Oh well, I guess I was wrong when I refuted the theory that games and film can converge. According to Ed Ulbrich, the President of the commercial division of Digital Domain, it's not just something they're talking about. By buying the digital effects house and setting out to make games, Michael Bay has somehow proven that convergence is 'no longer a theory'. Don't I look stupid now.
In a reposting of an LA Times article on Michael Bay's blog, they lay it all out for us... the new vision of the ludocinematic future.
A budget of about $25 million may not be much for director Michael Bay, maker of such mega-budget movies as "Armageddon" and "Pearl Harbor." But it's enough to get him launched on a new passion: creating a video game that matches the quality of a feature film.
I love how this statement implies that games don't have the quality of a feature film. I can only assume they mean creating a game whose real-time 3d visuals match the quality of pre-rendered visuals in a modern 3d film? If they actually mean that they think 'Armageddon' (5.8 average on Imdb) or 'Pearl Harbor' (5.3) is 'better' than 'Half-Life 2' (9.6 average on Game Rankings) or 'GTA: San Andreas' (9.5)... then, well, whatever, I guess I don't really have a response to that.
"I make world-class images," Bay said. "Why not put those images into a game?"
Well, sure... okay. But I think Bay is missing a few important points. First, the way Bay makes those images has an awful lot to do with controlling the camera, so if he's willing to give up that part of what he does, I welcome him to join us in wrestling with this challenge. Second, while I don't have any problem with making games with great visuals (9.4) I'm not entirely sure what his point is here. Is he implying that his great visuals (even delivered to the player without the strict authorial camera of a director) will inherently make his games better?
Digital Domain plans to develop four or five games over the next two years, tapping into a lucrative industry whose sales in the U.S. climbed 19% to a record $12.5 billion last year, according to research firm NPD Group. As video entertainment becomes more sophisticated, the line between video games and movies is blurring.
(my emphasis) A bit of a non-sequitor there, but whatever. The thing I don't understand though... and it perplexes me more and more every time I heard this banal platitude... what the hell does it mean 'the line between videogames and movies in blurring'?
Do they think that 10 years from now I won't be sure whether I just watched a movie or played a game? Again, I have to make some assumptions about what they mean to have this kind of crap make any sense at all... I can only assume they mean 'the production methodologies and business models are increasingly similar and it is becoming more and more practical to look at doing feature film development and game development simultaneously as part of a multi-media production that increases efficiency'. In other words, they mean convergence in the purest business sense.
But on the other hand:
Nonetheless, company executives say they have a competitive advantage: a network of A-list directors that includes David Fincher ("Fight Club") (8.6), Rob Cohen ("The Fast and the Furious") (5.7) and, of course, Bay, whose latest movie, "Transformers," is one of the summer's most anticipated releases. Most film-based games are developed through third parties, and filmmakers often have little or no creative control. By contrast, Digital would let filmmakers direct their own games.
So they don't mean it only in the purely business sense. They actually think that they can just hand over lead creative on a game to someone who made some movies and that will work. Well, I wish them luck. Okay, that's not true. I don't wish them luck. I hope they fail. I'm sure people will be happy to tell me what an egotistical asshole I am. 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.
Maybe we'll get to see if the man-god can bleed after all.