He’s 71 so there’s not much time left to do it!
Last week, the cinema world lost one of its giant giants. I refer to George A. Romero as a giant giant for two reasons: 1) He basically invented an entire genre of film, and 2) the motherfucker was 6’4”. Goddamn that is tall.
If you haven’t seen it yet, please stop reading this and go watch the original Night of the Living Dead. Then watch 1978’s Dawn of the Dead. Then watch Creepshow and The Crazies. Then, for a laugh, watch Knightriders. Then watch Day of the Land. Then stop because that’s about the point he ran out of steam. His later work aside, George Romero’s pioneering films have played a great role in today’s entertainment, from The Walking Dead to Call of Duty Zombies. Hell, he even directed a trailer for Resident Evil 2. Dead Rising put a nice little label on its box art exclaiming it isn’t a Dawn of the Dead game even though it totally is. You can barely swing a cat around without hitting something featuring zombies. I only wish he had to chance to make a zombie video game before he passed.
This thought eventually snowballed into the Destructoid Discusses Question of the Week. We’ve had film directors tackle games before. Steven Spielberg had those Boom Blox games on the Wii. Guardians of the Galaxy auteur James Gunn wrote the script to Lollipop Chainsaw. Spike Lee wrote and directed Livin’ Da Dream for NBA 2K17, the story mode starring Frequency Vibrations, a name white people are no longer allowed to make fun of because we name our kids shit like Khaleesi. And I assume Night Trap was created by Tommy Wiseau.
Some great things have come out of film directors giving gaming a shot — and also Boom Blox). So I wanted to know which directors our staff would love to see create a video game. I mean, a director other than the obvious choice of George Miller.
If that name doesn’t ring a bell, George Miller is the acclaimed director of Babe: Pig in the City, Happy Feet, The Witches of Eastwick, Lorenzo’s Oil, and some car movies. He’s a wonderfully inventive filmmaker, unafraid to set his sights on any genre imaginable. If gaming is going to continue its incessant push to becoming more like big summer blockbusters, shouldn’t we just get the greatest action film director ever to lead the way? Mad Max: Fury Road is, in my opinion, the greatest action film ever. The second greatest? Rambo, but Mad Max 2 is a close third. Even the first and the third films are goddamn entertaining.
It’s as if this guy doesn’t know how to make a bad action film, and that’s why he needs to make an action game. He’s certainly a better choice than the chucklefucks listed below.
After initially being overwhelmed by all the great filmmakers I could choose for this topic, I managed to settle on one name: Hideaki Anno.
No, it’s not because I’m a lifelong otaku whose formative years were in the mid-90s. You have to think about the question in another way: what can be gained from a filmmaker collaborating on a video game? I’m going to put myself out there and say, it’s not about finding someone who can weave a great narrative. The techniques and skills used to tell a great story with film are different from the ones used to tell a great story through a game. One is fundamentally about giving the audience agency, while the other is not.
Instead, I thought about other things great film directors do. They imbue their films with intriguing ideas. They have a distinctive visual style. They craft memorable worlds. All of these things make for great games as well, and I think Hideaki Anno would be fascinating at the helm of one.
This is the guy who created Neon Genesis Evangelion. While it’s not a masterpiece of narrative, it does show off Anno’s ability to create an engaging fictional world. Through his feature film The End of Evangelion he tackles the nature of human interaction, bringing up questions I’d absolutely love to be able to explore in a video game. And through his subsequent films (including the underrated Love & Pop) Anno established his own visual language. He has a set of shots and compositions that he goes to frequently, a noticeable rhythm to his editing, and sometimes even incorporates different media into his films. Given what I’ve seen of his body of work, I think a Hideaki Anno game would be (if nothing else) visually quirky and thematically insane. We could always use more games like that.
Tommy Wiseau. Do I need to even explain why? You know you’d play a Tommy Wiseau game. He has the experience with unique storytelling and his own YouTube game show, in case you forgot that, yes, he actually did that. Hi Doggy.
I’d have to go with Paul Verhoeven. Despite some missteps in his later career (*cough* Hollow Man *cough*), this man brought us three of the greatest Sci-Fi movies ever created: Robocop, Total Recall, and Starship Troopers. All three are classic action films, but they’re a lot more sophisticated than they might first appear on the surface. The most stunning example is Starship Troopers. It perfectly parodies it’s source material, a novel by Robert A. Heinlein, while maintaining its own distinct identity. There’s plenty of scenes that are easy to spot as satire building off of old Fascist propaganda films, but the thing that makes it work so well is that almost all of the scenes do this. Even the more subtle moments, like when they’re sitting in a classroom talking about what it means to be a “citizen”, carry this theme without ever fully clueing its viewers into just how heavy-handed it’s message really is.
More importantly, killing bugs looks like a lot of fun! Many attempts have been made to adapt Verhoeven’s work, and all of them have failed on the most basic of levels. I’d love to see the man help with a video game adaptation worthy of the Starship Troopers name!
As soon as CJ proposed this topic, the idea of Paul Thomas Anderson crafting a noir Telltale game in the style of Inherent Vice popped into my head.
PTA has created some of the best characters in the last 20 years of film, a long list that includes Dirk Diggler, Frank Mackey, Daniel Plainview, and Eli Sunday. His influence is felt throughout his projects given that he writes, directs, and produces nearly all of his films. Giving a Telltale game more focus is only a good thing, and the depth he’ll inevitably provide the cast will demand multiple playthroughs.
Somehow, through sheer force of will, he’s able to make us care about ensembles as big as Magnolia‘s, which is a rare gift. After witnessing a new renaissance of flat writing and one-dimensional villains, his nuance would be welcome in the industry.
Occams Electric Toothbrush
It’s hard to describe the brilliance of Gaspar Noe for me. His stuff kind of pushes all my buttons. Vivid, jarring visuals. Deliberate use of color. I’m a visual creature so his movies are immediately captivating. His style is associated with something called Cinema of the Body which features, “an attenuated use of narrative, generally assaulting and often illegible cinematography, confrontational subject material, a treatment of sexual behavior as violent rather than mutually intimate, and a pervasive sense of social nihilism or despair.”
I like to be challenged by film. I like to be made uncomfortable and use that moment as a catalyst to change how I view film as an artistic medium. That’s why I think Gaspar Noe could make some fucked up, beautiful and brilliant video games. I firmly believe that video games as a medium can be transcendent as a narrative tool and create experiences entirely new to us. It’s science magic. Watch the opening credits from Enter the Void and then imagine the man who created that making video games. My heart swells at the thought.
Roger Corman, for six decades, has shat out movies like there’s no tomorrow. Capitalizing on any and all trends, Corman would direct/produce rip-offs of popular films within weeks, bringing them back to the studio on time and under budget. Death Race 2000, Piranha, Caged Heat and Bloodfist II all fall under the banner of Corman’s New World Pictures.
Roger managed this feat by simply giving no fucks about anything but the clock and the cash. If effects and music could be spliced in from his other movies, he did it. If a vital, dramatic scene was delayed because the set wasn’t ready, he just threw some boobs in there instead. Got no money for a spaceship? Fuck it, Get James Cameron to make one out of a Big Mac box.
In an age where antsy publishers hold super-tight reins on their developer’s visions, whilst having paranoid meetings about brand-potential, monetizing and focus reports, it would be so refreshing to have Corman hack together some GTA-style Women-in-Prison game starring, I dunno, Linda Blair and Sybil Danning. Features would include a soundtrack spliced from old movies, characters liberally “borrowed” from other games, missing cut-scenes because no cash, space bikini Valkyries and a break-dancing robot sidekick.
…Actually, I gotta go, I got a video game to crowdfund.
I want to make Hayao Miyazaki design a game. I want this not because I think he has anything special to contribute to games, necessarily. Despite the way games have attempted to ape film, good game design and good film direction are pretty different disciplines. Very few “cinematic” games have succeeded by the standards of cinema, and very few films have successfully adapted games.
So why Miyazaki, a man whose animated films have given the world (and even myself) so much joy? I mainly want to make him do it because in addition to being arguably being Japan’s greatest living creator, he’s also a very grumpy old man who loves to complain and is too damn old to be polite, and I want to clown on him by forcing him to direct a project in a medium he has little affection for.
And who knows? The man’s rep is well-earned, so he could actually turn out something awesome! Some of the most memorable games of all time were made by people with experience and qualifications from outside the culture and industry of games, so with the right team, something great could result from the old sensei’s ordeal.
Leave the arthouse cinema at pretentious film festivals, guys. What we really need is a game director with balls. Someone who can take an ordinary shot, throw some blood and barf on it, and turn it into something equal parts batshit insane and sadistically genius. We need Sam Raimi to direct a game.
Now don’t get me wrong – Raimi has a wide array of work ranging from gritty dramas to Satanic gore to whatever the hell that Oz movie was. He’s human after all, but moreover, he has impressive range. But where Sam truly shines is his inventive brand of horror. He tends to put his leads through hell and back all to create his vision, all the while inventing new camera techniques to get shots other people wouldn’t dream of. Watch Evil Dead II or Drag Me to Hell if you disagree. If you still disagree afterward, maybe we should see other people.
As a visual medium, gaming would do nothing but benefit from Raimi’s unhinged method of storytelling. Remember how fucking pumped we all were at the prospect of del Toro and Kojima teaming up for what would have undoubtedly been the most amazing thing to ever come out? Think of Raimi and Suda51 joining forces to create the most insane, off-the-wall horror/action/dark comedy you’ve ever seen and try not to shit your pants. I just shit mine. And if you feel otherwise, I’ll shit yours, too.
It took me a bit to think about a director I’d like to see take a stab at games. In terms of directors in my thoughts recently, I kept coming back to Matthew Vaughn.
It’s simple really, I’m not looking for some crazy deep story telling from the guy. Just the over the top level of action he brought to projects like Kingsman and Kick Ass in video game form.
If a movie director were to make a game, it would have to be someone who knows how to have a good time. One person who comes to mind is Koichi Sakamoto. The man brought us great moments like the part in Kamen Rider Fourze where the hero rode a motorcycle into outer space to kick a large scorpion monster back to Earth. Then there’s his brilliant idea to have a team of people use the powers of dinosaurs and Samba music to crush evil in Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger. With his ability to get his audience energized, he’s the perfect person to direct a ridiculous action game.
But wait, isn’t Sal supposed to pick a movie director? Well, my choice is a correct one since Sakamoto directed Kamen Rider Fourze the Movie: Everyone, It’s Space Time! and Tatsunoko’s live-action Hurricane Polymar film. Just like his television projects, his style remains consistent in his motion pictures. If Sakamoto is given the proper working environment, he could bring us a title that’s on par with Treasure and Platinum’s stuff.
Another one of Sakamoto’s traits is his tendency to have the women show off their legs. In fact, he went beyond that in Red x Pink/Girl’s Blood, an action romance movie about underground women’s wrestling. Even if he gets carried away with these elements, his female characters tend to be badasses. This also makes him the great candidate to create a spiritual successor to the Rumble Roses series. Whether it’s an action title or one about Lucha Libre, his experience with over-the-top productions will result in one of the most amusing games of the year.
Simply put: I want to see Jodorowsky’s DOOM.
