Joseph Kosinski: Gears of War


The new Gears of War trailer is noteworthy for several reasons. One, it’s directed by one of my favorite CG-centric filmmakers, Joseph Kosinski, formerly of KDLAB.

Two, although some of the visuals are probably what you’d expect for a shoot ’em up action game, the soundtrack isn’t. Gary Jules’ hauntingly beautiful “Mad World” (which you may recognize from the Donnie Darko soundtrack) is a daring choice. Some may not like it, but I think it’s super.

Three, according to the short blurb on Kosinski’s site, the spot was “created entirely within the Unreal 3 Game Engine.” I remember reading about the Unreal 3 engine over two years ago when it was still in development and being astounded by it then. I had no idea it was capable of this kind of graphical beauty, though. It’s a testament to the power of the Xbox 360. (Despite that, I’m holding out for a Wii.)

Big thanks to Mark Mitchell for the tip.

About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



Definitely agree that “Mad Worldâ€Â? was an excellent choice for the music and the fact that it’s the only sound in the clip. Kudos to whoever had the balls argue this decision through (I can imagine it might have come across some opposition – not exactly your normal choice).


I think it was awkward, but probably because I feel like it would’ve been better if there was a good amount of sound design in it, and if Michel Gondry’s video wasn’t so damn good.


the absence of any sound design makes you focus on what the spot is truly about, the power of the unreal engine, the music is there to add a level of irony of the situation, where the guy is there is no other place he would rather be.

perfect. spot on.


I’ve always loved atypical sound implementation. This one is a balsy move. Its encouraging to me to stand up for my “screwy music”.


I personally don’t think the absence of sound design works here in this case. I don’t feel that it makes me focus on anything but either the song, or the video, when the two should work hand-in-hand. Again, it’s probably because I associate this sound with the Michel Gondry video.

But more than that, I believe it would work better with sound for one main reason: there’s a lot of ‘pain’ in the video.

The hero is a lone soldier. I just don’t feel any agony or pain without feeling encapsulated in the scene, especially because the music drags onto the XBox logo as well.

Anyways, just my two cents.


I work at GameSpot, this vid has been a big topic of discussion here over the past week, so obviously it’s pretty effective marketing.

Personally, as much as I love that song and am looking forward to that game, I really feel like this trailer is way too melodramatic.


wow. that was a great trailer. I had no idea video that engine looked that good either.

only thing I didn’t like was the “jump in” at the end. What a mood killer. I’m sure that was a corporate thing…


I liked this formula more used in the Grand Theft Auto Vice City trailer with the song “I Ran (So Far Away)” by Flock of Seagulls. That was evocative of the 80’s feel of the game.

I agree it’s too melodramatic for a game that seems to just be about twitch reflexes and blowing shit up in different ways. Makes me want to roll my eyes at it. but meh I’m grouchy…


I’m looking forward to this game and think this commercial is stunning and makes me want to play it that much more.


Any idea what Vfx house did this ?


Mad World has a depressed and hopeless emotion and works beautifully with the lone soldier meeting his end when everything else is lost.

I’m fairly sure digital domain produced this trailer.


Wow, we’re in 2010, and it’s the first time I see this trailer. Thank god, it’s Gary Jules cover and not the Tears for Fears one. That would have made no sense.

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