Director Dan Trachtenberg signs the trailer for the action video game Warframe

Creativity, People

Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane, Black Mirror) directs a stunning new cinematic trailer for Warframe, a free-to-play cooperative action video game. Unveiled at Warframe’s own gaming convention, Tennocon, on Saturday 6th July, thenew film will act as both the trailer and the opening cinematic in the highly-anticipated updated expansion of the game.

Produced by Great Guns, the six-minute film takes viewers on a captivating journey through the game’s fantastical universe, which is set in the far future amidst a devastating war waged by militarized human clones. Through the eyes of a young woman seeking refuge from the destruction, we see her discover shrines dedicated to a race of ancient warriors. Action-packed flashbacks show the warriors performing spectacular airborne maneuvers – caught in a mixture of hyper-kinetic and glorious slo-mo in dazzling detail.

Director Dan Trachtenberg, repped globally by Great Guns, co-wrote and directed the breath-taking film, which draws on influences including Star Wars, Dune, and the films of Akira Kurosawa.

Warframe has never had an opening cinematic. Though we initially discussed making a live action one, we decided to go full CG when I expressed my excitement to work in the medium. My love for video games is equal to my love for movies, so this was a wonderful first foray into that world. I was able to storyboard this with my buddy, Brad Arnold, who is actually responsible for getting me hooked on Warframe – we’ve played the game for over 200 hours together. It was pretty amazing to unite on this project.

Dan Trachtenberg

This latest film expands Dan’s repertoire in more ways than one; in addition to being his first foray into directing video game cinematics and working in full CG, this was also the perfect opportunity to explore fresh genres and filming techniques.

The director added:

I’ve mostly worked on measured suspense movies so far, but burning inside of me has been a passion to make martial arts and action films. It was really exciting to be able to fulfil all my fantasies of capturing fun, dance-like martial arts choreography with just the right camera moves to showcase that material, whilst still feeling completely connected to the viewers’ experience. Initially, it was going to be a three-minute film, then it blossomed into six minutes. Luckily, I had an incredible producer in Sheridan from Great Guns – who has an amazing eye for detail and not only pushed me and everyone to make the best thing possible but was also completely creatively in sync with everything we wanted the film to be. So many of the wonderful moments in this have come from Sheridan or ‘Pityu’ (István Zorkóczy) over at Digic. It’s been an incredible experience and totally addictive too.

Great Guns brought animation company Digic on board to help realize the film.

“The process was fairly similar to what it would have been in live action,” he explains. “We made animatics out of our storyboards. Recording the physicality of all the motions for the lead characters in the movie, we then took the mocap and would start to animate to that. I would see bits and pieces as it came into fruition but it wasn’t fed into the game engines. We were able to use some in-game assets as a base but beyond that, everything is prerendered and fully CG cinematic.”

The film was unveiled at gaming convention, Tennocon, in Ontario, Canada, on Saturday 6th July.

Great Guns is an award-winning content and music video production hub, with a reputation for creativity and excellence. The carefully-selected roster includes international feature and TV directors, commercial directors, short film and music video directors and brilliant emerging talent. One of their key skillsets is to match talent to project, in any budget range.

Great Guns continues to perform consistently well in international awards – garnering multiple awards including D&AD, One Show, Webbys, Berlin MVAs, Creative Circle, Shots, Cannes Lions, Cristal Kinsale, and The LIA Awards. It has also been awarded Epica Production Company of the Year and LIA Europe Production Company of the Year.


Product – Warframe

Title – Shrines

Client – Digital Extremes

  • Creative Directors – Steve Sinclair, Geoff Crookes

Production Company – Great Guns

  • Director – Dan Trachtenberg
  • Producer – Sheridan Thomas
  • Executive Producers – Laura Gregory, Sheridan Thomas & Dave Kudirka
  • Writers – Steve Sinclair, Geoff Crookes, Dan Trachtenberg

CG Animation – Digic Pictures

  • CG Animation Supervisor – István Zorkóczy
  • CG Producer – Alex S. Rabb
  • CG Supervisor – Tamás Sasvári
  • CG Art Director – Lőrinc Boros
  • CG Project Manager – Attila Szenes
  • CG Animation Assistant Director – Lili Tamás
  • CG Account Team – Zsófia Balassa, Zsófia Páll, Tamás Závodszky, Zoltán Gulyás

Composer – Keith Power

Sound Supervisor – Robert Stambler

Sound Design – Matt Yocum

Sound Mixer – William Files

Grade – Cody Baker @ Company 3, Los Angeles

Additional Support (Digital Extremes): George Spanos, Mat Tremblay, Lucas Hug, Raymond Dela Cruz, Pat Kudirka

Additional Support (Great Guns): Tim Francis