Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice
Red vs. Blue Makes Green

Allen Varney | 24 Oct 2006 12:02
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But for all this activity, not many other machinima titles will hold a film fan's interest. Given the low barriers to entry, why haven't we already seen an explosion of great machinima, a thousand hilarious Reds vs. ten thousand brilliant Blues? For the same reason we didn't see a million great novels after we got word processors, or a flood of tremendous indie films when video cameras got cheap. It's hard work! Go to Lionhead's The Movies site and blow a heart-sinking half-hour browsing some of its thousands of two-minute mediocrities. You'll confront the perennial problem with user-generated content: Most creators stink.

Here, professional filmmakers will eventually see an opportunity. They'll look at RvB's success and smell serious money, at least by indie movie standards. And, unlike Hollywood's past ventures into gaming (full-motion video cutscenes, anyone?), they might not screw up this one - because, for once, their storytelling skills really do apply. But for starters, they'll certainly consult with machinima makers already skilled in the form.

The field is wide open. Often, by the time we hear of fortunes being made in a new way, it's already too late to get in. But in machinima, the barrier to entry remains absurdly low, the need for professionalism desperate. If you're funny or interesting, can voice-act well, and produce reliably over the medium term - and you don't quit - there's absolutely nothing blocking you from success.

To restate: How long until Hollywood realizes that?

Allen Varney designed the PARANOIA paper-and-dice roleplaying game (2004 edition) and has contributed to computer games from Sony Online, Origin, Interplay and Looking Glass.

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