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Rockstar's Dan Houser on the Convergence of Games and Film

Last week we reported on L.A. Noire's presence at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. This week, Rockstar VP Dan Houser spoke with the Hollywood Reporter about the connection the game and others like it have to film. Houser explained how the production of games and movies can intersect.

“With L.A. Noire, we employed a massive number of actors in the game--over 400--along with hair and make-up artists, a great television director, and as the game is set in the golden era of Hollywood, a lot of original costumes, props and other research from the studios themselves,” said Houser about the upcoming game. Obviously, that kind of production won't apply to every game, but with performance capture having a big part in triple-A storytelling these days, Hollywood has a real opportunity to get involved.

Of course, Houser isn't saying that games are parallel to movies. “There isn’t much production convergence. The process and form are too different--one is a linear, two hour experience that is fully curated and managed by the director, while the other is a 30-hour plus interactive experience in which the player has far more control over what they see,” he explained. “That being said, there will be increasing talent convergence as games continue to become a more interesting creative medium that requires a greater number and variety of Hollywood talent. Actors, writers, directors, make-up artists, production designers, musicians, sound engineers will all work in games alongside movies and television.”

While many developers complain that games are too expensive, Houser and the team at Rockstar are in a completely different league. The prevalent theory in our society is that triple-A experiences can't be sustained, but Rockstar seems intent on making them even more high budget than they already are. Combining the costs of games with the costs of Hollywood into a single production is a gamble that few seem willing to take.

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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