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Neill Blomkamp’s Oats Studios released a live-action Anthem short film

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A prequel set ‘decades’ before the game

District 9 director Neill Blomkamp unveiled a new live-action short film called Conviction from Oats Studios. It’s set in the same world as BioWare’s upcoming open-world power armor shooter Anthem.

Blomkamp set up his studio in 2017, describing it as an experimental incubator in which he can prototype ideas and see what sticks before fully committing to a longer work. Over the course of several months, he released a series of lengthy science fiction short films on YouTube along with a smattering of other zany experiments.

This three-and-a-half-minute short film follows the mold of its predecessors, showing off something that plays like a trailer for a longer project. The short film outlines that the people of the world were “the slaves of the Urwrath,” only to break free, building a protective community called Fort Tarsis on the world. To survive on the dangerous world, they built suits of powered armor called Javelins and used them to save people from the wilderness and fend off attacks by other enemies.

Blomkamp’s involvement began shortly after the project was unveiled in 2017 after he noted on Twitter that the game looked cool. EA says that it prompted the two to team up to produce the short film. The director told Variety that he was “blown away” by the world when he first saw it and explains that the short film “touches on Anthem’s beautiful and immersive world, which is ripe for exploration by these powerful Javelins.”

This isn’t the first time that Blomkamp and his studio have partnered with other companies. In November 2017, Oats Studios teamed up with Unity to produce a trio of short films based on the company’s proof-of-concept short film called Adam. Blomkamp was also attached to direct an adaptation of Halo. While that project never materialized, he did direct a short film in 2012 called Landfall, which Bungie used to promote Halo 3.

Given Blomkamp’s track record with science fiction stories involving power armor and futuristic soldiers, Anthem seems as though it’s an ideal fit for Oats Studios. It’s not clear how Conviction will play moving forward for Oats and EA, whether it’s simply a glorified trailer for the game ahead of its February 22nd release or if the two plan to produce additional films down the road that continue to flesh out the world.