Doug Chiang’s Robota

robota_trailer_iv

Robota is the pet project of Star Wars prequel concept artist Doug Chiang. As it stands currently, Robota is an “illustrated film book that’s more like an art-book than a novel”. Plans are, as I understand, to make it a computer game, hopefully eventually even a feature film.

The story revolves around a human, animal and robot civilization on the planet Orpheus. From the prologue:

About 2.1 billion years ago, life on Orpheus came to a catastrophic end.

After avoiding catastrophe with the proto-Earth for billions of years, these two planets finally collided. Orpheus was completely obliterated and the Earth was shattered. Eventually the fragments of Orpheus coalesced to form Earth’s moon, which stabilized our planet’s erratic rotation and allowed life to germinate.

Life on Earth is the legacy of the planet Orpheus.

This is a story of life on Orpheus before the collision, and of the conflict between the animal life, and the intelligent machines that sought to dominate them.

There once was a place of machines…

Since I last wrote about Robota, no less than two new teaser trailers have appeared, both equally interesting.

Teaser III, entitled “Hunted”, follows two robots that could be bounty hunters, chasing a woman through an old forest. This gives us our very first glimpse at how humans will look in Robota. Since I saw the failure in Enki Bilal’s otherwise magnificent “Immortel“, I’ve been worried about the mix of great looking CG robots and plastic-looking CG people. Fortunately, closeups show real actors, leaving the CG to action scenes, just like most other Hollywood movies do.

Teaser IV follows three robots battling in an arena. Compared to the second and third teaser, this trailer seems much more like a “proof-of-concept” reel that shows how a fight could take place in a computer game. Still, it looks great, and I don’t mind it, especially if it’ll result in a feature film.

I’ve always thought the best thing about Star Wars, was the universe in which great spin-off games could be placed. I like the idea that Robota focuses more on having a saturated deep universe for myriads of stories to take place in, rather than have the universe be created around the story. I actually think that Robota – The Game, might become all that which Uru – Ages Beyond Myst tried to become, but failed in.

  • View Robota Teaser Trailer IV

From DougChiang.com

  • View Robota Teaser Trailers II and III (Faster mirrors)

Quicktime.com Mirror

10 Responses to “Doug Chiang’s Robota”

  1. Chris says:

    Nice, thanks for turning me on to that.

  2. Daniel says:

    Woah! That’s incredible – that’s about some the best looking CG I’ve ever seen. Damn, I wish and hope for a full movie of this! The robot charachters look a lot like the charachters from the Lego movies “Bionicle” though, kind of tribal and rural looking.

    The only thing I think resembles the Star Wars world is the great building in Teaser II as it has the same look of many buildings on Naboo… Oh yerh, Me = Hardcore Star Wars fan. 😛

    And what’s with the “What never lived, can never die” .. clearly a few robots die in those short movies. 😉

  3. Joen says:

    The only thing I think resembles the Star Wars world is the great building in Teaser II as it has the same look of many buildings on Naboo… Oh yerh, Me = Hardcore Star Wars fan. 😛

    Well, the main reason I mentioned Star Wars is because Doug Chiang actually WORKED on the Star Wars prequels. In fact, he designed not only the Naboo buildings, but also those lame robots from ep1.

    My comparison, however, was that Star Wars had a story in its center, not the other way around.

    And what?s with the ?What never lived, can never die? .. clearly a few robots die in those short movies. 😉

    Define “die” :)

  4. Chris says:

    Define “die”

    Getting a bit philosophical for a piece of animation aren’t we? :)

  5. Joen says:

    Getting a bit philosophical for a piece of animation aren’t we? :)

    Well, it was a response to this:

    And what’s with the “What never lived, can never die” .. clearly a few robots die in those short movies. 😉

    So my question was a one-word summation of the following discussion: If you turn off a computer, does it die?

    I do believe that is at the core of “the conflict between humans and robots” in Robota.

  6. Chris says:

    See, this is the problem with electronic communication. No inflection.

    Of course I knew what you were responding to. And of course, one can go on to theorize that since the robots aren’t alive then they can’t ever die. But, who’s to say the reference is to the robots? Now that’s the sort of plot twist I can get into. :)

  7. Michael says:

    “So my question was a one-word summation of the following discussion: If you turn off a computer, does it die?”

    Shouldn’t the question be: Are they alive to begin with?

  8. Jonas Rabbe says:

    but also those lame robots from ep1.

    Come On you mean to tell me that you didn’t like the whole “roger roger” of the droids? That was the sweetest!

    In all fairness to Doug Chiang there were worse CG characters in episode 1 (and later) than the robots, at least noone made a “The robot army must die” song…

  9. Joen says:

    Are they alive to begin with?

    Exactly, and that question is what makes “Do androids dream of electric sheep”, and of course “Blade Runner” interesting.

    I say yes, my definition of life encompasses that. Now intelligent life, or advanced life, that’s more complex.

    Come On you mean to tell me that you didn?t like the whole ?roger roger? of the droids? That was the sweetest!

    Hmmm… Meh. Oh but the robots do actually look cool in DC’s illustrations… I think exactly the voice made them insignificant.

    In all fairness to Doug Chiang there were worse CG characters in episode 1 (and later) than the robots, at least noone made a ?The robot army must die? song…

    Oh indeed, it wasn’t that bad, and referencing my above comment, now that I think about it, it was the voice I didn’t like.

  10. Tokz says:

    Whats new with ROBOTA??