Mark DeAngelis on Gameplay HD, the High-Definiton Game Channel

Joe Blancato | 3 Apr 2008 21:00
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There's other original programs we do, like Raw Play and some review shows, and lots of documentaries. We did a six-part documentary on the making of Forza Motorsport 2, for example. We're doing a Ninja Gaiden 2 series right now where we're in Japan with [the creator], and making a documentary about his next game.

And then we have another bucket: tournaments. We have produced over 90 hours of tournaments. I feel like we're still learning a lot, and we're still not quite there with the perfect television tournament. But I think we've gotten really close, especially with Madden. ... I think as younger generations get older, they're gonna expect to see

tournaments on television.

And there's two types that we cater to and promote. One is sort of a professional side, where I think it's pretty cool to have these kids training to compete in these games at the highest professional level. ... And then on the other side, we like to open it up to the community, because that's what the videogame world is all about. It's not just being isolated in your hous and playing a game. That's not true; the bulk of players play in some sort of multiplayer fashion, and having that online play is really important. So we have another series called The Gameplay Tournament Open, where we partner up with the GGL and a developer and we have a competition. ... And kids in the country get to compete online, and the finalists get flown into our studio in New York and get to see their mugs on TV and get to compete against other kids across the country.

TE: Could you tell me a bit more about the Madden Challenge? I saw that on ESPN on Superbowl Sunday. What role did you play in that?

EA was somebody we really wanted to work with; they have a lot of great franchises. It took about a year to really get in with the people that we needed to, and each understand what the other wanted to do. In some cases it was easier with other publishers, like with Microsoft and that, but EA took a little bit more finesse, but once we did, once I locked in with Doug Scott and Michael Hearst, it just became a really fun, exciting relationship.

Our first foray with them was a Battlefield 2142 tournament we shot. What we brought to the table was it was studio-based, and we had virtual cameras inside the field. We had real, professional cameramen standing with camera pods and camera sticks, standing off-set, but firm-wired into the videogame. So we'd have the players on the battlefield, but we'd have these unrestricted video cameras that could float ... in 360 degrees of direction. That is the key element for future television tournaments. There's a couple, but that's one of them.

We were able to do these beautiful coverage of multiple cameras across the battlefield. We were also able to save these games and go back and re-shoot things as we needed to. It didn't change the integrity of the battle, it just gave us the ability to go replay the battle and have it unfolding from different camera angles, so we could create the ultimate product for the consumer at home. ... And that's the critical thing, especially with first-person shooters, is they move so quickly, you gotta shoot them so the consumer at home can understand.

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