back to article Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio

Videogame kingpin Activision Blizzard is reportedly considering launching its own movie studio division to turn its games into films and TV shows. Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil This movie adaptation of Resident Evil was quite popular for some reason... Videogame adaptations have had mixed success to say the least, with some …

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Just record a playthrough of COD...

Seriously, with the games becoming more and more 'cinematic' in terms of storytelling, you could probably make a decent little movie out of a playthrough with third person cameras.

No, really - I mean, take Bioshock Infinite - the story is fantastic, to the degree where I enjoyed watching a very complete playthrough (covering all audio logs etc) more than I enjoyed actually playing through the game (thanks to it's somewhat loose gunplay).

Metro 2033 is another example (dripping with atmosphere and a really well realised world), Last Light less so as the gunplay and stealth were modified to make it more fun to play - it was a better game as a result from most perspectives. It still had a good story and atmosphere (as good as 2033 IMHO) but the fact that it was more fun to play meant I didn't get 30% into it, get bored, and just watched the rest on Youtube (Hallo, COD4 MW2).

I don't know how much of this is that storytelling in gaming is improving, or if gameplay structure is suffering at the expense of better storytelling...think of how many games recently you've replayed for the pure hell of it? I've replayed Metro Last Light a couple of times, not Metro 2033 though. Or BioShock Infinite, for that matter.

Or maybe I'm just getting old and grumpy? That's also possible.

*Fires up Snes9X, plays Super Metroid*

Steven R

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Re: Just record a playthrough of COD...

Why not let hard core gamers rent out a small screen at a multiplex to play their favourite game on a really big screen and sound system to an audience of friends?

Hmm ..friends

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Don't even bother

Just stick Metal Gear Solid on.

No-one can tell that it's a game anyway, it's just a over-complex silly film about a man in tight clothes.

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Go

Re: Just record a playthrough of COD...

Heh. Funny that they go straight for COD (which indeed can be made by simply doing a play through and passing that as the "film") when they have better stuff from their Blizzard side. I would rather see a StarCraft movie. With the actual owner of the stuff doing the movie, it will probably fare much better than other attempts like say, the Wing Commander movie (another one that could be simply have a play through passed as the movie, but at least that one was fun to play!).

By the way Steven, I feel you. Bioshock Infinite had a very good story, but the gameplay fell flat on me because it went down the "Call of Halo" route where everything's linear, you get two weapon limits, no meaningful choices to affect the ending (which the previous Bioshock titles did have) among other things. At least Wing Commander's ending was affected by both decisions made in the "intermission" scenes as well as the stuff you did during your missions. Infinite's choices ended up being irrelevant.

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what ever next !!

I presume EA & The Asylum will be joining forces, once EA can figure out how to make people pay for DLC in a film, maybe blanking the center of screen and charging to remove the block.

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Meh

GAME?

The Call Of Duty games are pretty much barely-interactive immersive movies anyway.

Unless of course the film will be based on the multiplayer experience... Good grief, please no.

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Re: GAME?

I quite enjoyed the early CoD games, which I got for a song on Steam - $9.99 for the first 4 games I think.

MW2 was disappointing, Black Ops was simply not fun (and I bought it not in a steam sale) and I'm never getting another game from that franchise.

I'm going through Far Cry (1) and that's so much more fun. You at least get the feeling that there isn't just one way to win. Val doesn't take over and do all the work for you (unlike the AI in BlOps - see MrBungle on youtube) and you can at least pick your own path through or around the battlefields. There's still quite a bit of insta-death but eventually you learn to pick a different strategy. That's strategy, not just route.

I can't imagine ever wanting to see a CoD film though. The games have mostly collapsed into multiplayer slugfests with humour and interest provided other opponants, not the game.

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Don't forget...

...that Activision has released the last few Zork entries.

I can see it now - Coming to a theater and game console near you: "Call of Duty - Grue Hunter!"

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FMV Sequences

If you check YouTube, there are hundreds of uploads of people simply playing all of the cinematics in a particular game to create a movie. And they're not half bad movies! In many cases, alot better than the drek turned out by Hollywoodland and their ilk.

