E3 06: The Movies: Stunts & Effects Impressions

Lionhead's film-making sim adds Stunts & Effects into the mix in a pre-E3 video demo.


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LOS ANGELES--Fulfilling the desires of the community seems to be high on the agenda for film-sim expansion The Movies: Stunts & Effects. In a demonstration of the game at an Activision press conference on Monday, we were shown about 10 minutes of the game played through at various stages. According to developer Lionhead, several of the elements that have been added have apparently been asked for by fans of the original game.

Top of that list is a new freeform 3D camera that lets you shoot the action for your film from wherever you see fit. It's not clear just how much impact this functionality will have on how well your films play out, but it should add a level of control that will be welcome for those aesthetes that like to show off their creations online.

We were also shown some of the new sets that will be available in the game. First we saw a miniature set over which a giant UFO was suspended, and on a second miniset, a man dressed in a monster costume waded between head-high skyscrapers.

Another part of the game to get a major overhaul is, as the title implies, the stunt section. Whilst it's possible for your leading man to turn fall guy if need be, the risk of injury is far higher than if you employ a proper stuntman. We saw one actor jump from a burning building, only to end up getting an injury--which was then diagnosed in the new on-site hospital as a broken foot.

The stuntmen can improve their skills with three different training regimes, including fire suits and martial arts, and this option will further improve your odds of getting through a scene without having to dig out insurance papers--and cause costly delays to your production.

Of course humour still plays an important part in the game, and much of the new content was enough to raise a minor chuckle from the audience. Some of the special-effect techniques were particularly enlightening, as we were shown a figure falling from a tall building in close up. Zoomed out, the actor was merely standing on one foot pretending to fall whilst horizontal buildings scrolled past on a background.

It wasn't clear from this demo whether or not the business side of the game has become more integrated with the fun of film-making, but while most of the game looks the same as the original, there are some new particle effects introduced to add a little more excitement to your movie masterpieces.

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