The 4th Planet
Building our future together
Text by Stéphane Lemonnier
One cosmoport, some electro music, a running man trying to smuggle into a rocket in a rush to the 4th planet. This Folimage project, invites us to sink in a retro-futurist universe made of 2D animation, video games, web and comics. Welcome in the 23th century, where living on Earth is barely bearable, but fortunately the NWTM (New Way Toward Mars), took on to terraform Mars giving the hope of a new start for the human race. But far from the original utopia, the NWTM and its dream will bring life to intrigues, hopes and disillusions. Jump on board with Jean Bouthors, creator of the project is giving us a preview of the genesis of this dark and complex universe.
The origins and the implementation
What are the constraints or characteristics in producing a transmedia project?
Jean Bouthors: The 4th planet project has been very quickly conceived in several medias. Even if I am not that much of a big video game player, the desire to walk around the scenery we created was strong from the beginning, and naturally resulted in an FPS game. However, we had to think about harmonizing the idea of playing in 3D a world presented in 2D. The solution was to show the view of drones / robots in 3D, but to keep the life of Carole (the main game character) in the cinematic 2D universe.
In essence, the creation of the 2D series obviously served as the backdrop for the game, but the opposite is also true: 3D also helped us to create special particle effects. In practice, we worked by having the two teams on the same floor in order to strengthen the emulation between us.
As for the web platform, it naturally collected all the knowledge created to give body to the universe and this for a hundred years.
What animation techniques are used to create the series and the game?
J.B.: The series was created entirely digitally on graphic tablets using TVpaint, Photoshop, Toon Boom. Drone Operator, however, was created with Unity. At most, there was fifteen of us working on the production.
The transmedia side
What motivated the choice of a mini serie, rather than a long / medium-length format?
J.B.: From the outset, this project was conceived as a mini saga, this format allowing us to develop a scenario, but also the ability to present a situation and complex characters and situations for them to evolve in. Initially, the series had to have half less episodes, but following the craze, it was decided to extend it.