Below are a pair of gaming cinematics I've written: the first one as part of a writing exercise, the second one was a revision I worked on for Guild Wars 2. 

 

FADE IN

NIGHT – PERFECT PLANET RELIEF CAMP OUTSKIRTS

Next to a burning kerosene lantern, KARA sits on a small patch of dirt, looking up at the night sky with a solemn look. As she clutches the artifact she took from the last holy site, she’s lost in her thoughts until she hears the squealing of a little girl.

KARA’S POV – WIDE SHOT – RELIEF CAMP PROPER

Amid the throngs in the relief camp, we see a little girl running to a man we assume is her father. They embrace with an overwhelming sense of joy and relief.

CUT TO – TIGHT SHOT - KARA

We see KARA’S reaction. She flinches and looks away. Something about the joyful reunion haunts her.

Over her shoulder, DAVID, the doctor who treated KARA earlier, steps out of the darkness. The hot evening winds blow his scrubs against his thin frame. He pushes his wire-rimmed glasses to the bridge of his nose and nods.

DAVID
Tonight is a good night. Not everyone gets a happy reunion in the camps.

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT – KARA AND DAVID

KARA snaps her head over to DAVID as she compacts herself as a startled feral cat would. David gestures to the patch of earth next to KARA.

DAVID
May I?

KARA shrugs. She’s cool to him.
 

KARA
Can’t exactly say no. This is your camp, right?
 

DAVID
I get the feeling you’ve had to say no to a number of things in your life.

 

A moment, then KARA gives an accommodating wave to the patch next to her. DAVID slowly sits, maintaining a respectful distance.

KARA
Come to check on me, doctor?


DAVID
Oh, I’m not a doctor right now. Just someone enjoying the night.
Got to take in moments like these when you can.

A beat. KARA and DAVID share a moment of quiet. So quiet we can hear the hiss of the lantern.

DAVID
I have a secret, you know. Some might call it a magical power.

KARA gives him a suspicious side eye. DAVID leans in.

DAVID
(Dramatic whisper)
I bet I can guess what you are thinking.

KARA leans back as if DAVID is a lunatic. A beat.

KARA
Will you leave when you lose?

DAVID
I never lose. But when I win…

DAVID produces two sealed MREs.

DAVID
…You will have dinner with me.

KARA raises an eyebrow.

KARA
Is this your attempt to make sure I eat?

DAVID
I don’t want to put you on a drip bag again, Kara. I know you can eat.
And I’d be a bad doctor if didn’t have a patient eat if they could eat.

KARA turns away.

KARA
I thought you said you weren’t a doctor right now.

DAVID
Oh, oh. She speaks in a direct sentence and not a question.
She will be a wily opponent.

KARA turns, looking DAVID. She has an intense look on her face.

KARA
But you’ll leave if I win.

DAVID smiles.

DAVID
I promise you, I won’t lose.

KARA isn’t having it, but shrugs. She looks back into the distant tapestry of humanity that is the refugee camp.

KARA
Go ahead. Read my mind.

DAVID furrows his brow comically, acting like he’s reading KARA’s mind, as if he’s a fortune teller.

DAVID
Wait. Wait. I’m getting something.

DAVID’S face twists into mock surprise.
 

DAVID
You’re wondering how a man like
me has such a way with women.

KARA is incredulous. She turns back, stony.
 

KARA
No.

DAVID
Yes, you are. Here you are, alive, in one piece, and enjoying
a nice night with a charming young doctor. How lucky am I,
you say to yourself. Oh, I’d like to bring him home to dad.
 

KARA’S face darkens. DAVID notices this and recovers.

DAVID
Ah, but now you are thinking about how miss your family. Perhaps
your friends, too. You wonder how you got so far away from
those things you hold dear.

KARA looks away from DAVID. Her face is open and pained.

DAVID
Posh white girls don’t show up at camps like these
every day. You took a wrong turn, I believe.

KARA
Feels like I’ve lost about everything, but I know that’s not right…or fair.
I see the people here. They’ve lost everything, and I know the people who drove
them from their homes. And I can’t stop them. I just get hurt. I get other people hurt.

