Aardman Studios, the Bristol-based stop motion animators most famously known for Wallace and Gromit, has jumped in to the business of making video games. Its first title, developed in collaboration with Digixart and Bandai Namco, is a painterly World War One-set narrative adventure called 11-11: Memories Retold, releasing on PC, PS4, and Xbox One later this year.
But, for the game development branch of Nick Park’s world famous creation house, 11-11: Memories Retold could just be the beginning. In a recent interview with Official Xbox Magazine, Aardman Digital’s Creative Director Dan Efergan suggested that a fully stop motion animated video game is absolutely on the cards for the studio.
“For Aardman, definitely somewhere in our future is a stop motion video game, you know, by using the principles and techniques of stop motion as much as possible” explained Effergan, when asked about whether the team ever considering building 11-11: Memories Retold using its traditional animation style, which deliberately runs at 12 frames per second to achieve its watercolour aesthetic in motion.
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“We soon realised that it would have needed to have been considered from the beginning. Trying to get motion capture and 12 frames per second is a complexity we couldn’t overcome given the time. In traditional stop motion animation, each frame is carefully considered, so where things impact, where things move. They pick the most important frames. So us just cutting out half the frames from a motion capture session didn’t make it feel very good. We did some tests, but that’s as close as it got.”
Stop motion animated games like Armikrog and Harold Halibut already exist, but one made with the resources and heritage of Aardman itself, king of the form, is a thrilling prospect indeed. But stop motion animation is an infamously laborious and slow going process, which I’m sure is only made more complicated when you throw interactivity into the mix, so don’t expect such a title anytime soon. Instead, Effergan’s comments are a promising tease for the future, something that any Aardman fan, game player or not, should be excited for. In short, watch this space.