Videogames and Cinema: A Good Marriage?
It’s true that we’re living in the multimedia era. Every single piece of content created nowadays is made for multi-platform consumers; so its original conception is an idea of which the very first premise is to be ready for being distributed and accessible on any existing channel (TV, cinema, YouTube, etc.).
If we set up this situation as our starting point, maybe we’ll be able to understand why it is more and more common to find out that videogames are gaining ground on the media mentioned before. Videogame plots are no different from a cinema plot or Netflix plot, except for one big huge difference; they allow gamers to live the story in real time and in some of them you can take determining decisions, so that story we were talking about can be even more personal.
Let’s see some examples:
Many years ago, FIFA videogames started having a game mode named ‘My Career’ where people could create and develop a whole completely personalised football career. The idea was really successful, but it was some time later when developers decided to turn it up a notch, putting together videogames and cinema. My career ended up having a cinematographic plot filmed in 3D animation studios, using actors and techniques more typical of Hollywood (but we shouldn’t forget that we’re talking about a football videogame).
Exactly the same happened with the NBA franchise a couple of years ago. However, in NBA 2K19 it has gone above and beyond; the cast has actors like Anthony Mackie, Michael Rapaport, Haley Joel Osment and Aldis Hodge among others. This fact shows us the exponential trend that cinema and videogames are setting. This is not only based on NBA 2K19 partnering with an excellent cast, or FIFA filming a whole mode of play, but also because in the past Kit Harrington appeared in Call of Duty, Nathan Fillion appeared in Halo 5 and Rami Malek in Until Dawn.
Talking about these closer relationships, we couldn’t finish without mentioning that the cinema also has been nourished by videogames. Assassin’s Creed, Tomb Raider, Hitman, Prince of Persia, Warcraft, Angry Birds … the list is quite long. If Hollywood is good at anything, it is squeezing every last drop out of good ideas wherever they come from and that could be the reason why gamers tremble every time they announce a new film adaptation. You won’t be able to condense the whole experience of an astonishing videogame such as Halo, (which is for me the best game I’ve ever played), into a 2 hour film.
As a summary, we can see that the videogame industry is using cinema techniques when developing their own products, which improves the final result. However, in the opposite direction, the film industry isn’t getting good reviews for its adaptations, which leads us to ask ourselves “Will videogames take the position of cinema in a not so distant future?”
Alvaro Abenza Sánchez
Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Molina de Segura