Gamovie – Is it a Game or is it a Movie?

Introduction

Whilst writing another post due later this week, I was thinking how cool it would be if you could completely blur the line between a movie and a game. Now I know this is a constant topic among game designers but give me a chance. This is just a concept, not a concrete proposal. For this concept I thought I had invented a new word but it seems other people have used it first (Damn!). The word is Gamovie

Put Simply

Imagine a game with a number of elements, shooting, role playing, driver etc. Now image a movie with exactly the same elements. The gamovie starts with a traditional movie (All CGI, by the way). After maybe five minutes the player is allowed to assume the role of the lead protagonist. It then switches to a game (Either first or third person, doesn’t really matter).

The player makes choices and performs certain actions. At any point the player can switch back to the movie.

This Would Never Work!

Well, maybe but a movie and a game have a lot in common. The end result is ALWAYS pre-determined. It’s whether the player has enough motivation to finish the game. Sure, you can have games with multiple endings but are they inherently better than games with one ending? I don’t think so. You can’t change the ending of a book but that doesn’t stop you enjoying it.

Let me give you an example. The Matrix. You watch the movie until until the fighting or shooting starts then you take over. If the story requires you to lose this particular battle then so be it. This particular section is unbeatable. Bit like some games where you played the Boss for a few minutes only for him to run off and live to fight another day.

Maybe you prefer the Role Playing elements of a game. In which case you watch the fights and shoot-outs and play the other parts. You could play the whole game or watch the whole movie, choice is yours.

This may work better with episodic content. A new chapter released every 9 months. I see lots of possibilities for this new style of game and movie, how about you?.

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21 Comments

  1. Did you get this link perchance?

    “Life After the Video Game Crash”

    [link]http://www.pointlesswasteoftime.com/games/crash.html [/link]

  2. Zockopa

    Well,this is in fact a very old idea. I guess the game “Fahrenheit” was the last fairly successfull implementation of this idea. However,for me personally it didnt work well. I like to be in a gaming world more. F.E.A.R. for example has done,despite its pre-Half-Life gamemechanics,a good job here and points in the right direction.

  3. So you can watch Fahrenheit as a whole movie, with no gameplay?

  4. Fluffy The Hamster

    Reminds me of live-action games… Oh, the hilarity.

    I can’t see how this would be any more fun or interesting then the usual games being made.

  5. James

    I think you are absolutely right, and that both games and movies will evolve in each other’s direction, especially as graphics cards get more and more advanced….but, the concept really does need another name than the one proposed, I mean honestly…..

  6. AI

    I’m not sure if this fits in this catigory, but I dl a movie that was made from the entire HL2 game, start to finish, no cut scenes! It was a fast play movie, very large, so I converted it to DVD format, and burned a DVD! The quality is not to good, but you learn alot of new tricks!

  7. Zockopa

    So you can watch Fahrenheit as a whole movie, with no gameplay?

    What are we talking about? Merging movie and
    game right ? Play Fahrenheit.

    BTW: Valve uses another more modern approach,which is quite successful executed in HL2 EP1.

  8. bumtown

    swat 1 is the best thing your gonna get to a game movie.

  9. What are we talking about? Merging movie and game right ?

    Read the damn post. My idea, whilst not new (Or so it seems) means that a player or viewer can play the whole game from start to finish or just watch it, start to finish. Or any combination in between.

    Play Fahrenheit.

    Downloading the demo now.

    I can’t see how this would be any more fun or interesting then the usual games being made.

    Sometimes things don’t need to be more fun or interesting just different.

    swat 1 is the best thing your gonna get to a game movie.

    Why?

  10. Fluffy The Hamster

    It does need to be fun and interesting to generate a community…

    To pull this off successfully, you need to have teams whom are both game engineers and movie engineers. You need to purchase the various equipment for both teams. One is going to have to make a full-length movie, the other is going to make a full-length game. The cost is going to go through the roof, so you’d better ensure that it’s worth the money.

  11. It does need to be fun and interesting to generate a community…

    Not everything needs a community.

    It doesn’t have to be a full length movie. Could produce a CGI movie for 30 minutes as a proof of concept.

  12. Mint_Sauce

    I can see what you’re getting at but I think for the amount of effort and the costs involved the payoff would be far too small.

    If however (and I’ve discussed this before with my mod partner) you created a game in the premise of a film, with non stop action literally pushing the player forward. You can have a fulfilling gaming experience but also with the feel of a movie. This is achieved because the game insists the player is constantly pushed.

