Over the past decade, the word cinema has become a cliché in video games. It’s a term used to describe big budget studio games like Finally our part 2. Got a big action set? That is cinema. Do expensive cutscenes look like a Michael Bay movie? Movie. The characters of any depth. Pure cinema!
The word lost its meaning, turning it into a genre label depicting a very specific kind of Hollywood action game. But film is a vast media that encompasses more than just blockbuster movies. There are many other elements video games can borrow from movies to create a richer storytelling experience.
While A-list games continue to build the scene, indie developers are taking a deeper approach to filmmaking toolsets to create more diverse storytelling experiences. In the process, they are breaking down some longstanding barriers between the gaming and cinematic worlds.
Play with form
Ten years ago, it was such a big deal that a video game looked like a movie. PlayStation 3 title Heavy rain made a big impact in 2010 because no one had seen anything like it at the time. It’s like a playable movie and offers an emotionally challenging experience (at least by 2010 standards).
That has changed dramatically over the past decade. It’s now more common for video games to tell scripted stories than to provide interactivity with the narrative context to drive action. Those strides towards storytelling are particularly noteworthy in an independent setting, which has steadily changed the definition of what the game is even like over the years.
There are lots of examples of that in the upcoming release of 2021. Get it Last stop, For example. Adventure game from developer Variable State, famous for its mystery game Virginia. After its release, Virginia is unique to use movie editing techniques. Last stop using the same ideas, with intentional cuts and camera angles brought in during game-heavy game play.
During a game press event, the developers of Variable State discussed the film as a motivating inspiration for the title. They specifically cite the works of Robert Altman, a director known for creating large composite films with many character-oriented storylines, as a key influence on the project.
Last stop borrow the same idea to create a mysterious intertwining. The player controls three seemingly unrelated Londoners with paths throughout the game. It’s an anthology story, not something we often associate with video games. How surprising, Last stopThe game’s closest equivalent is likely to be Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto Vwhere the player controls three Los Santos criminals.
For movie enthusiasts who yearn for stories of this sort, there is a lot more work being done in the gaming field today than in Hollywood.
Rethinking the genre
Indie studios don’t just experiment with film structure; They are also rethinking the types of games the game might fit. While publishers like Bethesda focus heavily on high sci-fi and fantasy, smaller studios tend to exhibit more versatility. That suits both style and theme.
To see that in practice, head over to Hazelight Studios. Led by Josef Fares (a former filmmaker), the indie studio has made a name for itself by promoting the storytelling of video games by playing by genre. Its 2018 multiplayer game One way out taken from jailbreak movies to tell a dramatic story based on realism.
This year, it has gone in the opposite direction It takes twoBut the game still follows a similar philosophy. Though it’s more of a magical realism fantasy, Fares uses the term “romantic comedy” to describe the game. That is territory where the major game studios feared going beyond the vehicle lifecycle.
That shyness for certain genres limits the kinds of stories the game can tell. Taking it from the traditional rom-com structure, Hazelight is able to tell a story about a couple on the brink of a divorce, emphasizing the importance of cooperation in a relationship. That idea sounds pretty trivial for a movie, but it’s the weird territory that’s yet to be explored in video games.
The storytelling range of video games is constantly expanding thanks to games like that It takes two, and it’s not the only example. Eliza is a stellar visual novel about a woman working for an ethically problematic tech company with automated chat therapy. Outstanding of last year If found … is a game that stands out about a transgender woman fighting for acceptance by her family. One of the best games of this year so far, Before your eyes, is a tearful TV series about a person who last his life relives their memories, with the entire game being controlled by the player’s blinks, watched over the webcam.
They may not have a budget of millions of dollars, but they are no less “cinematic” Final We.
Welcome to the club
The world of cinema is not happening, and that is a dramatic change from where the industry was a decade ago. In 2010, the late film critic Roger Ebert wrote an article stating “Video games can never be art. It was a controversial act that divided the movie and game worlds.
The setting looks a lot different in 2021. Just looking at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, there will be eight indie games as the official choice alongside the movies. Its first decision was a kind of triumph that existed for a medium that has long been thought to be inferior to cinema. They are gradually becoming equal, overcoming decades of stigma among moviegoers.
The gaming industry is especially poised for that change. EA Originals Vice President Rob Letts shared his views on the longstanding debate with Digital Trends. The EA Originals label has been published It takes twois part of its intentional strategy to support story-driven indie games that take cues from the movie world. Letts see a world where two means coexist happily.
“Overall, I’m not a fan of movie-game debate,” Letts told Digital Trends. “They live in harmony with each other, without conflict. Both movies and video games are impressive immersive experiences. The lines between games, social media and content channels are blurring – and as a result, the two media are creating different kinds of experiences in different ways.
By learning from other art forms, games are evolving in a way that only expands their possibilities. There’s a good chance that there will be another direction soon, with filmmakers looking to experience the indie game to gather some new tricks.
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