'Anthem: Conviction' Live-Action Short From 'District 9' Director Released

The wait for BioWare’s Anthem is almost over. To tide over would-be Freelancers until the game’s release, Oscar-nominated director Neill Blomkamp has released Anthem: Conviction, a live-action short film that quickly reveals the world and setting of Anthem — decades prior to players’ arrival.

On Thursday, BioWare and Blomkamp’s Oats Studios released the full live-action short Anthem: Conviction. Totaling three minutes and 45 seconds, the short film introduces the fictional history of the new open-world shooter RPG, Anthem, which will be released on February 22 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Anthem: Conviction isn’t so much a narrative film, one with a clear beginning, middle, and end from the POV of one or few characters. Rather, it’s more like an elaborate trailer for a movie that will probably never happen, showing in live-action what players will do in the game: Hunt, explore, and (most of all) survive while flying around in dope robotic suits.

The short does partially revolve around a mysterious woman found by a few Freelancers — the bounty hunter role gamers take on in Anthem — who seems to wield more power than she realizes. What her role will be in the game remains to be seen — assuming she’s in it at all.

But the short film does demonstrate Blomkamp’s distinct directing style. As evidenced in previous films like District 9, Elysium, and Chappie (all science-fiction movies that explore the wide gaps between racial and economic divides), Blomkamp tends to use the look of realistic cinema verité.

Often associated with documentaries, cinema verité basically means lots of shaky, handheld shots that are meant to conjure a feeling of raw immediacy, as if the viewer is actually there.

And with Anthem: Conviction, Blomkamp pretty much does just that, complete with a gesture towards class conflict.

Anthem: Conviction isn’t the first time video games have used live-action movies to promote new games. Microsoft’s Halo franchise produced several live-action trailers (the full “We Are ODST” trailer for Halo 3: ODST is a particular favorite of mine). As well as Fallout 4, Assassin’s Creed, Dying Light, Destiny (and its sequel Destiny 2), and Far Cry 3.

And Anthem developers BioWare have produced live-action commercials for its games, including 2012’s Mass Effect 3 and the web series Dragon Age: Redemption starring Felicia Day.

Anthem: Convcition is available now to watch at the top of this page. Anthem will be released for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on Februrary 22.

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