    The player doesn’t feel as though he is being forcibly rushed as the action is dictating that he should be progressing as quickly as possible. For example, a nuclear bomb has gone off and the player is attempting to out run it with every means possible. This means the player may start on foot, running from a building which explodes behind him, he jumps in a car, the nuke inside the building gathers momentum. Then the player has to get to the airport, jump in a jet and fly low through canyons avoiding radar or whatever whilst still attempting to outrun the nuke.

    Anyway, I think this kind of approach is about as close as you’re going to get to involving the player in an action movie type scenario.

    If you really want to merge real footage and game play, well that’s just basically extended FMV but with real people surely?

  13. Fluffy The Hamster

    That would be one slow nuke…

    The merging or footage and game play has been done before… Live-action gameplay, I believe it is called. I believe that every game made reached the lowest score point on every review show and magazine in existance.

  14. I like your theory/thinking but its been done in full games before(not in mods just full games)I just cant see it becoming mainstream at this point because it would require everyone to have 9800 gfx oc(made up number) cards or something along that nature that not everyone could afford at this time

  15. I think for the amount of effort and the costs involved the payoff would be far too small.

    Maybe, would be nice to find out though.

    but also with the feel of a movie.

    I’m not trying to get a game to feel like a movie. I want to simply switch between the two. I am quite happy with how games play at the moment (Of course I always want more, but you know what I mean).

    If you really want to merge real footage and game play, well that’s just basically extended FMV but with real people surely?

    I don’t. I think people have missed the part about the movie being CGI. In fact I think the concept is entirely possible (Although probably would be crap!) in Half-Life 1, I am sure Half-Life 2 would be better.

    I just cant see it becoming mainstream at this point because it would require everyone to have 9800 gfx

    You might be right about it not becoming mainstream but again I think you’ve missed the point about the type of movie.

    The Matrix example probably was bad because it set the tone regarding the type of movie.

  16. Matt Glanville

    You can’t change the ending of a book but that doesn’t stop you enjoying it.

    That’s surely because as the reader of a book you are an observer, watching events unfold as a result of the actions of others.

    When you play a game you are a participant (usually the most influential participant at that). What fun is participating if you know your actions won’t make a difference?

    Personally I’m not bothered either way. I’d rather see a well written compulsory ending than half-arsed multiple endings, but that’s not to say I prefer games with only 1 ending. The Silent Hill series pulls off multiple endings excellently.

    But anyway, I’ve just deviated quite a lot here. Sorry.

  17. bumtown

    Because swat 1 is an iteractive movie game thingie

  18. Fluffy The Hamster

    Live-Action FMV Game is the appropriate term.

  19. Here’s a couple of useful links for those that are still interested.

    Full Motion Video Games.
    Full Motion Video on Wikipedia.

    The last point I want to make is that I wasn’t trying to suggest using movies as cut scenes but allow the player complete control over what they saw and what they watched.

  20. Actually, this reminds me of something the kids used to enjoy: “Choose your own ending” books. Stories that had multiple branchings, based on choices the reader makes, that take him/her to different sections to continue toward an ending, that changes with every choice made.

    There’s a HL2 mod, I forget the name at the moment, that does something like this, where you have to kill Breen and Alyx; if you miss one or the other, or both, you end up dead and the story ends with some sort of text-announcement of your demise and the results of said demise. I think DOOM3 has a similar choice built into the game, but it doesn’t change things much.
    Sort of what he’s thinking, but not quite.

    To make it a truly interactive movie, one needs to create multiple branch points, where a choice by the player changes everything at the end of the game, and the path taken to said end. And to make it even more interesting, making the “net” of choice/paths such that a set of choices could lead you to the SAME ending, evne though your play was totally different from the original path/ending. The limitation of this would be how many endings one could make; the in-game choices are already mind-bogglingly huge.

    I say it can be done. It will depend on the amount of work and programming that can be put into the concept, to make it work.

  21. To make it a truly interactive movie

    I disagree. If we look at current movies then the viewer cannot change what happens. My idea doesn’t change this. I’m not looking at changing the ending in any way, shape of form.

    What fun is participating if you know your actions won’t make a difference?

    But that’s exactly what happens with most games. You play and all you do is furfull the design of the game developer. IS that less fun because you have two endingds: To complete the mission and becomne the hero/heroine or you fail, for whatever reason.

    All I am suggesting is interacting with the predefined plot.

    Multiple ending are a completely separate
    subject.

    I do, however, feel that it is possible to interact with the movie, without changing its outcome.

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