The continual push towards better graphics has led the game industry to a point where games are starting to look incredibly realistic. At the same time, the film industry’s ability in CGI has come just as far and it is getting harder to notice the difference. Now there have been ideas of how these two can combine and I recently went to an Event in Cardiff that brought game makers like Talespinners and Quantum Soup together with producers and directors to showcase the current capabilities and collaborations that are already in play.
They started off by showcasing some of the most cinematic AAA games out there today and you guessed it, Naughty Dog is leading the way with some of the most visually stunning games that are complemented with intense and moving storylines. This is what they wanted to explore; how modern games tell stories and why they are so engaging. Uncharted 4 showed how it is cleverly scripted; it allows the player to feel in control but is actually leading them through the journey completely. Life is strange was the next game to show us its storytelling power by giving the player a choice mechanism which ultimately is an illusion of control. With this game also being episodic the continuing story will keep bringing back players again and again. They also looked at Hitman for its sandbox style and open world to explore and kill, also giving the player full control of the space and surroundings, and Mass Effect for its character customization allowing players to identify with the game in a more personalized experience. These things have been done before in games again and again but these where perfect examples of the current capabilities to show possible non-gamers, and there were quite a few.
Those games showed a great ability of storytelling in a different medium but is it enough to sway film and TV industry professionals, what else is there that they want to see? What makes money? The Game of Thrones spin-off game TellTale Games, that puts you into different roles around the main characters, small subplots around main characters that fall alongside the main storyline. It has a 7/10 rating on steam so it can’t be that bad, will it turn you an extra profit while everyone waits for the following season? Plenty of TV series and films have had Android games made for them and Games are even getting films made, I won’t mention the disappointment that the Assassins Creed movie was.
One game that popped up quite a bit was South Park-The Fractured But Whole, displaying the perfect fluidity of the cartoon to the game. The game looks exactly like the TV series, you feel like you are playing an episode. Hugely interactive with loads of jokes from the TV series past. That is a great example of a game being made well from a TV series.
Another game style that I had missed and have ended up doing research on is the cinematic game. There aren’t too many out there yet and there may be a reason for that. Two that we looked at was The Late Shift and Bunker. The night shift is a high stakes FMV crime thriller; it is a ‘choose your own adventure’ style game with an enormous amount of footage put into it. Each decision you make leads down a different route.
The Bunker is a psychological horror adventure that is completely live action. It stars Adam Brown (The Hobbit) with an excellent performance. The opening is quite slow and repetitive but the pace speeds up and you start discovering all the secrets the bunker has to offer. A lot of work went into this project and it pays off when you play it. It’s rich and story and there is no CGI within the game. The interface is a point and clicks style with timed choices that push you to make quick decisions. I thoroughly enjoyed the game and would recommend it to anyone who likes to try games that are a bit different and are rich in story.
These cinematic games haven’t been the most popular, the interactivity in the game is limited and the planning to film is so intricate so that it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the game. I haven’t been able to work out if it’s actually cheaper to film or make a game normally. If it’s filmed you probably need a celebrity endorsement to help sell the game but that is where your budget is going to be eaten. With games like The last of us, Assassins Creed Origins, Witcher 3, Final fantasy xv, Destiny 2 etc. you are seeing incredible graphics and ability for stunning visuals in games. Alongside great storylines that can be anywhere between 30 – 100 hours of gameplay and celebrity actors that bolster any game, I think the medium will shift towards game makers taking the film and TV industries markets or will start to get heavily involved soon enough.