 may not embrace shaky-cam in all of its gameplay, but the technique is certainly apparent in the latest teaser trailer called Guillotine, complete with lens flares and encoding artifacts, to make the player feel like they are looking through a soldier’s camera.
The trailer is preceded by the declaration that “The following is actual in-game footage.” Recognizing that many viewers may think that the Guillotine trailer only showed cinematics, DICE and EA wanted to make sure we knew that this was what Battlefield 3 looks like when it’s being played.
I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of realistic military shooters – I’m more partial to sci-fi stories than “Hoo rah” – but I respect DICE for adopting cinematic techniques for Battlefield 3‘s visual representation of war.
Now I’m looking forward to Steve Butts review of the game even more. If he gives it a thumbs up, I may have to bite the bullet and pick up this game.