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EA Discusses Spielberg Game Collaboration

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the so-spielbergian dept.

23

simoniker writes "As part of a wide-ranging interview with EA Los Angeles' Neil Young, the exec has been talking about how EA's collaboration with Steven Spielberg is working, commenting: 'Well, he doesn't like come into work, grab his lunch and set down for the day. Basically, it's probably best described as a writers' table on a TV show... it's Stephen, [Looking Glass veteran] Doug Church, who's producing his first game, me, a couple of the designers, Ryan Church [no relation to Doug], who did the walkers for War of the Worlds...' Young also commented of Spielberg: '...he's pretty conversant in the medium. He plays a lot of games.'"

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For those of you... (2, Informative)

minitual (966089) | more than 8 years ago | (#15384539)

For those of you who don't know. Neil Young [wikipedia.org] is a singer/songwriter from Toronto. It is rumored that he has been collaborating with EA to create a new epic RPG: "Heart of Gold".

Not All It's Cracked up To Be... (0)

voice of unreason (231784) | more than 8 years ago | (#15384604)

Judging by this article, I'm not certain that this collaboration is such a good thing. It's nice that Spielberg likes games. But if you go to any major game development forum, such as gamedev, you'll see lots newbies who think that they already know how to make games just because they know how to play them. That's not really the case. It requires a lot of study, and I'm not sure that Spielberg realizes this. Also, you have to consider that gaming and movies are different mediums, with their own strengths and weaknesses. The fact that Spielberg is good at one form of creative endeavor does not mean that he is automatically good at another. Consider the reverse: John Carmack is a good game developer. Imagine him trying to make a movie. The result probably wouldn't be too pleasant. Spielberg's in the same boat: trying to make something in a medium that he has no experience in.

Re:Not All It's Cracked up To Be... (3, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15384732)

It's nice that Spielberg likes games.

He also designs them. The Dig [wikipedia.org] , anyone?

And let's not forget that the company that published The Dig (LucasArts) was formed because George Lucas wanted to design Atari games. (BallBlazer, Rescue on Fractalus, etc.)

Re:Not All It's Cracked up To Be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15384900)

John Carmack is a good game developer. Imagine him trying to make a movie.

He pretty much did. [imdb.com]

Re:Not All It's Cracked up To Be... (4, Interesting)

apflwr3 (974301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15385176)

Judging by this article, I'm not certain that this collaboration is such a good thing. It's nice that Spielberg likes games. But if you go to any major game development forum, such as gamedev, you'll see lots newbies who think that they already know how to make games just because they know how to play them.

Actually, Spielberg was a (if not "the") creative force behind Medal of Honor when it was first released on the Playstation. To be fair, I can't say with certainty his involvement wasn't much more than saying "Dreamworks should do a WW2 first person shooter" while filming Saving Private Ryan. Still, he's hardly a 'newbie.'

Re:Not All It's Cracked up To Be... (2, Interesting)

Half a dent (952274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15385514)

"Also, you have to consider that gaming and movies are different mediums, with their own strengths and weaknesses. The fact that Spielberg is good at one form of creative endeavor does not mean that he is automatically good at another."

For evidence of this you only need to look at Chris Roberts and his Wing Commander movie:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0131646/ [imdb.com]

The games became more and more film like (although the game play didn't really improve that much). The film was really a major disappointment while the original game was pretty ground breaking.

It really comes down to the differences in the media - movies are about telling a story, games are about living that story. We also get bored if a movie is more than 90 minutes and annoyed if we can complete a game in less than a weekend. If Speilberg can make a great game then cool, I'll be happy but I certainly wouldn't take it for granted that he can.

Re:Not All It's Cracked up To Be... (4, Interesting)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15385601)

To be fair Carmack's role is more along the lines of cinematographer then director.
He may be the headliner at ID, but he is the technical lead, not art/design.

Carmack would certainly not have any difficulty in working on movie CG technology, and would probably be a considerably better camera man than the average Jo.

