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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Two Spielberg items

I'm not sure whether this new collaboration between Spielberg and Electronic Arts, announced yesterday, will amount to much. Financial terms weren't disclosed. The biggest questions to me are, how much time will Spielberg spend working on his EA projects, and will EA be getting ideas that Spielberg considers not juicy enough for features?

GameSpot has a Q&A with Neil Young, who runs EA's Los Angeles studio - the guy who'll be working most closely with Spielberg.

Here's a snippet:

    GS: I know Spielberg's a big gamer, but he's first and foremost a filmmaker. How do you think his cinematic expertise, which is based on a passive experience, will translate into making games, which are an interactive experience?

    NY: Well, I think that each medium has its own narrative. And so, if you think about it, theater has a different narrative structure than film, which has a different narrative structure from games. We haven't yet decoded the narrative of our medium, in my opinion. There are certainly games like Eco and Half Life 2, to some degree, that have made some really interesting kind of strides in that direction, but there's so much more to do. If you mapped our industry to the film industry, we're sort of pre-Citizen Kane. We haven't figured out all the buttons to press and all the levers to pull. So decoding the narrative of the medium and delivering something that is a phenomenal game is the objective. And I think you do those things by collaborating with people who really deeply understand narratives.

Young says he sees the game and movie industries converging - but that doesn't mean that EA will start making movies.

Earlier, Spielberg worked on a game with LucasArts called "The Dig," and he was involved in a game called "Medal of Honor," released by DreamWorks Interactive. That was the games arm of the DreamWorks SKG studio, which was sold to EA in 2000.

Matt Richtel of the NY Times reports that the games will be originals -- not adaptations of Spielberg films. Richtel's piece concludes:

    Wall Street analysts have complained that Electronic Arts has lost some of its creative edge, relying too heavily on sequels of popular sports franchises, like Madden Football, while producing lackluster original titles.

Finally, there's apparently an interview in the Hollywood Reporter (no link yet) with Spielberg in which he talks a bit about the future of the theatrical experience. IGN has a short piece on it, titled Spielberg's Secret Project.

    "A good movie will bring you inside of itself just by the sheer brilliance of the director/writer/production staff," he says. "But in the future, you will physically be inside the experience, which will surround you top, bottom, on all sides. ... I've invented it, but because patent is pending, I can't discuss it right now."