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Spielberg, Lucas and Del Toro talk games

Famous directors discuss the future and challenges facing the industry

Famous film directors Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have all shared their thoughts on the games industry at various events in LA this week, covering topics like immersion, emotions in games and adaptations.

"The second you get the controller something turns off in the heart, and it becomes a sport," Spielberg said on a panel at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and reported by Variety.

"We're never going to be totally immersive as long as we're looking at a square, whether it's a movie screen or whether it's a computer screen. We've got to get rid of that and we've got to put the player inside the experience, where no matter where you look you're surrounded by a three-dimensional experience. That's the future."

Spielberg has recently signed up for a live-action series based on the Halo franchise and in the past collaborated with EA on puzzle game Boom Blox. He also started work on, but eventually cancelled, another title with EA called Project LMNO.

Legendary Star Wars director George Lucas, meanwhile, thought a game aimed at women would be the next big thing in the industry.

"The big game of the next five years will be a game where you empathise very strongly with the characters and it's aimed at women and girls," he said.

"They like empathetic games. That will be a huge hit and as a result that will be the 'Titanic' of the game industry, where suddenly you've done an actual love story or something and everybody will be like 'where did that come from?' Because you've got actual relationships instead of shooting people."

The panel also featured Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business.

Elsewhere in LA Guillermo del Toro held a screening of upcoming title Pacific Rim, and Polygon reported that while there he spoke about what makes a movie adaptation work, and that in past the mistake has been in treat game spin-offs as an "ancillary product" rather than part of the universe.

"It should really be completing the world that you created in one medium in another," he explained.

"I will do it hand-made in the sense that I would get involved in every stage of it, in the same way that the comic book of Pacific Rim was created with very intense supervision because 99 percent of the time, comic books tied to movies are shit. So if you want it to be good, you have to be on it. The game would be the same."

Del Toro's own game, Insane, was cancelled by THQ before it shut down, but the director has since said he is in talks with a large games industry player to bring it back.

During the talk he also had praise for Irrational's Ken Levine, and the "beautiful cross-cultural references" in BioShock Infinite.

"Two days ago, my daughter and I finished - she finished it before me - Infinite, BioShock Infinite. It's such a great mindf***. It's also beautiful."

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Latest comments (11)

I hope they play games...
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@Chee -
Yeah, I have that uncomfortable feeling of listening to your best mates father talking about, "...those funny game thing'ys!"

Lucas' track record at managing game development, and especially sticking in his finger to disastrous effect - speaks volumes of his "skills".
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Mbuso Radebe Producer, Electronic Arts8 years ago
Del Toro apparently plays a lot of games and is a huge fan, hence the GLaDOS voice reference in the Pacific Rim trailers and he is also still working on making inSANE.
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Show all comments (11)
It's interesting to note that this same story is told different,y in the mainstream news, as more bout games not being able to have the true narrative ability afforded by films

Rather, they should be more enlightened that games and movies are approaching a singularity of interactive immersive entertainment where there is NO divide, just entertainment and you can influence and watch various narratives unfold at whim

It is also interesting to look back at spiel ergs LMNO

You have to wonder if Spielberg has insider knowledge sometimes
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Massimo Guarini Founding Director and CEO, Ovosonico8 years ago
Why don't we just stop being so closed minded and accept the fact that other non-gamers and non-fanatic people can actually say something, perhaps even meaningful, regarding our industry?
What's the matter with the "if you're not a fanatic gamer you are not allowed to say shit about our industry" thing?
If we want to grow and evolve, we'd better stop acting as this sort of elitist-geek club and instead open ourselves and our industry to external influences, cross-cultural collaborations and contrasting opinions from outsiders.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
Well, Massimo, EVERY product needs this "fanatic" base at some point. The arts as they are today wouldn't be around without some (more cultured) fanatics who keep it going through think and thin, products like cars, food and even some tech is improved by fanatics who want things they'll buy because they're better made and so forth and so on (er, that is when a company doesn't decide to dictate the future through a device or service that's too limiting to take more along with it...).

Granted, it helps if the people who love a product and the people who make it can understand each others' passions and bounce that in the right directions - toward the future.

External influences are fine, but when those influences are looking at one part of a market and deeming it an issue when there are other areas that prove them a bit wrong (plenty of indie games have moving stories and characters and aren't shooters or violent for that matter), I have to say some extra class work is in order on that side before taking all they say too seriously.
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what they had to say about the film business was very enlightening, and pretty sad. Suits are runing all our industries it seems.
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Kareem Merhej Designer, infoLink-inc8 years ago
Of the three only del Toro has a clue what he's talking about. I don't even know what to say about Mr. Lucas' comments other than "go play some games".

As for Mr. Spielberg: this will make some eyes roll but gamers are not affected by controllers. Old people are (sorry). When I put a controller in my hand and sit in front of a TV or monitor that manipulator becomes an extension of my brain, and I move through virtual worlds as easily as I do my own. Mr. Speilberg was either born too late or lost the ability to make the controller invisible, and I can understand that, but this is not actually a problem the medium has at all. Yeah, VR games will be sweet, sure - call me in 50 years when I shoot my brain commands into a game. Until then, controllers will suit me just fine.
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We have been working in the Digital Out-of-Home Entertainment (DOE) sector on more immersive gaming experiences - nicknamed by WIRED as Arcade 2.0 - a number in the film industry and the investment community have been walked through demonstrations of the technology and the word "immersive" has become the pet buzz word for a number "in the business"! I can only image that this is the reference for the comments - though to be honest, trying to explain to some in the film "business" the difference between interactive consumer and public-space play is... challenging.
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David Serrano Freelancer 7 years ago
@Massimo Guarini

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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee7 years ago
I don't think the controller is necessarily the problem as Spielberg described or looking at a box. What's going on in the world, the characters and the story is enough to make me feel like I'm inside the experience.

A good production can do that and ways we can make the worlds and characters more sophisticated and reactive are increasing all the time.

Many aspects of immersion don't even require more graphical or processing performance to achieve. It could be some of the simpler in game animations or some really interesting contexts or dilemmas created in a scene by the writer or director.
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