Here’s an interesting article describing an event in which two great filmmakers, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, forecast radical changes in the movie industry. The bit that stood out for me:
Lucas and Spielberg also spoke of vast differences between filmmaking and video games because the latter hasn’t been able to tell stories and make consumers care about the characters.
There are two possibilities here:
- This is an attempt to paraphrase that oversimplifies, and consequently loses the sense of what they said.
- Lucas and Spielberg don’t know what they’re talking about.
If they actually said anything remotely like that, they simply have not been paying attention. Video games have been telling stories since the beginning. “Super Mario Bros.” is the story of a man trying to rescue a princess from a giant turtle. It’s not a great story, you may say, but it’s a story all the same. And there have been films that were just as bad (if not worse) in the story department...
As for this “hasn’t been able to make consumers care about characters” business, that’s even more of a laugh. I like Lucas’s Star Wars films quite a bit, but Kreia from Knights of the Old Republic II can put any character Lucas ever wrote to shame. BioWare had to actually go back and try to “fix” the ending to one of their games because fans were so anxious to know what happened to their favorite characters.
Perhaps their confusion can be explained by the remainder of the paragraph from the same story:
Which isn’t to say [games and movies] aren’t connected. Spielberg, in fact, has teamed with Microsoft to make a “TV” show for Xbox 360 based on the game Halo and he is making a movie based on the Electronic Arts game Need for Speed.
Well, there’s the problem. If those two titles are what they think video games are like, I can see they would have the wrong idea.
Here’s what’s ironic about this: these two cinema legends are saying there are huge problems with the movie industry, and then going on to exemplify one of the problems themselves: arrogance.
It’s even worse, though, because it’s not just the movie industry that thinks games can’t compete in terms of story and characters–it’s the game industry, as well! The powerful entities in it, at least. And to complete the irony, the most vapid, characterless, hackneyed, special effects-driven games are churned out in the name of being “cinematic”!
I hope gaming doesn’t get ruined trying to emulate the methods of an “imploding” industry.