Interview with Tim of The Cronenweths on Their Epic Batman Arkham Knight Ad
Here at Agents of Geek I think it’s a bit of a understatement to say we’re excited for Batman Arkham Knight, I think it would be better to say we’re going out of control for more Batman adventures! We recently got the chance to interview one of the men behind the amazing ad that was released earlier in the summer, and just reading through it I’ve gotten even more excited! Here’s our interview with Tim Cronenweth of the Cronenweths
1. How was it to work on this ad and see so many gamers flip their lids?:
The reaction to the ad has been fantastic. I’m really glad to see our approach has been so effective and that gamers are keen to get their hands on Arkham Knight and play. We didn’t want to give unrealistic expectations, but at the same time we still wanted to generate hype and excitement for the game as much as possible. We also had to keep Batman’s heritage in mind. Staying true to so many iterations of a single character is a serious challenge. I think that we struck the right balance, and it’s paid off. There are quite a few hidden Easter Eggs of BATMAN icons and graphics in the ad. That was a fun detail.
2. From what I’ve gathered this ad may be a bit different from your usual ads, how did you all come to work with Warner Bros. for this ad?:
Executive producers David Brennan of SWELL, and Jim Evans of UNTITLED, collaborated to introduce us to a new advertising agency, BATTERY. BATTERY’s team – which included the creatives Phil Khosid and Bernie O’Dowd, CEO Anson Sowby and CPO Chris Hepburn, EP Judy Gotten, co-director Raymond Hwang and planning director Philip Ser – were trying to come up with an awesome idea that was worthy of the brand and tied in with the integrity of the BATMAN franchise. Of course Warner Bros. and Rock Steady – the game designers – were very influential in this. Rock Steady were used to using game footage to promote their products, while Warner Bros. wanted to make the brand stand out. So the BATTERY team was tasked managing the collaboration between the two sets of demands. Working with BATTERY, we made several versions of the commercial over the months, before the assignment landed on a fantastic platform, “BE THE BATMAN.”
3. How much liberty did you all have with the gameplay footage used to make the ad?:
Given the cinematic look Warner Bros. wanted, we aimed to realise the mood of the game and dramatize it. We wanted to put the viewer in a situation where you want to run and hide; a dangerous scenario where not only your life is at stake, but maybe even the lives of other innocent people. We had many delusions of grandeur in our heads we wanted to get those ideas on screen. We wanted to shoot a 3 way multi-levelled explosion. The idea was to have an unexpected burst that subtly takes the form of the BAT WINGS in a real, non-CGI manifestation. The rain was also a primary element at the beginning of the set up. We felt it helped to immediately establish the subject of a young man, alone in the alley oppressed by the deluge as passersby are going on with their normal lives, forced to address his past, present and future. The rain set the tone for the rest of the piece. There were many challenges in keeping true to the game’s style, but when the creative and the brand are so awesome, you smash through barriers to achieve the vision.
4. How much fun did you all have playing the game for a bit to compose the ad?:
To me I always feel like I am Batman while playing these games. Did you guys have similar feelings? The game play is sick. After the first play-around we came away thinking this is one of the best games either of us has ever played. The world, the characters and gameplay are phenomenal. Warner Bros. and Rock Steady hit it out of the park on this one. The biggest thing we felt from playing the game was the idea of the hero emerging. Deep inside each of us are millions of years of evolutionary tactics empowering our individual survival. Sometimes, this fight or flight can help us rise above personal safety, and consider others before ourselves. We felt that BATMAN really tried to explore that push on the primordial adrenaline that powers the hero, but it also looks at how the hero is only formed when these tactics are used against something bigger than we would normally dare face. Because the game gave us this adrenaline of being the hero, we wanted to put that same feeling into BE THE BATMAN.
5. Can we expect more ads from you to come as the release date steadily gets closer?:
For now, we’ve just finished a Merkley and Partners Mercedes Maybach ad and we’re working on a number of other commercial projects. We have a couple of features in development. Maybe in our future there will be an opportunity to bring a deeper Cronenweth vision of Arkham City’s Caped Crusader – making that a reality would be incredible. Our ultimate approach in weighing future projects is: What would BATMAN do?!
Batman Arkham Knight comes out June 23 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.