The Movies to screen online

Lionhead's forthcoming film-studio game will let virtual Hollywood moguls share their sim-cinema online.

For more than two years, one of the top games on sim-game fans' horizons has been The Movies. The game, which will be released for all three current-generation consoles and the PC, will put players in charge of a movie studio around the dawn of the film age, circa 1900. They will then manage the studio as it goes through the various eras of the film industry, beginning with scratchy black-and-white films and ending with high-tech special effects.

Besides managing the studio's finances and coping with the usual pitfalls of Hollywood--shooting troubles, temperamental actors, and so on--players of The Movies will get to make actual movies. The game will sport more than 7,000 scene types, 45 sets, and "countless" combinations of costumes.

Today, Lionhead Studios and Activision, The Movies' respective developer and publisher, announced that they are readying a community Web site for The Movies, inventively titled The Movies Online. Beginning this fall, The Movies Online will let players of the PC version of The Movies share their simulated cinematic works with others in what Lionhead calls an ongoing "virtual film festival." The site will be accessible via the game's official Web site, www.themoviesgame.com, and via an interface built into the PC version of the game.

Besides letting players share their films, The Movies Online will stage various competitions and Oscars-esque awards shows. The site will also let players download new props and unspecified "new content," paid for with virtual online credits. Players will earn these credits whenever a visitor to The Movies Online rates one of their films highly.

The Movies is due out for the PC this fall, with Xbox, GameCube, and PlayStation 2 versions to follow.

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