Similarly the is no reason that a good director should not be able to handle the art direction on a game as easily as a film.

On the other hand the writing of a film is in no way comparable to the design of a game. However Spielberg doesn't write his film's and the is no reason to suppose he will try and design a game without expert help.

Mod parent up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15385947)

A director is usually accredited with the work of the cinematographer. They do camera angles, etc. A director tells them what kind of feel he wants, and they run the angles past him - and he decides which one he likes.

A director is more like a coach than anything else. He has a vision, and he tells other people what he wants his vision to be. Other people actually make the vision happen.

Re:Not All It's Cracked up To Be... (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388805)

To be fair Carmack's role is more along the lines of cinematographer then director. He may be the headliner at ID, but he is the technical lead, not art/design.

Maybe a better analog would be:
Carmack is to video games as James Cameron is to cinema.

Not necessarily known for his directing efforts (such as they are) but definitely highly regarded for pioneering technical innovation.

(P.S. Hi John! How pleased are you that Google returns this picture [wired.com] for a search on your name?)

May well be (3, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388206)

Actually, a pet peeve of mine with games, although I a fan of story-drive RPGs, is that most game devs just have no fucking clue how to tell a story. Yes, we occasionally get games like KOTOR or even Oblivion, but they're the exceptions in a sea of sub-productions which just can't tell a story. (And if you look at what, say, Penny Arcade had to say about Grandia 2, and Tycho's resulting rant about japanese RPGs as a whole, you'll see that at least I'm not the only one who sees it that way.)

"Consider the reverse: John Carmack is a good game developer. Imagine him trying to make a movie."

Yet you'd cheerfully let a game programmer like Carmack write the story for a game, eh? Because that happens every day. Some guy who's been a talented programmer, or maybe an artist, gets promoted to "game designer" instead of to management, as would happen in the enterprise world. He's now a "veteran of the industry", has worked X thousands of hours on implementing other people's ideas in Y games, so he just _has_ to be just about ready to design one, right?

Actually, "Peter's Principle" says he probably isn't. Scripting other people's scenario doesn't make one good at writing an original story, any more than hauling bricks for a cathedral makes one an architect. He can maybe even know how to design a good monster or an encounter that can be scripted well, but telling a story is just not his forte. (Though translating one into C++ or Python might be.)

I remember reading a Clive Barker interview after Undying got released, and basically he mentions some of the uninspired stuff the original game design had. Like the coaxing he had to do to get the devs out of the idea that, basically, "scary horror game == a bigger end-level boss with predictable attacks." As Clive Barker said, that's actually the _least_ scary thing you can possibly put into a game.

And having played enough games to have enough info for an opinion there, I'll 100% side with Clive Barker on that one: there's no freaking way a giant boss battle can possibly invoke horror. It can cause an adrenaline rush, it can cause frustration, it can do lots of things, but fear is one thing it _won't_ invoke, no matter what you texture that boss like.

That's just the thing: they just keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again, and don't even realize when it doesn't fit the story or theme at all. People who worked on coding or painting a giant boss for the end-level since the Atari 2600 or NES, assume that telling a story is all about having a giant boss with predictable attacks at the end of the level. That's what they've learned, that's what they've played, that's what they've been asked to code over and over again. At some point it gets mistaken for the _only_ way (or at least the _right_ way) to tell a story in video game format.

So basically, you know, I'm not that scared of seeing someone from the movie business have another try, for a change. In fact, I'm really looking forward to it. At least some of those guys _do_ know how to tell a story. Not all, but enough do. Sure, they've done it in another medium before, but it still beats seeing someone stuck in a Super Mario Bros mentality trying to write a story.

Ooh! (0)

LaurenBC (924800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15384613)

This must be that innovation we heard about over here [slashdot.org] . Because uh, games based on movies are so FRESH!

Not the first time (2, Insightful)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 8 years ago | (#15384791)

Spielberg has been involved in the creative side of game development before. Back in the 90's he wrote the original story for Lucasarts' The Dig [wikipedia.org] . It was a personal favourite of mine, though it didn't meet with quite the level of success it really deserved.

