How will the movie experience look like in the future? Judging by the industry, 3-D films are the next big thing. Myself, I’m skeptical. 3-D is a linear movie-making improvement, just as Dolby Surround & HDTV. Definitely not an acceptable excuse for a Pocahontas remake to become the biggest blockbuster, ever. (But I guess I’m a minority here.)
I offer what I believe to be a real game-changer in the film industry. One of the most exciting developments of the computer era must be video games, and the past decade has seen the rise of interactive cinema: Games designed to deliver a cinematic experience as well as an enjoying game experience. These games employ techniques such as in-game movie cutscenes, cinematic viewing angles and open-world interaction.
However, in order to truly engulf the player in an alternate reality, it is prominent to create a believable representation of this reality. Realistic computer graphics are finally coming close to ripe. State-of-the-art movie graphics are so real, they could probably pass a Graphics Turing Test. It’s just a matter of time until these techniques are perfected for creating realistic computer game graphics.
Last year I happened to play a game called Fahrenheit, and in the process something odd happened: My wife, who happened to sit next to me as I started playing, was hooked as a viewer to the game. She forbade me from playing on without her. What was a great game for me turned out to be just as great a movie for her. The fact that the results were truly unpredictable, and I could fail the game at any point, added an extra rush of excitement to her experience. It was truly a new kind of thriller.
Fahrenheit’s initial diversification of plot-lines eventually converged to a single, monotonous keyboard-grinding effort. Using the replay feature on the “difficult” parts took the fun out of the game towards its end. The excitement subsided. Still, the after taste was strong and sweet. Out of this experience, and some conversations with friends, emerged a new game playing / movie watching recipe.
Instead of the treaded path most western novels & Hollywood thrillers follow, I’d like to have a multi-plot-line video game in which there are several protagonists. Each protagonist will have an existence independent of the others, such that each could advance the plot on its own. It should still live in a very controlled, artistic screenplay (unlike World of Warcraft), and balancing the personal freedom with a concise plot is probably the harders part of the whole thing.
And then someone did it!
Heavy Rain, the newest title from makers of Fahrenheit, meets my exact demands.
So here’s how my friends and I envision this thriller:
- Several people meet together to play the game / watch the movie.
- Each person controls one of the character, so that there’s a different ‘fist’ behind each protagonist.
- No replays are allowed. Also, no prior knowledge of the plot should be gained.
- When a person is not actively playing, he is watching the movie. Thus, every one is a part-time player, part-time movie audience.
We intend to film ourselves during the experience and actively discuss our feelings. If the results are interesting, they will be posted as a follow-up.