del toro in wired magazine

we’re at the point in gaming (particularly console) now where i don’t think tech is so much of an issue anymore.  the xbox 360 and ps3 can both generate excellent graphical experiences and the wii… well if the wii’s your primary console you probably don’t really care.  like motion?  you have your pick of the litter between the wii, the move and kinect.  but either way, giving a player ridiculous graphics is more or less commoditized now.  and since that (in my opinion) doesn’t enter too much into user experience anymore, some game makers are trying their best to bring players something unique through the game itself.  the fable series was one of the few games where your character’s choices had direct consequences, and you gradually had to choose whether or not your character would be good or evil through action (yes i know, you’re thinking chrono trigger and maybe jedi academy, but i’m working from a current graphical platform here).  as RPG’s have more and more cinematic elements than they used to, quantic dream tried to mix it up earlier this year with heavy rain – which was really an interactive movie more so than a game.

and now the lines between movies and games are becoming even more blurred.  THQ announced that they are entering into a multi-year deal with guillermo del toro, director of pan’s labyrinth and screenplay writer of the upcoming the hobbit movies, for a series of horror games called inSane. he’s going to be a creative director, and while THQ has rights to the game series, he has the rights to any and all associated “filmed entertainment.”  which less than explicitly says that this is going to be a project with multiple media outlets, the bare minimum of which will be games and movies.  i’m sure there will be some sort of web element to tie the whole thing together, but that’s just a guess.
so back to games challenging players with creative play styles.  how is inSane any different than other games of the horror survival genre?  well according to him, “with this new series of video games, i want to take players to a place they have never seen before, where every single action makes them question their own senses of morality and reality” (1up).  and coming from del toro, that’s completely believable – he openly comments to the media and press on the topic of video games as art.  passionately.  when he was asked at a book signing in october, he described games as the comic books of our time, and is upset that the medium “gains no respect among the intellegentsia (gamerant).  he goes on to say, “they say, ‘oh, video games…’ and most people that complain about video games have never ****ing played them.” (i know i know, this here’s a family show, but that noise was on point)
so needless to say, i’m a fan.
logo from the teaser
and the teaser trailer that is out there right now supports that – which consists of 30 seconds or so of viewer discomfort, followed by 10 seconds of an image that may even make horror buffs twitch a little bit – see for yourself on the game’s official website, www.insanegame.com.  according to del toro, we can also expect some sort of lovecraftian tentacled creature.  i’m still waiting for details to slowly drip out from the THQ camp, because there will be a lot more to come.  the first installment of inSane won’t be out until 2013.
now i’m trying to treat this film-game union with a healthy bit of skepticism.  there have been a number of partnerships like this that never really panned out to much.  remember the movie hard boiled?  john woo tried to make a direct video game sequel in 2007 with stranglehold, but it never really took off.
but then again, no kind of movie/game crossover/sequel will EVER be the goonies II.
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1 Comment

Rob December 14, 2010 at 7:10 pm

I've been working on a similar (but very different) idea for years. The driving concept was to get the person playing the game to be genuinely unsure about their own emotions while playing the game. Really, bottom line, I wanted you to feel sick before doing something morally questionable or get truly upset when something happened to a character. The test of effectiveness would be in-game decisions. Every second longer it takes you to decide between path A and path B is a step closer to success for me. If you're making gaming decisions to get through it, you're not invested. I wanted my player so invested that it physically hurts them to see their characters harmed. I want it to be on the wrong side of borderline-unhealthy.

(For your references, T, this is the game that I was trying to get that character interaction system working for. Now that I'm a bit more computer savvy, I've been looking to change it from idea to working software. I'll keep you posted.)

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Author and creator of Technical Fowl. IT/Tech hero. Jiu Jitsu purple belt. Enjoying the venn diagram intersection of tech, gaming, business, and politics.

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