Re:Not the first time (1)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 8 years ago | (#15384901)

There was also the FMV PC game "Steven Spielberg's Director's Chair [wikipedia.org] ", which was pretty good, when it didn't crash.

Re:Not the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15385477)

Writing the story for a game and designing a game are completely different things. I doubt Spielberg had any hand in designing the flow of The Dig, the puzzles, and the varying challenge and directing player progress. He wrote plot, which outlined the game roughly for the designers on the project.

I woulnd't sweat it though because that's more than likely all he's doing with EA's project as well. EA just wants him to be a part of it so they can slap his name on the box as though he's the only guy who worked on it, and sell millions on the name recognition and hype. In turn this also allows EA to push its (stupid) idea that Hollywood and games are one and the same.

Re:Not the first time (1)

Jarlsberg (643324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388705)

The Dig was brilliant, but arrived too late (and looked dated on release) to make the kind of impact it would have if it had been released when it was intended to.

I know it was made by Natsume... (1)

EddieBurkett (614927) | more than 8 years ago | (#15384992)

EA Los Angeles' Neil Young
I wonder if he worked on Harvest Moon [amazon.com] .

EA is a black hole when it comes to Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15385263)

the exec has been talking about how EA's collaboration with Steven Spielberg is working

I wish EA would start collaborating with some of their customers. I bought a game online from eastore last month and it hasn't arrived yet. UPS says that it was returned to EA due to a shipping address error. EA hasn't responded to any of the emails that I sent them asking them to ship it to the correct address that was specified when the order was placed (they shipped it to the correct street address but with the billing address zipcode).

Just in case someone from EA reads this, the order number is 41983440. Send me my damn game, please.

Convergence.. (1)

vega80 (852274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15385460)

In the mid 90's, there was talk of the "convergence" of Hollywood and the videogame industry. Spielberg got all excited, and with his cronies K & G, they started Dreamworks Interactive. They realized that videogames was really hard to do, and videogame players were more fickle than movie customers. So they sold off Dreamworks Interactive to EA, which became EALA. And now, Spielberg has the videogame itch again.. stick to movies, Steve, and leave videogame development to the pros.

Re:Convergence.. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15386319)

They have pros at EA?

I kid, I kid..

He should make a game about how his people did WTC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15386540)

Goddamned jew.

Aw, give him a chance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15387764)

lots of game designers need more movie making ideas implemented. We are now getting to a point where non-techs can do more in game design... taken a while, and still has a ways to go, but it is here. Clive Barker (Hellraiser movies) did a video game a few years back - some bizzare 3d game about a haunted house type of thing. Got it at home somewhere. That game wasn't hard enough. Hopefully Spielsburg will do a better job of actually making the game somewhat difficult.

Stop dabbling, start designing. (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15388854)

I'd like to see some more top-tier directors really get their hands dirty and stop trying to 'pair' a video game effort with whatever the latest film is (*cough*KingKong*cough). A modern game is arguably a more delicate and sophisticated medium than film, seeing as many games incorporate the gamut of film language, and then some. (I'm not just talking cut-scenes here.)

There are so many variables at work in a well-executed game that I would love to see an old-school film master like Spielberg really take a serious crack at it. I don't want a game tie-in to Munich, but I'd sure as hell like to see an immersive, provoking experience ('game' really saddles us, doesn't it?). Or something like Memento, which would really lend itself to multiple fracturing plotlines and up the replay value considerably.

Videogame industry 2006 = film industry 1926.

Obligatory Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15389396)

EA: Listen, Senor Spielbergo, I want you to do for EA what Spielberg did for Oskar Schindler.
Spielbergo: Er, Schindler es bueno, EA es el diablo.
EA: Listen, Spielbergo, Schindler and EA are like peas in a pod: we're both factory owners, we both instituted forced labor programs for the Nazis, but mine worked, dammit! Now go out there and win me that festival!
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