Exopolis: Xbox “Experience Welcoming Animation”

I play a lot of Xbox. To be more specific, I play a ton of Halo 3. Anyways, today the New Xbox Experience launches giving the players more enjoyment out of their online experience. It also gives them one of the coolest welcoming animations I have seen in quite some time.

Exopolis worked directly with the Xbox team to bring us a smorgasbord of visuals from shiny orbs to phantom race cars. I caught up with the director, Magnus Hierta, so he could give us a little more insight on the project.

So how stoked were you to find out you’d be working on the welcoming animation for the New Xbox Experience?

Honestly, when we found out what the project was and who it was for we couldn’t stop grinning. The project brief (despite how it actually said it) basically read like this: Make something rad and have fun and kinda try and stay on brand with some of the colors and stuff…

So, yeah, it was akin to the experience a 7 year old would have if they were allowed free reign of a candy store. I mean, we’re basically locked in to something like 14 million viewers and that’s just a projection based on the number of Xbox owners out there.

If people like it and decide to show their friends, they will be able to navigate to it through the new interface and play it again. How can any artist / designer not get a kick out of that amount of distribution? It’s pretty satisfying right of the bat and consequently those factors were the largest driving force behind our sustained energy through the project.

Awesome! What was the process of working directly with Mircrosoft Xbox like? Did you have to run the design by Bill Gates?

Haha. Yeah, didn’t you know that since he basically owns the world even Microsoft has to clear things with him?

Working with Xbox directly was actually a really harmonious and pleasant experience. Jeff and Tobias were great clients and were really onboard with our creative vision from the beginning. They came down to LA for the duration of the project and we basically had a charrette type of experience with them.

How did the concept develop and what was the process like to bring it to life?

We had a daily meeting in the evening where we would go over the day’s progress and development. We had a lot of fun and the meetings would often extensively cover other interesting material in the advertising and gaming worlds where we would just be hashing out ideas with each other. It was great fun.

Xbox had some initial thoughts about the concept which involved some sort of representation of the different gaming genres. We then took each genre and distilled it down it’s essential idea. From there we used these basic principles to mold a story line.

So what’s your favorite Xbox game?

We finished Burnout during the final rendering stage of the project. For some reason it’s all we played. It was fun because the clients brought one of 10 Xboxes that had the new software installed and we got to play around with it during the project.

It really shows in the piece that they enjoyed working on it. As with most productions, there was plenty of midnight oil burned in the process. Congrats on the beautiful work! I hope to see more from Exopolis soon.


About the author

Brian is a designer, drawer, director, and dad based in the perpetually weird city of Austin, Texas.



Its pretty cool but i think i prefer the subtlety of the PS3 intros – just a sexy, simple, gentle intro thats fast… no waiting around for the cool animation to finish


I think your confused. This is a 1 time opening. It only appears when you update the system to the NXE(New Xbox Experience) on Nov 19th. You do have the option though to go and replay it anytime you want.

After that you have a normal 5 second logo opening that goes straight to the dashboard.


Very impressive! Nice work and nice post!


Just updated my Xbox to see this amazing intro. Also MarkHawk maybe correct and may not be correct. After I updated I watched the video, of coarse, but when you get the new menu, there is an option to “REPLAY INTRO” but i don’t know how long it will be available. Good thing the link is on this site, so you can watch it anytime.

Josie K

Not to be a hater, but all in all I didn’t think this intro was all that great. The elements by themselfes are pretty nice, but combined they seem like every artist on this project did his/her part and it was just thrown together in the end.
It’s just lacking a good concept.


i was thinking the same thing…


So does everything have to have a great concept? I can point out many spots/animations that don’t have the slightest concept. Take for instance the Pause titles. They are beautiful but is there a concept behind that? I think saying a piece has no concept for the most part has no merit. Think of who they are targeting. Gamers. The concept to appeal to gamers in 10 seconds is throw as much cool shit at them as you can. Exopolis did that and did it well in my opinion.


I agree. As far as I can see, the target audience for this piece would of wet there pants.

But i guess i’m not part of that target audience.. so its hard for me to give it too much praise.

Very well executed though.


concept has nothing to do with the elements not working together. if they did work together better, i’d be the first in line to say screw concept, it looks good.
on the other hand, a good concept can save a piece that doesn’t visually look that great.
in this case, i’d say the concept is pretty week, and the elements dont look like they’re from the same world… with some decent treatment they could have worked better, but they didn’t really treat anything. each individual element feels so isolated from everything else…
it just doesn’t feel “finished” to me.

Josie K

Yeah, concept was maybe a bad word. Like I said, the different elements are cool, but they don’t mix very well.
If a spot looks nice there doesn’t have to be a brilliant idea behind it, I agree, but the all in all look and feel should be constant.
Again, I don’t want to offend anyone who worked on this project. For my personal taste there were just to many different styles included.


great colors though :)


Sick! Go Magnus! Happy Birthday!

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