Speaking today at the DICE Summit for video game developers, JJ Abrams and Valve’s Gabe Newell announced a partnership. Using clips from Cloverfield, Jaws, Die Hard, Portal 2 and Half Life they demonstrated the respective storytelling strengths and weaknesses of video games and movies.
In movies, they said, the viewer can get frustrated by how passive the experience is. I’m not sure I actually agree with that. At all.
On the other hand, they did talk about how a video game player can miss out on all of the storytelling going on because they simply walk on by. That’s a real problem – but I think it’s also a fixable one.
And maybe the folks to fix it will be Valve and Abrams’ Bad Robot. Abrams and Newell said that they’ll be working together to try and create new games that learn from cinematic storytelling.
At the same time, they’ll also “look for a way” to translate Half Life and Portal to the big screen.
What’s the bigger deal? Abrams getting into games, or Abrams turning games into movies? Well, for me, it’s the latter. I think I actually prefer passive storytelling – or, rather, I prefer cinema as it stands as opposed to videogames as they almost are.
I believe the whole panel is going to be made available for open, public streaming rather shortly at Variety’s YouTube channel. I will update this story with an embed then.