Director teaming with Irish animation studio.

It has been announced that ‘9’ helmer Shane Acker and Dublin’s Oscar-nominated animation studio Brown Bag Films (‘Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty,’ ‘Give Up Yer Aul Sins’) are teaming with videogame developer Valve on the new animated feature film ‘Deep.’

With the feel of an underwater Western, ‘Deep’ is set in a not-too-distant future when what’s left of humanity has moved undersea to stay alive. The story revolves around the crew of the nuclear submarine Norwood as they race to uncover the secrets behind the Wayfarers, a mysterious splinter group with the potential to wipe out humanity altogether.

Valve, whose hit titles include the ‘Half Life’ and ‘Portal’ franchises, has provided the team with new tools and technologies based on the developer’s Source game engine. The tools enable flexible cinematography and editing, a simplified character animation process and economical lighting, sound and visual effects. Render time is cut to nearly nil, enabling rapid revisions to animation, which brings dramatic savings in time and money over traditional production.

Originally conceived as a graphic novel by author J. Barton Mitchell, ‘Deep’ will initially be produced as feature film; however, producing in a game engine means that the characters and environments in ‘Deep’ can easily translate to a game format. The team has already begun work on a playable level to be distributed via Steam, Valve’s online game distribution network, and plans to create additional content for digital distribution and provide opportunities for user-created content in the ‘Deep’ universe.