Movie-based games and game-based movies: the winning combination?

Posted on 06/28/2010


There is a real convergence between movies and video games. Does Hollywood need the video game industry or does the video game sector need Hollywood? The exchanges between the film industry and video game industry are multiple and various. They are mainly of three levels: creative, economic and technical.

From a creative point of view, the influence of cinema on video games is considerable. Convergence in special effects/animation is visible but there are other issues. Indeed, the creators of video games have developed a language and a visual style which belong originally to the cinema. This is noticeable in animated sequences: the move of the camera, the editing and the cinematography. The link between video game and the cinema is not only blockbusters and big video game titles or some successful games which become movies. This influence is deeper, big companies (Activision, THQ, Electronic Arts …) have many employees from the film business. Experts in special effects, filmmakers, composers and screenwriters are now in video games. Even the use of Hollywood actors has become frequent. They are called for voice dubbing and new technologies allow to recreate the face and the exact movements of an actor. Game designers are trying to enhance the realistic and emotional range of games. They are trying to come as close as possible to the potential impact of a film on a viewer. But the goal is not to copy the movie but to go further. A video game offers players more than a story to follow but a real interaction with the story. At a technical level the two sectors are converging more and more, each sector is using the most advanced technique of the other one. The economic level is where the two sectors are closely linked. Adapting a video game title which have known a great success is the possibility to have an existing public. The possibility of adapting a popular movie offers a huge potential for sales and reduces risk too. The creators of video games use the huge popularity and marketing campaigns of the movie to sell their games. A film is a “mark” immediately recognizable on the shelves of a store. But we can notice that movies-based games are decreasing, in 2008, 19 video games based on new movies were released, 15 in 2009 and 11 this year. Nine of this year’s 11 movie-based games are tied to family films, including “How to Train Your Dragon” by Activision partners with Dreamworks,”Toy Story 3” by Avalanche and Disney Interactive and “Shrek Forever After” by Activision and Xpec. “Younger audiences really like licensed properties they’re familiar with, and they don’t have to be built with the most cutting-edge technology,” said Brian Farrell, chief executive of THQ Inc. Games based on old successful movies will also come out, Universal Pictures signed deals for digital games based on “Battlestar Galactica” with Bigpoint, “Jurassic Park” and “Back to the Future” with Telltale Games. Digital games? Is the movie-based games changing its traditional business model? Or are the studio executives trying to take advantage of a fast-growing market? What will be the future of movie-based game? Is 3D going to be the turning point? Many questions that the actors will have to take in consideration.

Check these articles:

LA Times/Ben Fritz/Video GamesVideo games based on new movies take a hit

Telltale Games Press Release

The games:

Shrek Forever After

How to train your dragon

Toy Story 3

Want to know more about:

Telltale Games is the first and only digital publisher to release interactive episodic content on a monthly schedule. Their award-winning internal development studio is responsible for creating landmark episodic content, including Tales of Monkey Island, the Sam & Max series, Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People, and Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventure.

Avalanche Studios is an independent games developer, based on original and licensed content.

Xpec Entertainment is a leading game developer in Great China Area with well–known titles production in all console platforms and PC-Online dimension such as “Kung Fu Panda” in WII and PS2. It was founded in Taipei Taiwan in August 2000, and now has offices in Taipei, Shanghai, Suzhou, and Beijing.

Bigpoint is a worldwide leading provider and pioneer in the market segment browser-based online games (browser games), it s vision is to develop online games which are played exclusively in a browser window (in other words, without any download or installation from a CD) and in a quality which until now was limited to full-priced game titles.

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