Alejandro Jodorowsky was nothing short of ambitious. Dune is one of the best science fiction novels ever written, but being quite long and complex is extremely difficult to translate to film. Alejandro Jodorowsky had in mind a ten-hour epic treatment of the subject matter, complete with an entire soundtrack written by Pink Floyd, which ultimately never hit the ground running due to budgetary constraints and the overall obtuse nature of the film he had in mind. Rights later passed to Dino De Laurentis, and instead, we got the divisive David Lynch adaptation, a film I personally love but which was a critical failure and only a small cult classic today. Later we would get a mini series which, with a much lengthier run time, would give the story more room to breathe but which was ultimately a bit of a disappointment.
Apart from overall length, the thing Jodorowsky did was take many creative liberties with the subject matter. With H.R. Giger doing concept art, and a radically different plot from the original story, and a script the size of a phone book, it could have been an epic masterpiece of sci-fi, or at the very least, one hell of a cult film to show in marathon sessions at conventions.
I think video game movies need a kick in the junk this way. I have seen a few that try to remain so literal to their subject matter that they completely miss the mark. Games just don’t translate very well to film, and the ones that are the most memorable (even if they are panned by audiences and critics alike) are generally the ones that aren’t afraid to stray a bit from the subject matter.
Look at the Super Mario Bros. movie for example. I think it’s fucking wonderful. I mean, it’s a shitty movie with god awful script writing, but the actual world it’s set in is so unique that I give the people behind it points for trying to adapt what is frankly impossible source material into something roughly workable. They tried to be creative with the license, and while it didn’t work on all fronts, it was at the very least somewhat visually interesting and bizarre enough to be unique among video game adaptations.
DOOM badly needs this sort of treatment.
The plot of DOOM is fucking stupid, and it’s meant to be. It’s a heavy metal album cover come to life, rife with inspiration from dumb action movies. It translates extremely well to run and gun gameplay. They could certainly make this work as a movie; Dredd was a film that approached its subject matter in simple terms, keeping the story very small and centralized, and as an action film it is pretty much pitch perfect. But I don’t know that I’d want to bother holding out for a super tight DOOM movie that sticks to the simple tropes it is aping because it would feel to me like walking in circles. They made an attempt of course back in 2005, which was simple enough, but just too campy and silly to make for a good experience. It certainly could have been worse, but it more just felt generic, and that’s what I’d want to avoid in a new DOOM adaptation.
It doesn’t have to be Jodorowsky, but I like the idea of a creative director being given freedom with a property and letting it run loose. Let’s see a silent DOOM film complete with bizarre John Carpenter imagery and a sweeping, epic heavy metal industrial soundtrack grinding beneath it. Let’s see a Doomguy similar to the one in the comic; completely fucked up on some mixture of drugs and pure adrenaline. Is he actually fighting demons in hell or battling with the breakdown of his own brain matter, further plunging into deeper psychosis and the movie goes on? Let’s see some bizarre takes on the major demons of DOOM, all played by various out of place celebrities, completely obscured by mechanized flesh makeup. Let’s see the budget roll completely out of control, a run time too long for its own good; a film too bizarre to ever succeed in a mainstream market, one that will confuse fans and newcomers to the series alike. A major flop in the theaters, but one that will be talked about for decades because of how thoroughly fucking strange it was. Heralded as a masterpiece among weirdo hipster film aficionados, as a travesty by fans (who should already be wanting to strangle me by this point while reading because that’s exactly the idea I’m going for) and as a complete mess by critics who will no doubt give it devastating reviews.
But why? And what will it have over every other video game movie before it?
It will be fucking memorable.
Such wonderful, imaginative second rate choices compared to Miller. And I really want to thank everyone for avoiding Robert Rodriguez because you know he would just fucking shoehorn his kids into it.
I opened this topic up to the Destructoid Community and there were some great responses, including several who just saw Baby Driver and want Edgar Wright to make a game.
GuerrillaOcelot: Edgar Wright. That guy seriously GETS video games. His stylistic choices, editing style, music. Have you ever seen Spaced? Video games were a huge stylistic influence throughout that series.
dephoenix: Edgar Wright. The guy knows how to mix comedy and drama, as well as balancing style and substance. He’s good at recognizing talent, he’s got good writers, and he’s not afraid to take chances. I really feel like he could do something truly unique and actually good. And unlike a lot of game devs, he’s not afraid of color. I like color in my movies and my games.
