The story of Plastic Wax, a family-run studio that keeps moving the bar in the games industry.
You remember it – slo-mo bullets, long takes, Kanye West’s single du jour. The CG ‘Power’ trailer for 2011’s Saints Row The Third was a stylish commentary of the game as a guilty pleasure, a reminder that the series was meant to be anarchic fun. It was just one of many high profile projects by Plastic Wax, a VFX and animation studio that has dominated CG sequences in AAA video games for over a decade yet has remained largely out of the public eye.
Plastic Wax is based in Sydney, Australia, and identifies as a boutique business; small, family-run, laser-eye-focused on ‘getting the job done.’ Yet its resume includes the likes of BioShock, Darksiders, Saints Row, Borderlands, Gears of War, the Lego video games, and Injustice – you know, the sort of thing to write home about. So why do so few know its name?
I visited Plastic Wax back in March after learning that Injustice 2‘s “The Lines Are Redrawn” cinematic trailer (viewed over 3 million times on Injustices’ official YouTube channel as of writing) was made about a 10 minute drive away in Rhodes, the kind of empty Sydney urban suburb that seems to quietly safeguard a lot of the city’s creativity. Its office space was just as unassuming; single level, relatively bare-walled, a frightening amount of award statues the only decor of note.
Still, I’m told it’s a far cry from where Plastic Wax was born. 20 years ago Plastic Wax founder Nathan Maddams had been nominated for…