You wouldn’t think that Fortnite would be the place you go to if you wanted to see hot millennial versions of the classic Universal Monsters, but anything’s possible in 2021. For the holiday season, the popular battle royale is holding a festival dubbed “Shortnitemares” featuring a short form miniseries called “We Will Be Monsters” that’ll try what the Dark Universe failed to do and modernize those classic monsters for a new audience.
The setup is, the Bride of Frankenstein will be trotting around the globe and saving monsters like the Mummy and Dracula from untimely ends. From there, they’ll...who knows, maybe Jekyll will be the ultimate big bad. Directed by Rick Famuyiwa of The Mandalorian (and one of several ex-helmers of the Flash movie), the first episode has already dropped in Fortnite, and here’s a trailer giving a short glimpse of what you can expect. The remaining three shorts will hit in early 2022.
It all sounds utterly ridiculous, but maybe there’ll be some fun in watching these YA versions of the characters use their supernatural powers and spout off one-liners. Whatever it ends up being, the tech behind it is certainly impressive: Epic’s Metahuman creator tool was used to bring the characters to photorealistic life, and the entire project was made in collaboration with animation vendor Plastic Wax using the Unreal engine. In the video below, Wax founder Nathan Maddams and Universal character designer go into the making of the series—which he describes as a mix of heist movies and Shaw brothers films, for you martial arts fans.
Deciding on the series’ look was being done alongside the project’s eight-month timeframe, and he admitted that Metahuman sped up the visualization process pretty quickly. As a character designer for Universal, Mark McCreery found himself able to nail the final look of character designs within a day. “I’m used to digital tools upping the game,” McCreery said, “but using Unreal engine ramped everything up to a level I hadn’t experienced before.”
Silly as it sounds, the short films were also seen as a way to do right by the Bride of Frankenstein, who only showed up in the original film for three minutes. McCreery considered the short films as the perfect opportunity to explore her since the films hadn’t been able to do so, since the attempted film about her is now in some kind of limbo. “To make her the hero and impetus for this whole adventure and empowering her was so appropriate,” he said. (Per Addams, she’s actually six Metahuman heads spliced together and imported back to Unreal.)
Deciding on the series’ look was being done alongside the project’s progression, and he admitted that Metahuman sped up the visualization process pretty quickly. (Bride of Frankenstein is actually six Metahuman heads spliced together and imported back to Unreal.) As a character designer for Universal, Mark McCreery found himself able to nail the final look of character designs within a day. “I’m used to digital tools upping the game,” McCreery said, “but using Unreal engine ramped everything up to a level I hadn’t experienced before.”
The entire video mostly functions as a selling point for Unreal and Metahumans in particular, and will surely interest those interested in tech or animation. Who knows if the shorts themselves will end up being anything more than a cute distraction, but at the very least, it’s a solid showcase for Epic’s tech that’ll soon be gracing consoles and PC games over the next couple of years. Well, that and the eventual Fornite original series about the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
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