DAVID
This camp? Everything? It’s all your fault? That’s a lot of weight on your shoulders.

KARA
I wouldn’t be surprised. I don’t have the best luck in the world lately.

DAVID nods. He stretches out and looks at the stars.

DAVID
You and me, both. Knew this beautiful young woman from America. We worked
in the camps for six months. We ended up having the same shifts for everything.
Hospital, food breaks, triage. In time, we got to know one another. First, as friends.
Then…well, you know. (pause) Didn’t last.

KARA
Let me guess. She left you for another man?

DAVID
She left me for a plague.

 

KARA
(turning back, surprised?)
What?
              

DAVID
Immunologist from America, she was. Studying diseases. Apparently there
was this outbreak in Chad. One day, she came into my tent and said,
“It’s not you. It’s Marburg,” and she walked out my life forever.
I can’t compete with something as sexy as hemorrhagic fever,
you know.

 

A small smile creeps over KARA’S face. For the first time in ages, she laughs. It’s a small cough of a laugh, but it’s there.

KARA
(laughs)
That's not funny.

 

DAVID
(jovial) 
No, it really isn’t. Actually, this other girl I knew, she went off
to the convent. I guess I got dumped for God.
                       

KARA
So I’m a rebound?

DAVID
Oh God, I don’t date my patients. Just have dinner with them once in a while.
Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to talk to one under the stars. If fortune shines on
me, we don’t talk about blood-borne diseases. We enjoy our meal and look
forward to the next day.

DAVID and KARA sit for a moment. Another beat. We hear faint singing and pleasant human sounds from the camp.

DAVID  
(pondering) 
You know, I don’t think I have a way with women.

KARA gives DAVID a smile.

KARA
You could have fooled me.

DAVID opens his MRE and begins to eat. KARA watches him for a moment and takes the other MRE. She opens it and begins to eat. The two eat in silence, occasionally stealing glances at one another.

FADE OUT

---

(note: you can final version of the following cinematic here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRUvqgz53c0)

CINEMATIC FADE IN

MEDIUM SHOT – THE RUINS OF OLD ASCALON - NOW

We stand at the opening of ancient catacombs, once part of the thriving human city of Ascalon. It was her--hundreds of years ago--one of the greatest and bloodiest battles in all of Tyria’s history took place here. Now, it is all something dark and foreboding. The dead rule here, and the dead are angry at any and all who trespass into this city-turned-mass grave.

We meet the towering, growling figure of the Charr Blood Legion Tribune (think US Army general) RYTLOCK BRIMSTONE standing at eight feet tall, covered in fur and armor, and wielding his legendary flame sword, SOHOTHIN. He sneers as he sees you, expecting someone else to arrive for a coming battle.

ANIMATION – RYTLOCK BRIMSTONE

RYTLOCK 
(shaking his head) 
You're the reinforcements? You'll have to do. That fool
norn Eir has stirred up the ghosts down here.

As RYTLOCK talks, we move into a series of animated paintings.

TRANSITION TO MEDIUM SHOT – ASCALON CAVERNS - NOW

We see EIR, a norn (Think Nordic Amazon), with her hunting wolf, GARM, by her side. They are in old caverns with passages that seem to stretch back forever into a consuming darkness. Around her, sinister shadows with armor and weapons materialize around her.

RYTLOCK
(O.S.) 

(taciturn and snarling) 
Let me brief you. This place has a history, and I don't want your
ignorance getting us killed.

As RYTLOCK continues, we transition from EIR and GARM surrounded by ghosts to an angry charr face looming out and slowing zooming toward us. The eyes of the charr glow red.

RYTLOCK
(O.S.)
 
This was originally charr land. The humans pushed us out and built Ascalon
on top of it. Over two hundred years ago, we took our lands back.

As RYTLOCK continues, the charr face becomes engulfed in flames.

TRANSITION TO LONG SHOT – ASCALON VILLAGE – HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO - NIGHT

We swoop down to see burning villages lighting up the night in fury of war.

