The Softer Side of Slaying

Digital Domain and director Joseph Kosinski have teamed up again for Gears of War to promote the second installment of the successful XBOX 360 title, and just like the first time around, this spot pairs an unlikely soundtrack with contemplative moments to craft a mood that is—to put it mildly—unexpected for a game about slaying bloodthirsty aliens.

Like its predecessor, “The Last Day” also leveraged the in-game graphics engine to render the visuals for this spot. It’s much richer than simple machinima, though; DD works directly with Epic Games to get the most out of the Unreal Engine and give themselves the greatest level of freedom possible. They blazed a trail in this area, beating prior king of the hill Blur to the punch. Now the approach appears to be the new standard for high-end video game promos.

The song, for those who are curious, is “How it Ends” by DeVotchKa.

Credits for: Gears of War 2 “Last Day”

Directed by: Joseph Kosinski

Agency: T.A.G. SF

Creative Directors: Scott Duchon / Geoff Edwards / John Patroulis
Art Director: Ben Wolan
Writer: Rick Herrera
Producer: Vince Genovese
Group Account Director: Peter Goldstein
Group Account Supervisor: Lyndsey Corona

Production Company: Anonymous Content

Director: Joseph Kosinski
Executive Producer: Jeff Baron
Producer: Julien Lemaitre

Animation, Editorial & Visual Effects by: DIGITAL DOMAIN, INC.

President, Commercial Division; Executive Vice President: Ed Ulbrich
Executive Producer: Karen Anderson
Visual Effects Supervisor: Vernon Wilbert
CG Supervisor: Peter Plevritis
Producer: Melanie La Rue
Digital Production Manager: Chris House
Editor: Russ Glasgow
Previs Artist: David Rosenbaum
Technical Director: Ryan Vance
Software Engineer: Nafees Bin Zafar
Character Rigger: Derek Crosby
Character Rigger: George Saavedra
Animator: Jack Kasprzak
Animator: Roy Sato
Animator: Andrew Tamandl
Lighter: Juan Gomez
Lighter: Adrian Grey
Lighter: John Lima
Lighter: Terry Naas
Lighter: Brian White
Matte Painter: Dan Thron
Nuke Compositor: Rafael Colon
Senior Flame Compositor: Pilon Lectez
Flame Compositor: Kevin Ellis

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.



finally… devotchka entering the mainstream.


Little Miss Sunshine?


right on,
but didn’t see it.


I liked it. Tugs at the heartstrings of a gamer.


meh too. wasn’t another game trailer very similar to this one, but better… was it for starcraft ii?


The video hosted here is wonky…direct link to project page:

Doesn’t have quite the same epic feel as the Mad World spot for GoW1, but still an arresting juxtaposition of moods. I would like to see these pseudo-machinima spots step up with a stronger sense of narrative.


I agree. I enjoyed this spot, just as I did the first.
But I think there needs to be a beefier narrative to match that beefy imagery..

oh and props to devotchka!


The animation is well done but it is really the music that makes it something special. Props to them to picking something gutsy.


All the ads I have seen for Gears of War have been introspective and poetic
– Mad Mad World Trailer
– Rendezvous with Death Trailer

Is this a new trend in game advertising or does this approach directly tie in with the story of the game and it’s characters?


Interesting point – the spot for Halo 3 was quite somber too.


music seems completely wrong.. and seems like there was too much of a committee involved in planning the shots.. feels more like a gimmick than inspiration.

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