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May 19, 2007

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*cough*EnterTheMatrix*cough*

Though, on the other hand, I have plenty of respect for many games that don't give the player any control over the camera and rely a lot on animations that honestly are very linear and un-dynamic. Case in point: God of War. I believe that God of War has a lot more in common with movies than most other games do, and that this is not a shortcoming. Nor, however, is it the model that all games ought to be based on. ^_~

I'm not giving Michael Bay my confidence vote here, but I'm not entirely opposed to the concept of "convergence".

If by convergence they mean that one day I will sit in a theatre and control the outcome of a movie, at a purely personal level, then yeah, I can see the link.

But the link is not there. It never has been. The only link I see between movies and games is one of budget; where games are outstripping some film budgets and that return on investment! (oh MY!)

I see this a purely ego driven, greed play. I mean, ask yourself, how many games has Vin Diesel's company actually made...I mean *actually* made (from start to end?) Answer: None. Chronicles was made by Starbreeze and published by Universal. All Vin did was slap his production label on it because of his invested interest in the character of Riddick.

We've been through this movies crossing over to games and vice-versa before and it's never amounted to anything other than "jumping the shark" - Ill conceived, poorly executed, and sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity (if the reviewers are NICE - *cough* Spiderman 3 *cough*).

If they really want to do something for the industry, how about reinventing it? Introducing and reinforcing good production processes. Rewarding professionals with decent pay and royalty options. Sure, you get laid off after a project but how is that different from most game companies?

To Michael Bay - I will believe it when I see it. James Cameron made a go of it and I have yet to be impressed.

Maybe we'll finally get a sequel to Loadstar: the Legend of Tully Bodine.

"But let's not forget I'm not the one gambling 25 million bucks on an ego that says just because I directed some movies I can therefore direct games."

I don't even like to let myself believe that Bay can direct movies. I'm not sure if you've oberseved or been told this, but the average time between cuts in Bay's films throughout his career is something like two seconds. Now, try watching one of his 'films' without vomiting.

I hope Bay fails miserably in this little dabbling of his. He's an arrogant hack and I hope this experiment leads him to contemplate where the hell his arrogance came from. If he figures it out, I he'd better let the world know, because I'm as perplexed by that as by the size of his name next to the title logo of the Transformers movie.

Well, there's one thing the film directors know how to do that the game designers should take note of: owning their own destinies.

Say what you may, but at least I have a vision to buy a 100 million dollar company and not be owned by anyone. Like you Frank. My games are going to be created by my company, I'm creating a games company where we are giving a piece of the game- to the designers and creators so they can share in the upside. Very unlike EA and Activision. And say what you may about my films that have brought in over 2.5 billion around the world....

Michael

Michael

Thanks for stopping by to offer a rebuttal.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'giving a piece of the game to the designers and creators so they can share in the upside'. If by that you mean sharing ownership of the creative and IP in your game project, I think that's fantastic, and I think that point is painfully absent from the LA Times article. If you simply mean you have a bonus and profit sharing program that does not amount to actual ownership, I fail to see how that is different from what is typical in the game industry. If you can give more details, I would love to hear them but totally understand if it's confidential.

As for your films, I admit I am not a fan, but that's immaterial. As you point out, 2.5 billion is a better measure than my 12 dollar opinion. You make a certain kind of film that is extremely popular and well targeted to an audience that is not me. There is clearly more than one kind of success and more than one kind of quality, and you are unarguably a master of making successful, quality films regardless of rating. Many a 90+ rated film and many a 90+ rated game falls into obscurity because it can't find a market.

What I was railing against is what I perceive as another instance of ongoing condescension from 'Hollywood' toward the game industry. Statements like 'making a game that matches the quality of a feature film' imply that films are qualitatively superior to games. I recognize that statement is not coming from you or your company but from the reporter so if he's misrepresenting you, I apologize for directing this at you. I make comparisons between the average ratings for your films and the average ratings for some equally popular games to illustrate simply that there are great games out there receiving exceptionally high average review scores - and these are not art-house games that no one ever plays... these are games doing hundreds of millions in sales in their own right. The point is that qualitatively we are arguably on par with the film industry. It's certainly a complex argument, and I'd be more than happy to fight it and lose, but I'm sick of having my media and industry dismissed out of hand as inferior to yours. I can only assume you think there is some value in that argument as well, or you'd probably have held onto your 100 million.

On a slight tangent, you mention that you are not owned by anyone - a sentiment that was foreshadowed by the commentor before you (Carter) when he said that game designers could take note of film directors ability to own their own destinies. I find this sentiment interesting because it's kind of alien to me. First, I don't feel I am owned by anyone either. I feel like I 'control my own destiny'. Do you mean you have complete creative freedom to do what you want with a game/film/story/character or whatever? Because I feel I have that freedom as well - at least to any limit I would care to take advantage of. It's not really on point, I just found myself wondering what 'Carter' meant by that last week, and then was surprised that you kind of riffed off the same note there too. I don't think there is anything wrong (at all) with putting down your own money to literally own your own destiny and the right to flush your money down the toilet... I just didn't really understand where the point was coming from.

Anyway Michael, thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

-c-

Two things: Giving a piece back is rare, but not groundbreaking. My new employers, CCP Games (EVE Online) do the same. Admirable all the same. But is it so strange to think that game designers (and ludologists in general) might be insulted when filmmakers walk into the room, rubbing their hands together, and act like they're going to bring religion to the people? Most filmmakers, in my experience, would rant about a novelist walking onto the lot and saying, "I'm going to fix this business because I'm a bestselling author."

That said, I'll try harder to separate my doubt that this venture will be as great as advertized from my desire to see it succeed. If it works, I hope it makes ripples.

Point Two, Clint: "Do they think that 10 years from now I won't be sure whether I just watched a movie or played a game?" That idea is a damn spark. I'm on fire.

-Will

Well, I feel I should apologize for some of my ill mannered cynicism, Michael. The only issue I really have with filmmakers approaching game-making is better explained in Will's comment. I've probably assumed too much from your quotes in the article-- I don't understand what role you plan to take in the development of your studio's early games...

"I make world-class images... Why not put those images into a game?"

I'm curious to know how you expect these 'world-class images' to translate to an interactive experience, or how you think this imagery will be beneficial to your games.

Just because I call myself Mel Brooks in the comments does not make me Mel Brooks.

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