I’m not a fan of machinima – what little I have seen has a tendency to consist of crude jokes and internet memes filmed in the medium of Half-Life and Halo. But this week, however, someone brought my attention to something that completely changed my outlook on what combining filming and gaming can do.
Created by Ian Chisholm, Clear Skies is a ground-breaking machinima created by slamming Half-Life 2 and Eve Online together to form a beautiful sci-fi drama. Started back in 2008, (meaning I’m probably the last person on the planet to hear about it), the series clocks in at three parts, each over 45 minutes long, and follows the adventures of John Rourke and his misfit crew as they desperately try to eke out a living against the harsh backdrop of Eve’s cut-throat galaxy.
With few credits to their name and constant bills to pay, the crew of the Clear Skies are forced to take on often dangerously suicidal missions just to stay afloat, yet despite all this, the crew’s dark sense of humour and optimistic outlook keep them soldiering on, even when staring death in the face.
The execution of the series is a work of art. Featuring motion-captured animation, you’ll very quickly forget you’re watching a film consisting of game footage. Whilst the first episode is extraordinary in itself, the quality and production values of the series just get better and better with time, and by the third episode, you’ll be enthralled.
Despite its groundings in the Eve universe, the series is fully accessible to anyone. You may trip over a few in-jokes aimed at the Eve crowd, but if you’re the kind of person who still hasn’t gotten over the cancellation of Firefly, you’ll still find a great series in Clear Skies.
You can download all three episodes of Clear Skies from Ian’s website here, or catch them on Youtube on the links below: