Film or a game or something else?
Choosing a medium of expression in 2023
I’m feeling like I need to start on a new “serious” project- I finished pre-production on what was supposed to be my next animated feature film “The way to nowhere” over a year ago now-
I didn’t pull the trigger on it in 2022 because I didn’t feel like committing to a multi-month project especially since I was traveling so much and working on dumb little things like Derp Souls and updating Nightmare Puppeteer.
But yeh- now I feel like taking on a big meaningful project- BUT in what medium?
Should it be a “film”?
Should it be a “game”?
Should it be a hybrid of the two?
Since I am an animated filmmaker AND a game developer I have these options open to me-
A film is a non-interactive work you experience in a passive way- sit and watch it
A game is an interactive work you experience in a passive way- sit and play it
You can make “art” with each but the medium does change how you the storyteller can express your story- with a film you have all the control- with a game you have most of the control (depending on how free/restrictive the gameplay is)
I hate games that try to be films- they take the fun out of the game side and make a shitty film on the film side-
I hate films that try to be games- the fine artistry is lacking and the execution is gimmicky
Here’s the journey of this project so far…
Planned it initially as a normal film- storyboarded the whole thing + made actors etc
Decided it should be a mix of gameplay + cinematics with branching narratives- researched different interactive narrative techniques
Decided then it should just be a pure game- third person platformer
Back to thinking of it as a normal film
Then to thinking of it as a normal film thats released as an executable like I did with M doll
As a filmmaker the thing about games I really don’t like is that the player is the cinematographer and players are HORRIBLE cinematographers haha
Also the player is the animator in that they control what animations are played when- again the player is terrible at doing that (from the perspective of the director)
So when you make a game you have to let go of these film/cinema ideas so then its no longer a film- that might be fine BUT if you have specific things you want to express and you can operate at a high level with cinematography/timing/animation/blocking you are just throwing those skills/abilities in the trash-
So one might say- just bake in complete control of the camera etc BUT then you are limiting the gameplay and making it into a shitty game in my opinion-
So I think the film should be purely a film and any game should be all about the gameplay-
So where does this leave me now?
If you played the M doll Interactive(coming soon to Steam) you know that in that you were able to “jump into the scenes” and play them as an interactive- it was focused on “behind the scenes” and making of stuff-
I’m going to take this concept further and in a different direction-
I designed the M doll interactive gameplay stuff AFTER I had already finished the film which limited what I was able to do-
With the new project I’m working on the interactive side from the start- the current plan is to allow the viewer to jump into the scenes like M doll BUT the scenes will be gameplay as part of a game(with progression etc)-
So the plan for the new project is to be a film AND a game in one executable but separated by modality
Film Scene 0 ← → Game level 0
Film Scene 1 ← → Game level 1
The game level corresponding to the film scene does not have to be in the same physical scene etc- they can be two different timelines etc- it gives me a lot of flexibility-
Thats the plan for now…. but I am known to change my mind.