Game/Film on Blu Ray, Co-Dev on PS4?
DreamWorks reveals plans for the future of film-to-game, selling a movie and a game on a single Blu Ray disc, and the first details on Shrek 3 for next-gen consoles.
DreamWorks, the thriving movie studio behind Over the Hedge and Shrek, says it's possible that next-gen Blu Ray discs will house a game and a film on one retail disc, and that CG assets will be completely shared between games and films by the time PlayStation 4 turns up.
"There's certainly a chance we'll see Over the Hedge 'the game and movie' on the same [Blu Ray] disc", Rik Recketal, Head of Licensing for Dreamworks, told us at a recent event. "Content delivery is changing and we're thinking about it."
"In terms of whether the same teams will be creating the [graphics] assets for the game and film, I don't think that'll be this generation, but definitely the following gen."
With the access afforded to developers, it would not be difficult to implement. Steve Rosenthal, Producer of the Over the Hedge game, explains: "When we were working the graphical side of things, they gave us these huge Maya files [file format for a leading industry CG program] so there was a lot of trimming and downsizing. We had to think about how we fit the characters and the process together."
But with all the hi-res assets on a plate, why not put them to use on a next-gen version of the game? "We thought about it, but we started the project two years ago - we didn't have 360s back then, and by the time 360 came out, it was too close."
But it won't be long before fans of DreamWorks characters get their first dose of next-gen gaming, as Recketal explains: "Over the Hedge is last current-gen title with Activision for us, and our next property, Shrek 3, and those thereafter will appear on next gen."
"As for Shrek 3, we want it to deliver more of a seamless world," he reveals. "A well-used marketing line in regards to film licenses is that you can "see the movie then play it". I think that's only been marketing to date. In the next gen, it's the truth. The sky is going to be the limit, frankly. So far, we've seen impressive 360 builds and we're waiting to see what PS3 may add to that."
The interesting comments about the future of the film-to-game and game-to-film cosmos, which has a curious history and was explored in some detail at the recent Hollywood & Games Summit, suggest major leaps forward in the entertainment industry as gaming and movies nestle closer together than ever before. "We do want to talk about it, as it will be a huge change to the way we work," offers Recketal. "It speaks of our relationship as two companies; we wanted a long relationship... we don't have to be as much about selling the license, we just have to be about how to maximise the IP across all these different platforms."
The director of the Over the Hedge movie, Tim Johnson, elaborated on the experience. "We started the film four years ago and the game two years ago. It was great for getting to know the characters. The interesting thing about developing in this way was that, some of the stuff that they had to cut from the film could go into the game."
And things are looking bright for the relationship, as Daniel Suarez, Executive Producer of the game at Activision, explains: "Since working with DreamWorks, we've developed trust with them. There's a comfort level there now. We have such levels of access now that our developers can sit down with the concept art guy from the film - it's a great way of working."