Parismio: I want Edgar Wright to make a game. I can see him making a lot of hilarious, creative stuff. I’d trust him to make me laugh in movies, so I believe I can trust him to do the same in videogames.
Fun Fact: Edgar Wright’s best film is still Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Don’t at me. There were also a lot of suggestions for directors who didn’t quit a passion project they worked on for 10 years.
Kazuhira Kaiser: Stephen Chow (of Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle fame) directing Super Mario Bros. Mario, Luigi, and Peach go on a Kung Fu fueled Odyssey, featuring spectacular slapstick martial arts choreography. Also, everyone inexplicably only speaks Cantonese.
GoofierBrute: I want to see Ridely Scott make a game. I know some of his recent movies haven’t been all that good *glares at Prometheus and Alien Covenant*, but he’s still a damn good director who’s work has been a major influence on both horror and science fiction. Why not let him make something akin to Alien or Blade Runner, or hell even the Martian? He’s shown to be really good at creating films with great atmosphere and immersion, so let him try his hand at video games.
Samhain: Not to be a wet blanket but [PROCEEDS TO BE A WET BLANKET]. But since we’re fantasizing, let’s get David Lynch to do a Heavy Rain-type QTE fest.
ClearlySamElliot: Maybe richard williams. The Thief and The Cobbler was non-linear and trippy as hell. And his ideas would seem to lend well to a virtual world. That guy was such a talent.
AdmiralAckbong: John Carpenter. Hes already a gamer and his mind would be ripe for some fucked up shit. Running away from sentient killer cars or watching your friends turn into tentacled monsters that prove to you that there is no way god could exist oh Jesus Christ Bill I’m so sorry KILL IT WITH FIRE
Hypno Coffin: Charlie Kaufman. No question.
Dere: I’ll say David Fincher. His films are pretty dark with some good plot twists. I could see him doing something dark with action and suspense…maybe an Alan Wake type game with some nice crazy plot twists. Have I mentioned it would be dark?
iam16bit: I’d love to see Wes Anderson do a game. His use of long panning shots and cross sections would be perfect for an adventure “MetroidVania” type of game. Since pixels wouldn’t really fit his style, I think stop-motion graphics much like in The Neverhood and Skullmonkeys would be be perfect. Add in a soundtrack of 60’s and 70’s pop music and you’ve got the making for an excellent game.
siddartha85: This is probably a dumb answer, but Werner Herzog. Imagine playing a version of Herzog himself, on an adventure to film a Resident Evil house or Hyrule and giving his unique, often-curmudgeonly commentary in his amazing voice. I love that idea. Now THAT’S a walking sim.
“I find the Octorok to be a singularly annoying animal, at once ugly and a pain to deal with. Thankfully, they die easily and cook quickly at camp.”
“What sort of a mind builds his own house to be navigated with infantile puzzles and tiny statues, when most of us use door knobs? Such thoughts serve to irritate me, as I journey further inside the house, and indeed, inside the mind of a fool who has made his foolishness real.”
I feel really stupid right now. But I might be a genius.
TheBlondeBass: I would love to see Hideo Kojima make a video game! I really like his works so far.
Shoggoth2855: I want Micheal Bay at the helm for a Black reboot! Black was the last relevant Original Xbox game and it’s main selling point was the fact that you could basically blow anything in the environment away using small arms, not-so-small arms and of course explosions. Micheal Bay would be a great choice for a return to that series since I believe Bay is the best person to look at just about anything and figure out the best way to bring out its inner explosion. Also say what you want about the quality of his films, those things mostly sell.
Okay, you know what. Shoggoth2855 wins this discussion. Congratulations Shog, your prize of one high-five from THE CJ Andriessen will be sent to you via FedEx.