A still from The Defeated title sequence showing chickens being hanged

The Defeated


Approached by StudioCanal to create the title sequence for their gritty thriller ‘The Defeated’ set in war ravaged Berlin during the Summer of 1946.

The story follows Max Mclaughlin, a New York police officer who is assigned to Berlin to establish a new police force. Max is secretly searching for his AWOL, presumed dead, brother Moritz.

Unbeknownst to Max, his brother is committing a series of gruesome murders. These murders follow the tricks played by the two brothers in the classic story ‘Max and Moritz’, a tale read to the brothers as children and on which the visuals for the title sequence are based.

A still from The Defeated title sequence showing two brothers fighting
A slow, creeping, trail of blood-tinged ink seeps into the fibers of the map displaying a divided Berlin creating abstract, often vicious, forms which are progressively revealed as illustrations from the classic children’s story. The exaggerated bleeding of the ink into the paper intends to reflect the deep rooted violence within the city during the war.
Created in full 3D, the sequence is a testament to the extensive testing and meticulous attention to detail from our team of multi-disciplinary designers and is a piece that we, as a studio, are incredibly proud of. The show was extremely well received across international audiences, with premieres on Netflix in the UK, the US, Germany, the Czech Republic and many more.
A still from The Defeated title sequence showing a sharpened claw
A still from The Defeated title sequence showing a man drowning

Eagle-eye viewers will notice exerpts from the original book placed within the city streets of the map of Berlin. These clues allude to the events in the story, giving an incentive for repeat viewings of the title sequence, an objective that was originally set out at the beginning of the project.

A still from The Defeated title sequence showing text hidden within the street names
A grid of the in-show location markers used for the different sectors

The same sense of rigor applied to the title sequence is also found within the in-show location markers, utilising appropriate typefaces that would have been in use by each nation in 1946, placed on-screen in locations reflective of the geographical locations of the political sectors found in post-war Berlin.

Sketches of the tricks featured in the original Max & Moritz story

We worked closely with illustrator Ed Grace to faithfully recreate the original imagery of each of the seven tricks played by the characters in the original edition of the book, presented in a way that ties them thematically to the murders committed by Moritz in the show, helping to define the series as a new, original, interpretation of a classic story.

A still from The Defeated title sequence showing a candle burning

We worked closely with the show creator Måns Mårland and director Björn Stein to help build the creative concept in a way that was true to the narrative and creative direction of the show. There was a long period of design and development which helped shape the creative and aesthetic of the final title sequence.

A grid of images showing various stages of development of The Defeated title sequence