Guild Wars 2 Cosplay Journey

Cosplay Machinima?

A digital cosplay machinima combines a multitude of postmodern media practices in a single work and highlights both the intertextual nature of the postmodern media sphere and the issue of authorship and intellectual property in derivative works.

If character designs in a video game are created from a limited set of options to imitate existing characters from another media, who do these characters belong to? If existing game assets are used by a player to reinterpret and retell an existing story from another media via in-game "filming" and creative post-production, who is the actual author of the resulting work? Will the experience of a viewer who knows the reference characters and stories differ significantly from that of an unaware viewer? Does knowledge of in-game geography, lore and even music negatively affect the superimposed storytelling? All these questions inevitably arise when one faces such a cosplay machinima.

For MMO machinima artists, undoubtedly, the media is the message (Marshall McLuhan) in the most extreme ways: they have no control over the vast world filled with other players, AI entities, scheduled events, scripted environments, and even software bugs; all they can do is live their characters—be in the right place in the right time and silently look in the right direction. After numerous real-time iterations, the artist receives source materials that can, just like in cinema, create story-like connections between individual shots through productive effects of montage (Lev Kuleshov).

Both the viewer and the author have to operate within databases (Hiroki Azuma), where an immeasurable amount of settings, plots and characters have been disassembled into basic elements, carefully sorted, and stored for future usage; these can then be attached to the core structure of monomythical hero's journey (Joseph Campbell) to form newer derivative "myths". Developers of massive games and popular video series turn into initiators of relational aesthetics (Nicolas Bourriaud)—certain informational fields where post-production art can be created, or remixed (Mark Amerika), by individual makers from existing content. This content, however, rarely exists purely within that set field—more often than not it spans into adjacent fields, sometimes—as with cosplay machinimas—creating unlikely connections that bare the underlying database structure of our media world.

Reference Characters:

I. Betrayal: Pina Co Lada (Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There!)
II. Dreams of Gold: Bastet (Puzzle & Dragons)
III. Delivery: Noir Vinocacao (Dog Days)
IV. Old Rival: Yoko Littner (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)
V. Legend: Diana Cavendish (Little Witch Academia)
VI. Being & Time: Kurumi Tokisaki (Date A Live)
VII. Windfall: Chaika Trabant (Chaika – The Coffin Princess)
VIII. Adventure: Megumin (KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World!)
IX. Queen’s Domain: Evangeline A.K. McDowell (Negima! Magister Negi Magi)
X. Destination: Tail Red (Gonna be the Twin-Tail!!)

Music by ArenaNet:

Intro: Tyria Awaits
I. Here Be Dragons; Lion’s Arch Lament (Live)
II. Path of Fire; Tarir, The Forgotten City
III. Mordremoth; Faren’s Noble Adventure
IV. The Silverwastes; Sabetha The Saboteur
V. Snaff’s Workshop; The Vaults of The Priory
VI. The Newly Awakened; Twisted Marionette Battle (Part 1)
VII. A Land Restored; The Great Toymaker (Live)
VIII. The Seraph; Sunrise over Astorea
IX. Tower of Nightmares; March of the Awakened
X. Taimi’s Game (Part 1); Diaphonous Diffraction Randomizer; Sylvari Hologram Dance Beat
Outro: Fear Not This Night (Instrumental)

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