Sniper Elite Developer Rebellion Puts Out Short Film Made Via Virtual Production

Rebellion might be best known as the developers of the Sniper Elite games. That franchise is beloved due to its gruesome kills and the fact that you can shoot Hitler in the naughty bits. But beyond making World War II-themed shooters, they also delve into visual effects and filmmaking.

Thanks to the current pandemic, film production is incredibly difficult due to the guidelines put in place to ensure the safety of both cast and crew. Yet, somehow Rebellion has managed to create a rather impressive short film with the help of advanced digital technology.

Percival is a short film made by Rebellion and directed by Hasraff Dulull, the director of 2036 Origin Unknown. To give you an idea of how close Rebellion is to this project, the main character is played by their CEO, Jason Kingsley.

What’s remarkable about this film is that it was made using high-level virtual production technology. While it was physically shot on a stage with Kingsley, the backgrounds were rendered using the Unreal Engine. This could be a major step forward for the future of film production. Having to shoot a movie outdoors can be expensive, time-consuming, and disastrous depending on the weather. So letting Unreal Engine simulate real environments without having to leave the studio could save production companies tons of time and money.

Percival’s cinematographer Eben Bolter definitely sees the potential in this technology. After working on this film with Rebellion, he stated that “the change from seeing an ambitious high concept picture finish in front of your eyes instead of after six months of post-production is not simply profound but a huge game-changer for the industry.”

As for the film itself, it’s a dialogue-free piece that consists of Kingsley playing an injured King Arthur as he stumbles through a forest. While there are moments where the scenery looks a little video game-y, it’s very realistic and you wouldn’t have guessed it was digitally constructed. It also starts with a short preamble that grimly states “King Arthur is dying. The Grail is lost. Evil rises throughout the land.” Which is a pretty depressing way to introduce your motion picture.

When it comes to their film department, Rebellion has some intriguing upcoming projects. They’re currently developing a TV series based on Judge Dredd – they also publish the comic – that’s been placed on hiatus due to the pandemic. Aside from that, they’re working with Moon and Warcraft director Duncan Jones on an adaptation of Rogue Trooper.

And in case you were worried that these productions would interfere with their ability to generate more sniper rifle-related games, then fear not. Sniper Elite VR is in development, so you’ll soon be able to shoot Hitler through the lens of your favorite VR helmet.

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