One of the reasons that game movies never turn out right is that the people pulling the strings don't care about the lore, they care about the money the movie will bring in. So you get a live action movie centered around Jean Claude Van-Damnit and Gomez Adams with barely a nod at the already established lore. If you take a look at the animated movies, you see a much better audience reaction because they were more accurate.

The same could be said of "Judge Dredd" and then "Dredd". Slick Stallone wanted his face to be seen and refused to wear the helmet. Meanwhile, Karl Urban never took it off and you never once compared the roll to "Lord Vakko".

Ok, maybe it's too early for this... where's my tea?

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Stop

Lore?!?

Newsflash - this is not Middle Earth and you are not a wizard.

It's not "lore". It's (usually terrible) fiction.

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Re: Lore?!?

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lore

Definition of LORE:

3: a particular body of knowledge or tradition

It is pretty standard to refer to the in-game storyline as "lore". Just like fiction requires continuity to hang together, a compelling game does as well. And since WoW has been kicking for 10 years, I'd have to call that at least competent fiction.

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Re: Lore?!?

Not really, The Terminator is incompetent fiction at its best/worst and that's way older.

It's traditional for sword&sorcery RPGs to call their fiction "lore" in-game. Doing so outside the game is just indulging them. Especially when people talk about things like Mass Effect having "lore".

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Re: FMV Sequences

So you get a live action movie centered around Jean Claude Van-Damnit and Gomez Adams with barely a nod at the already established lore.

To be honest, Street Fighter II didn't have much "established lore" when that movie came out besides M. Bison being the bad guy and Sagat being his second-in-command. King of Fighters was notorious in having the story that SF lacked. Capcom started adding real background stories to SF sometime later, with the "Zero" and "Alpha" games, but before that there was no real "story" in the SF games. It's kinda like doing a Pacman movie based on the first Pacman game.

That said, many game-based movies end up being horribly mangled, especially those that had the bad luck of getting "adapted" by Uwe Boll. The one movie made by that dude that didn't suck (as long as you forget it's based on a game) would be Bloodrayne. That one works as a corny vampire movie.

However, I wonder if having the real team behind a movie adaptation would avoid the mangling? After all, Chris Roberts directed the Wing Commander movie and it sucked compared to the games. Even though he "directed" that particular saga...

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Coffee/keyboard

So does this mean that when a bunch of you go to see the movie, for no apparent reason whatsoever, one of you won't be allowed into the auditorium...before the rest of you are randomly kicked out 2/3rds of the way thru the movie?

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I want everyone who made "Guardians of the Galaxy", -and I mean literally every single person who worked on that movie in any capacity- to make the Starcraft movie. Now is the chance. This is the best shot that there ever will be to not screw it up horribly.

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Starcraft

I would think it'd be pretty ace to see them make a Starcraft movie in the style used by the game's campaign cutscenes

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Re: Starcraft

Actually, a StarCraft movie is the one I'd see having far more potential than any of their other franchises. They might even use the same cutscene tech and pull off a SquareSoft-ish movie with their existing tech!

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It can't be any worse than...

Doom

Mortal Kombat

etc etc

or can it?

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Re: It can't be any worse than...

yes it can. Four words to strike dread* into the hearts of all:

Duke Nukem: The Movie.

* dread because while this COULD and SHOULD be a wonderfully amusing and irreverent action movie it will, in all likelihood, be even worse than Duke Nukem Forever - the game that shouldn't have been.

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Re: It can't be any worse than...

Doom

Mortal Kombat

etc etc

or can it?

Daikatana : The Movie ????

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Joke

Re: It can't be any worse than...

Daikatana : The Movie ????

Uwe Boll is about to make you his bitch.

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"But having their own entertainment studio instead of licensing titles to outsiders could put Activision more firmly in control of the quality of output."

And that will make them better, will it?

There are two big problems/hurdles with video-game adaptions.

The first is that games are a different beast to movies/TV shows/books in that there is a level of immersion that comes from actually being part of the story. Even if it's linear and constrained, there is still involvement. There is also the necessary action part of any game* - the controlling of an avatar of some sort or another. This need to perform actions, be it timing jumps correctly, finding keys, aiming weapons, solving puzzles, picking a lock or just moving a character around, provides something other than the story to engage the player.

