Black Ops III live action trailer celebrates our inner soldiers

Activision launched a live-action piece of its Black Ops III marketing campaign that champions the "soldier in all of us."
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With the worldwide launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops III right around the corner, Activision stepped up their marketing game with a live action promotional trailer in the United States. The new trailer, a.k.a. “Seize Glory,” released during Sunday football on November 1st. The campaign celebrates fans as well as the prime Call of Duty premise that “there’s a soldier in all of us”.

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Meet Kevin

Kevin, played by Thomas Polk, walks onto the desolate scene as our hero and a prime representative of the everyday gamer. However, Kevin takes his experience further, finding the secrets to success and optimizing his skills to become a king within the game, complete with personal narrator.

He’s just happy to be here, man.

Name dropping

Wayne McClammy directed the trailer. In addition, the promotion featured:

  • Michael B. Jordan from Creed, Fantastic Four, and Fruitvale Station
  • Cara Delevingne from Suicide Squad, Paper Towns, and Valerian
  • Marshawn Lynch, running back for the Seattle Seahawks

Tim Ellis, CMO of Activision Publishing, weighed in to describe the goal and feel of the trailer:

“The Black Ops series is beloved by millions of fans, who have continued to make it the most played series in Call of Duty®. This year, the high-profile release of Black Ops III is a pop culture moment for fans to come together and celebrate around the globe. ‘Seize Glory’ captures that feeling of exhilaration and accomplishment in which anyone can go on an amazing run and become his or her own champion in Call of Duty. This campaign celebrates our community and the unforgettable gameplay moments they’ll experience in Black Ops III.”

Activision didn’t mess around with this highly fan-oriented intent. Deon Bebe, an Academy Award winning director of photography, and Darrin Prescott, renowned stunt coordinator, joined the trailer’s team to combine a sense of realism with a distinctly cinematic feel. Each moment counted with a majority of the minute and forty seconds shot practically, or without visual effects. 

Creative direction for the entire marketing campaign was influenced by 72andSunny, an LA and Amsterdam based agency, through their collaboration with Activision. The campaign promises more fun beyond this trailer as Activision throws substantial support behind a TV, digital, and outdoor advertising campaign that will run around the globe.

Solider-making movie magic

The promotion took five days of filming in Southern California, where the marketing team utilized an abandoned mall. This location and its authentic, natural decay had much to do with the lack of visual effects necessary to set the proper scene. The impression of destruction was wholly realistic.

The portrayal of Kevin benefited from Thomas Polk’s stunt performance, including wire work. Kevin encounters enemies straight from Black Ops III for a high-action shoot, from futuristic robotic soldiers to the series’ trademark zombies. This inclusion acknowledges a key staple for the franchise as well as hinting at the new installments improvements. Black Ops III will include the “Shadows of Evil” adventure, inspired by 1940s film-noir and advertised as the “deepest Zombies experience to date.”

The showcase of Kevin’s game mastery also demonstrates the game’s multiplayer experience as he dramatically shows up a fellow gamer, annihilating enemies before the second player can even think to fire his own weapon. Kevin truly epitomizes Activision’s rewarding multiplayer dynamic where “players move fluidly through custom-built environments with finesse, all while maintaining complete control over their weapon at all times.”

Dropping guns like they’re mics.

Male fans aren’t the only players championed in the promotion. Before fans can jump at the lack of solid female representation, the trailer treats audiences to the demise of Kevin and the rise of a new queen of Call of Duty. This queen sports a robotic arm, exemplifying the new game’s cybernetic enhancements for a fresh breed of soldiers. Sorry, Kevin!

Call of Duty: Black Ops III launches worldwide on Friday, November 6th for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions will not include a co-op or single-player campaign game mode.

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Gabriella Graham
Literature nerd. RPG addict. Part-time stealer of souls ("ginger"). A girl with big city dreams aimed at writing for the gaming industry and letting her stories blindingly shine. She also wouldn't mind riding a dragon one day.