Lionhead's The Movies will be an unusual game that will let you play as the owner of a major motion picture studio. You'll make films all throughout the 20th century and beyond by employing temperamental celebrities, costly writing teams, and your own ingenuity. In The Movies, your best bet for box office success is to try to be an innovator by making a film with the first onscreen kiss or the first onscreen fistfight. In this interview, Lionhead's Peter Molyneux explains the process of making a motion picture in The Movies. Watch our new exclusive movie for more details.
GameSpot: Thanks for taking the time for this interview, Peter. Could you briefly explain what goes into making a motion picture in The Movies? Is it an incredibly difficult and time-consuming process?
Peter Molyneux: There are two ways of making movies. The first is simple and quick: The player decides the genre, casts the stars, hires the director, chooses the set that will be used, and decides on the sequence of action, which should mean you're ready to make your movie in under a minute. This mode is ideal for players who want to focus on other areas of the game. But for those who are more passionate about making their own unique movies, there is the option to get far more involved in the movie-making process. Players can change backdrops, dress sets with props, choose the stars' costumes, and be far more hands-on with scripts and the shooting of the movies. This process can take between two and 20 minutes, but the extra time guarantees that such movies will be totally unique to the player.
GS: Could you explain how players will be able to create different types of movies? How would players go about creating a horror film, a Western, a romance movie, or a comedy, for instance?
PM: There are a couple of ways you can dictate the genre of the film. For example, you could choose a set with a cellar in it, place two actors in that setting, and give one of them a knife when the cameras start to roll. The actor holding the knife will attack the other actor. The other way is to choose specific sets, which lend themselves to a specific genre, and [then] choose the preset scenes, which apply to that genre.
GS: We know that although players will need to conserve their funds by reusing sets, costumes, and actors, they will also benefit from innovating--by breaking new ground with their movies. Could you explain how this system will work in the game?
PM: If you have a rough knowledge of the history of the movies, then that should give you an idea of when there have been new technology developments. The real knack to being a successful movie mogul is, of course, knowing when to take that next step. For example, if you notice a spate of horror films has been released over the past few months, you may decide that the time has come to change direction, [so you decide to] make disaster movies. But if, at the same time, you see there has been a terrible natural disaster in the world (you will know about major news events like this in the game), perhaps that would not be the most diplomatic genre to film! Also, as you play though the game, you'll get bonuses for mixing genres and setting up film action in ways that other players do not.
GS: Exactly how much control will players have over their movies and their filming? How much control will they have over set placement, filming different angles, the way in which actors deliver their lines, wardrobe, and so on?
PM: In this game, quite a lot of control will rest with the director you hire, but you have the option--with the sliders bar--to change the content, mood, and flow of the scene that's being shot. For players who want even more control over the moviemaking process...stay tuned.
The Play's the Thing
GS: Can you discuss the exclusive movie you've provided us with? Explain what went into making it.
PM: These are the scenes, listed in order, I used in the GameSpot movie. Below each description are the slider options, [and] the ones in bold are the ones I used for this movie. It's a horror romance--otherwise known as a romantic horror.
003_silv_service (in the City Bar)
A man buys a drink at the bar for a woman who's seated at the table. A waitress delivers the drink, and the woman watches the drink being placed. The man then waves from the bar, and:
a) the woman then giggles and waves back.
b) the woman tries to ignore him, because she's embarrassed.
c) the woman picks up the drink and salutes him.
d) the woman motions that she's not interested and tells the waitress to leave.
003_romantic_meal (in the City Bar)
The man and woman are eating at a table, and:
a) while eating, the man burps and spoils the moment. The woman isn't impressed.
b) they end up staring into each other's eyes, entranced.
c) the woman playfully rubs her foot against the man's leg.
003_couple_exit (in the City Bar)
The man and woman walk toward the bar door. The man politely opens the door for the woman, she walks through, and he follows her out the bar. (no slider options)
037_standard_driving (in the Car set, with scrolling background)
The man and woman are driving in a car (they're driving back to her place):
a) for a short time (5 seconds).
b) for a medium time (10 seconds).
c) for a long time (15 seconds).
012_establishing_zoom_001 (Suburban Street Exterior)
The camera zooms in on the main house on the Suburban Street, indicating that "the couple" are inside.
013_tv_humor_res (in the Suburban Home Interior)
The man and woman are sitting inside the home watching TV.
a) The couple lean to the right while watching something particularly captivating ("So that's how turtles mate?").
b) The woman is fanning herself with her hand because she's aroused. The man is irate and changes the channel.
c) The woman is shocked by what they are watching, so she hides her eyes from the ghastly horror they're watching.
d) The woman is so frightened, she jumps back in fear. The man watches her and shakes his head in disbelief.
e) The woman is very aroused. She's smiling from ear to ear. She falls dramatically to her side and poses herself provocatively while continuing to watch the erotic movie they've been watching. The man shakes his head and then changes the channel, which disappoints her.
013_walk_to_kitchen (in the Suburban Home Interior)
The couple stands up. The woman walks to the kitchen to get some water, and the man coughs a bit. He's not feeling so healthy. All of a sudden... He makes his way to the back of the sofa. (no slider options)
013_wolf_change (in the Suburban Home Interior)
The man grasps at his throat as he falls to the floor and then changes into a monster--while behind the sofa. The "monster/man" jumps up angrily. The woman in the kitchen is horrified. (no slider options)
013_monster_stalk_girl (in the Suburban Home Interior)
The monster/man stalks menacingly toward the woman, who's fallen to the floor in her fright. (no slider options)
013_aint_over_yet (in the Kitchen of the Suburban Home Interior)
The monster/man and the woman struggle with a knife while on the kitchen floor. The woman manages to stab the monster/man in the chest, and he dies. She sits back, exhausted. Then either:
a) The monster/man gets up again and strangles the woman from behind, while also throwing her to the floor.
b) The monster/man gets up again, but the woman realizes it in time. She then grabs the knife again and thwacks him square in the face. He falls down dead.
c) The monster/man gets up again and strangles the woman. However, she knocks him back, they struggle, and then she stabs him again in the chest.
007_all_a_dream (in the Hotel Bedroom)
The woman is lying in bed and:
a) wakes up relaxed and happy. Then she stretches and sits on the side of the bed, contented.
b) wakes up confused. She looks around but is unaware of where she is.
c) wakes up with a jolt, freaked out of her mind. It was all a dream. Well, a bit of a nightmare, perhaps? ;-)
GS: We know that The Movies will let players export their in-game motion-picture masterpieces into playable movie files, and we understand that Lionhead has plans to support the moviemaking community? What, specifically, does Lionhead plan to let players do with their movies, aside from sharing them on the Web? What kind of contests will be run, and what can players win?
PM: We will have an awards Web site where anyone can upload [his or her] movie. Once it has been checked for anything of an offensive nature, the movie will be posted. Here, the general public can [both] view the movies and vote (probably on a weekly basis), and the winners will receive awards, which can then be imported back into their studios.
GS: And speaking of uploading and downloading... What sort of options will console players have in terms of making and sharing movies? Will they be able to, at least, save their movies to a memory card to bring to a friend's house? We had heard about tentative plans to support online movie exchanges via Xbox Live or PS2 broadband. Any word on either of these?
PM: Not at the moment.
GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about the motion-picture-making utility within The Movies or about the game itself, in general?
PM: The moviemaking mode is an added extra to what is already a very detailed simulation game. This feature, coupled with the ability to create and manage your own roster of stars, means that it is a truly amazing experience.
GS: Thanks, Peter.