In that way, one can still enjoy a game with a lack-lustre story. The need to perform actions or provide a challenge can also dictate then way a game unfolds - the pacing or difficulty or world mechanics. It could be a major plot-point as well that is justifiable because it makes the game more fun/thrilling/difficult or simply longer. Many of these plot points and mechanics would seem contrived or pointless in a movie.

Other times, the story can be intentionally convoluted or vague and barely explained at all, with the developers leaving it up to the player to fill in the blanks as they see fit or giving them the option of finding out more about the world by doing side quests or collecting things. That works because many people don't actually care about the story that much and, even with a vague or hard-to-understand story, a player is usually kept occupied by the action part of the game.

Sometimes the esoteric or bizarre nature of a video game story adds to the experience of a game but would be frustrating in a movie. I didn't understand the story of Final Fantasy VII much at all when I first played it but it still was amazing - just the general movement of it and the small interplays were enough to bowl me over and it was all a fantastical, surreal journey that I got completely engrossed in. As a movie it would be annoying and, frankly, silly.

The second problem is that so many games are based off movies in the first place!

Even if a game is not a specific tie-in, it's easy to see elements of, say, the Aliens series in many sci-fi games. (Halo being the main one.) This is one reason why I believe that most Aliens games have been so-so; the concepts have been aped and adapted so often that they are pretty much stock by now. This is the case right through as elements of popular movies are imported into video games. This might be a setting, like Assassin's Creed: Black Flag capitalising on the popularity of Pirates of the Caribbean or a stock type, like the hardened but honest police officer out for justice/revenge, as utilised in (amongst others) Max Payne. Other times it might be style, such as some horror games borrowing from Hitchcock or Lynch.

Of course, this comes back around with movies borrowing from gaming.

What you end up with is material that is not really unique in setting or style and with a story that won't necessarily work well in a non-interactive medium used as the basis for a movie. That's why there are so many ordinary and, more usually, bad, video game adaptions.

There are two ways for a VG movie to work.

One is to have a unique aspect that modifies the world or plot in some way beyond the norm. But, crucially, that aspect must work well in a movie and be used with at least some restraint. Prince of Persia is a good example. It's not a terribly original story or setting but the whole 'Sands of Time' bit provides a good hook. In the game, this gives it an interesting mechanic that not only made combat a bit more fun but also allowed the developers to create tricky puzzles and sequences that might have led to frustration without the rewind button. For all I know, the concept may even have been created to explain the mechanism rather than the other way around. In the movie, however, it was kept as the plot device but its impact in the moment-to-moment action was negligible.

The other way is to just take the general idea of the story and characters and throw out all the 'game' stuff, building an essentially new, adapted story. This might mean getting rid of some characters that don't serve a real purpose in the new format and deleting sections/levels of the game that don't translate well or don't advance the story. The problem there is that, as noted, many games have rather generic stories and are held up by the 'game' elements so removing that leaves you with a somewhat bland movie. Gears of War, for example has a passable story but the meat of the experience is the solid cover mechanics, good AI and tense firefights requiring strategy and skill. Take that out and it's not so impressive a package.

The biggest problem that VG movies face, however, is the need - or perceived need - to please the fans. That leads us to the inclusion of all manner of things that have helped push VG movies over the line to ridiculous.

Things like the BFG and first-person perspective in Doom, Jean Claude Van Damme's somersault kick in Street Fighter, 'bullet time' in Max Payne and, inexplicably, the health bars in Dead or Alive.

* - At least any that would be made into a movie.

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Prince of Persia

On Prince of Persia: Sands of Time:

For all I know, the concept may even have been created to explain the mechanism rather than the other way around.

That's exactly how the concept came to be. They were dealing with levels that would cause severe frustration, but they wanted to 'em. Thus the 'Sands of Time' were born. It seems they basically implemented moving checkpoints with this, except instead of being "checkpoints" you get to see them as part of the story instead of "GAAAAME OOOOOVERRRRR TRY AGAIN!"

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Call of Duty Hacks and Cheats

The problem with Call of Duty based games are all the cheats and hacks that keep getting released. Check www.iwantcheats.com for example, they have every COD based cheat and they never had one detection.

In order to beat the hacks that are released developers need a huge anti-cheat team.

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