The entertainment industry tends to see videogames as the “junior varsity” to film, says BioShock mastermind Ken Levine, because too many people in the game industry are “star-struck” by the world of movies.
The videogame industry is a monster, yet to many people, a game hasn’t really “made it” until somebody starts talking about turning it into a movie. Games, when you get right down to it, are still greasy kids’ stuff, the thinking goes; true mainstream success can only be found on the big screen. But Levine, whose credits include BioShock, SWAT 4, System Shock 2 and Thief: The Dark Project, believes that’s the wrong attitude to have.
“I was offered the chance to make a game with a film director. A very talented film director. [The Hollywood execs said] they really liked what I was doing and wanted to share it – that this project with creative leads from both game and film was going to be amazing,” he said in an interview with Develop.
“My feeling is, why? Why would any game designer want to do that?” he continued. “What’s the point of having two creative leads together, and why would I want a film director to help me make a game, any more than they would want me to help out with their films?”
Levine noted that the flow of talent between the game and film industries tends to run in one direction, as the videogame industry throws its doors open to high-profile movie directors who have no game-making experience whatsoever.
“Guillermo del Toro – who by the way is an amazing film director – recently signed a deal with THQ to make videogames. And I’m thinking, ‘He’s never made a videogame’,” Levine said. “Maybe he’s got a genius for it. But games are really, really hard to make well. In our industry there’s too many people star-struck of the movie world, jumping into deals with some big movie director just because they’re big film directors.”
Levine’s current project is BioShock Infinite, which is currently slated for release sometime in 2012.