When the new teaser trailer to Avatar: The Way of the Water-the next post in James Cameron’s CGI-heavy film franchise – came out, many viewers thought the footage resembled a video game. Som ros or derogatory, the comparison is a touch hyperbolic. Yet it also signals the perceived overlap between the video game and film industries, which have increasingly come to share technological, narrative and visual approaches.
Multiplex screens today are filled with game-like images – exceptions exist, but a sense of green-screened unreality is certainly in abundance, whether you are watching an explosive action movie or a drama at a good pace. Other ideas also flow freely across media: Games and movies have set their clocks to Matrix-style “bullet time” effects; both forms have shaken their cameras à la Bourne; and just as virtuoso a filmmaker as Brian De Palma has wondered on how certain games have deftly recycled cinema roaming, first-person point-of-view images.
And in a recent development, high-profile games now routinely have the performance-captured similarities with movie and TV stars. The latter is not so surprising, for it has long been prophesied – so to speak. In the October 1982 issue of Video games illustratedone finds the vaguely manic headline “THE ROBERT REDFORD VIDEOGAME,” and a call: “Do not laugh, we may yet see one, as more and more film studios enter the videogaming ring.”
Smash cut to The quarrythe latest horror-adventure game from the British developer Supermassive games, or the latest movie-added pugilist to cross the ropes. Granted, Supermassive is not a film studio – nor is it openly affiliated with one – but it does specialize in horror games with eye-catching cinematic ambitions. The quarry is therefore a kind of interactive film, and its cast consists of new and established film actors. Skyler Gisondo-which recently appeared in the Oscar-nominated film Licorice pizza-has a key role in the game, just like it does Jurassic World Dominion costs Justice Smithamong many others. Performance-capture technology recorded each participant’s vocal, facial, and body expressions, which were translated into the computer-generated facsimiles that players control and / or encounter in the game itself. Supermassive was assisted in this regard by Digital Domain, a Los Angeles-based visual effects studio co-founded by James Cameron, which has since worked on a number of films, games and TV shows.
Will Byles, who directed and cowrote The quarryfound inspiration in the 1980 summer camp slasher film Friday the 13thand in the baroque death scenes in it Final destination franchise. But the game is especially indebted to the horror comedy from 1981 An American werewolf in London, which Byles remembers as “the first horror movie I’ve ever seen where I thought, ‘Oh, my God, that’s funny’.” As he tells me about Zoom, Byles admires the way the film combines his humor with believable relationships and “real horror.” IN The quarryas well, there is a mix of tones: It cares from maudlin needle drops to low-lying jokes to its own fearsome werewolves.
The game takes place at Hackett’s Quarry Summer Camp, which boasts the usual decorations: cabins, canoes, corpses floating in lakes. At the beginning of the story, the campers have been driven home, but the teenage counselors are still in the process of painting around the grounds. When their own trip home is delayed, they choose to light the fire again and seize the night. As they will discover in the coming hours, the vast forests hold many secrets, although a Robert Redford cameo is unfortunately not among them.