Wes Anderson, eat your heart out. Everything in the new story trailer for adventure game Harold Halibut is rendered in real time in Unity. Bonkers, how closely Harold Halibut hews to the look of stop motion film. Everything looks like it’s made of real materials, be it wood or clay or fabric, and lit convincingly. It’s truly impressive. But streamlining the traditional stop motion stuff doesn’t mean the designers get to skip the model-making bit.
Every scene, doll, and prop are first made by hand, then scanned into Unity through videogame development magics. Then they’re touched up, animated, and treated with varying shaders and lights to finish the illusion. Harold Halibut is clearly a huge, handmade endeavor, even if the final product is pure polygons.
The result is almost a little too Anderson adjacent for my tastes (more of a Shivering Truth person myself), but I’m still mega impressed with how convincing the effect is here. I didn’t even know the scenes were rendered until I noticed some clothing clipping ever so slightly into a character’s torso.
Story is the focus in this trailer, even though all power was shunted to my eyes the first few viewings. If you still can’t manage to give your ears a moment, here’s the gist: In Harold Halibut, the remnants of humanity head out on a space-faring ark chartered towards a new home planet only to find it has no habitable landmass and a toxic atmosphere. Welp. As Harold, you wander the massive ship and talk to folks content with life in an alien sea and those still hopeful to find a way out.
Extreme situations make for extreme human behavior. I’m curious to see if the characters live up to the premise, and whether there’s much play in Harold Halibut or just walking and talking and gawking. Either way, I’m jazzed to see Harold Halibut still kicking. I remember playing a very early version a few years back at Day of the Devs, but when its 2017 Kickstarter failed I figured it was done for. There’s no release date attached to the trailer, but things look like they’re shaping up. Let’s hope we can play it soon.
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