TRANSITION TO TIGHT SHOT – ASCALON BATTLEFIELD – HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO

We hear clanging metal, arrows rushing through the air, battle shouts. Charr and human armies clashing with steel and fire. Arrows fly through the air. Warriors fall, either by arrows, impaled on spears, or from an enemy’s blade.

TRANSITION TO WIDE SHOT – ASCALON CITY – HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO – NIGHT

We see human warriors fighting off charr in the foreground. In the background, we see the rising walls of ASCALON CITY, home to humanity and the throne of its king. We zoom toward the impressive KING’S TOWER looming at the center of ASCALON CITY.

TRANSITION TO CLOSE-UP SHOT – ASCALON CITY MAIN GATE – HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO

From the POV of KING’S TOWER, we see the gates of ASCALON CITY explode in fire. Charr warriors stream into the city in a number beyond counting. 

RYTLOCK
(O.S.)

The human king, Adelbern, watched his soldiers panic as we breached the city gates.

Pulling back we see in the foreground an old human man in armor wearing a crown and bearing the regal sword, MAGDAER. He is KING ADELBERN OF ASCALON.

TRANSITION TO MEDIUM SHOT – KING’S TOWER TOP – HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO

RYTLOCK
(O.S.)

Facing certain defeat, the doomed king refused to surrender.

SNAP ZOOM TO CLOSE-UP ON ADELBERN’S FACE

ADELBERN now, his face grim, his fist clenched. He stands on a battlement, overseeing the battle below. We zoom to ADELBERN’S face. ADELBERN’S eyes glow with a powerful magic.

ADELBERN
Retreat? Retreat is not an option!

TRANSITION TO MEDIUM SHOT – KING’S TOWER TOP – HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO

With both hands, ADELBERN raises MAGDAER over his head, pointing the blade downward. ADELBERN jams MAGDAER into the battlement, causing a massive blast of magic.

RYTLOCK
(O.S.)

Adelebern smashed his ancient blade Magdaer, and cursed Ascalon.

TRANSITION TO WIDE SHOT – ASCALON CITY – HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO

As RYTLOCK talks we see a bird’s eye view of the great ringed city of ASCALON and the surrounding land. From the center, there is a flash of light, followed by fire. The magical explosion radiated fire and light in all directions in a horrific apocalyptic ripple of energy.

TRANSITION TO MEDIUM SHOT – ASCALON BATTLEFIELD – HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO

We return to the battlefield and see a LONE HUMAN SOLDIER trying to outrun the blast wave. It strikes him (and us) in a blindness wall of magic.

ADELBERN
(O.S.)

Cowards! You will not abandon me!
 
RYTLOCK (O.S.)
The blast incinerated the attacking legions and turned the defending
humans into vengeful spirits.

As RYTLOCK continues, the light fades. The body of the human warrior falls, but in its place rises a ghostly, sickly imitation of the fallen warrior.

TRANSITION TO MEDIUM SHOT – LITTERED ASCALON BATTLEFIELD – HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO

We see a battle-broken plot of land. Corpses and banners and weapons strewn everywhere, the sky choked with smoke. Across the battlefield, more warrior spirits rise until they populate the battlefield with an eternal vengeance.

ADELBERN
(O.S.) 

We will never surrender! Never!

 RYTLOCK
(O.S.)

The ghosts see the living as invaders. They show no mercy and no
weariness—only blind hatred. Adelbern's hatred.

TRANSITION BACK TO ANIMATION – RYTLOCK BRIMSTONE - MEDIUM SHOT – THE RUINS OF OLD ASCALON - NOW

RYTLOCK
And now Eir's gone right into the dead king's lair. What a mess.

RYTLOCK shakes his head and clenches a fist. He produces his flaming sword. He is ready for battle. He addresses us.

RYTLOCK
We're going after her. She's causing trouble, and I don't want anyone dying
because of her foolishness.

FADE OUT

 

Posted
AuthorJohn Ryan