Neill Blomkamp's Latest Short Film Is A Live-Action Prequel To 'Anthem', An Upcoming Video Game

District 9 director Neill Blomkamp hasn't directed a feature film since 2015's Chappie, but he's since become a prolific director of short films, helming ten of them in the past four years at his company, Oats Studios. Now he's teamed up with EA for his latest short called Conviction, which is a live-action prequel to BioWare's highly-anticipated upcoming video game Anthem.

Check out Blomkamp's latest short film below, which continues to prove that short films are where he can truly thrive as a creative storyteller.

Neill Blomkamp Anthem Short Film

According to a press release, Conviction "explores the colossal world of Anthem in a new narrative set decades before the game begins." Anthem itself is a multiplayer game focusing on teams of Freelancers , who don Javelin exosuits, leave civilization behind, and explore the areas surrounding their fort. Here's a gameplay trailer:

BioWare's most recent game, Mass Effect: Andromeda, was a huge disaster for the company, so there's a lot riding on the success of Anthem as BioWare hopes to bounce back. This one's been in the works since 2012, and was initially teased at E3 back in 2014. For those who are interested, a demo is available to everyone right now.

I think a genuine case could be made that Blomkamp has always been better suited for short films than full features. He's all about futuristic style, creating a sense of world-building through a tactile production design, and impressively combining visual effects with real-world environments. His biggest weakness has always been the stories he chooses to tell: in every movie since District 9, his scripts haven't been up to snuff.

But short films – especially commercials like this – allow him to highlight all of his strengths and give audiences permission to brush past any cliched dialogue, because we've been conditioned to accept cliches in trailers. And in shorts, there's never enough time for him to fail to live up to a concept he introduces, or fumble any big ideas. It's a perfect match for him, and I'd love to see him stay in shorts for the next several years and try to push the boundaries of that form. That being said, he's currently developing a feature-length reboot of Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi classic RoboCop, so he could be returning to the film world soon if that project makes it to the starting line.

Anthem hits shelves on February 22, 2019, and will be playable on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Origin for PC.