Game film hybrids

The future of filmmaking – and of entertainment media in general – is murky indeed. Ran a course with my colleagues from LAMP today with incoming students at AFTRS. We profiled a range of new entertainment formats and got the students to brainstorm and pitch back ideas of how they would combine them with some familiar filmic stories. Got me thinking about Peter Jackson’s well publicised comments last year about establishing Wingnut Interactive to develop new forms of interactive entertainment for the XBox 360. Although the Halo film that Jackson was producing now seems to have fallen over, I can’t find any updates on Wingnut interactive since it’s launch last October. Found a great interview with Jackson at gamespot – audio and transcript from his appearance at a conference called X06 held in Barcelona. The panel called The Future of Storytelling is an interesting read. Jackson is a seriously forward thinker (we knew that) and is taking a lead that many of us media educators need to start pushing harder. In two years time our grads are going to find golden opportunities in this murky area between games and film and it’s up to us to throw them in.

While the games industry is growing strongly it is enlightening to read about some of the same problems faced by the AAA publishers and developers as the feature film industry. Digital distribution is changing everything and the 3 year + production times of a AAA game or a feature film are a big problem in a market looking for instant gratification. Warner Bros has now made over $200 million on Happy Feet for eg. but you’ve got to consider it was a four year long production process. Compare that to the 8 million subscribers of World of Warcraft paying over $15 per month each to access this MMORPG. It doesn’t take a maths degree to see where the better investment lies.

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