Thursday, February 07, 2008

Gore Verbinski needs to play No More Heroes

Gore Verbinski, the visionary director behind such groundbreaking, out-of-the-mainstream cinematic fare as the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and, uh, Mousehunt, knows where he stands on the question of game auteurs:

"On a design level, you need someone to carry the vision. It is time for the auteur of gaming."

"Homogenization of voice," he said, is the biggest issue facing the industries today.

As a director, "I fight tooth and nail for my opinion because I cannot stand watching a film that has too many of them," he said. Game designers' ideas should make executives "shit themselves," he added.

Of course, I agree with him, but considering that he's basing this on his disappointment with the Pirates of the Caribbean video games, maybe he ought to play more games before saying something like that. Sure, licensed games tend not to be worth the DVDs they're burned on. But taking those as representative of the breadth of interactive experiences available would be like -- well, like thinking Pirates of the Caribbean was emblematic of all movies. It's akin to railing on the hollowness of blockbuster films, having never heard of the Coen Brothers. These fascinating and singular games do exist.

Which is not to suggest that we shouldn't encourage more of them, or make room for more experimentation in game design. Obviously we should. I could not agree with this quote any more fully: "Let's not make games that remind us of a better version of the same thing. There is so much potential in this room. You haven't even scratched the surface of what is possible in terms of the human experience." It just sounds strange coming from the guy who made a movie about a gay pirate trying to save his cursed ship from the scariest special effects in the Caribbean.

Bonus Irony Alert:

"We're influencing each other," he said of games and film, "and that is exciting and dangerous and in fact a little bit mad."

Games influencing films? Why, that couldn't be...


Reggie Donovan said...

The Wikipedia entry alerted me to the existence of "Monkey Island: The Play," which was apparently written by a high school student who actually got the rights from LucasArts. Not only is my mind kind of blown, I'm a little depressed.

Anonymous said...

I like what he says about the potential of videogames. I often think about the basic frameworks of the medium, about how different it is and how huge it could be, but when all I see are shooters and sports games being made on a yearly bases I can understand why our industry gets so little respect from outsiders.

Big dollar publishers have had their heads and wallets stuck in a black hole for nearly twenty years, and only the growing indie scene or a AAA game with balls can set them free. Then anything will be possible.

Tyler said...

Huh. This says Orson Scott Card wrote the insults for the insult swordfighting part of the game. Who knew?

#87 said...

Apparently Verbinski is indeed quite an avid gamer, though; he's just not had time in the past few years because he's been doing movies. Give him time, and I'm sure he'll discover the gems we've had to sift through to find over these past months.