For better or worse, the influence that video games and film have made on us humans is undeniable. Nowhere is this influence more obvious than in the Transformers franchise, in both video games and films by Michael Bay. Here are just a few of the ways that video games and film rub off on you!
It’s gotten to the point where it’s unclear which innovations in computer animation were spawned by video games and which spawned by film. While the first Michael Bay Transformers introduced all new approaches to dealing with physics in a three-dimensional world, that approach comes from a ancestry that dates back through other films like the Lord of the Rings trilogy and right back to video games like Half Life 2.
Had the Robotic Junkyard Dog never been written into games by Valve Software, perhaps Optimus Prime wouldn’t have moved with such believability. AI and physics are a shared, intertwined history between animation studios that work on games and films and sometimes both.
Bringing Franchises to the Surface
Lately, an interesting trend in the film and television industry isn’t to adapt a movie directly into a video game, but to ride movie success and bring a certain franchise to the forefront. As the Batman comics demands continue to surge whenever a new Batman movie is released, the makers of the game “Transformers: Fall of Cybertron” chose not to adapt the film but to use the classic cartoon into a new video game fashion.
While you might expect licensed games to be more restrictive for developers, the funny thing is that planners tend to have a lot of freedom in designing levels and gameplay concepts, long as they stay true to the property’s tone and character, with the game exploring everything from stealth to flight “sim” genres all within a single game. Love the Michael Bay films or hate them, at the very least, they’ve allowed game developers like High Moon Studios to explore some interesting territory in these games.
It’s not the non-interactive cutscenes, it’s not the big explosions that happen in the background, and it’s not watching the realistic effects on your character’s armor. Unfortunately, better gameplay mechanics don’t make good screenshots. It makes for great word of mouth if you make a game where it’s fun simply to move around and fire weapons, but it doesn’t make for much of a trailer.
So the cinematic influence of film on video games has been a mixed blessing. Games look and sound better than ever, even better than some Hollywood films, but all too often these effects are laid on top of shallow gameplay and bland level design.
Ultimately, the effect that film and games have intertwined is generally a positive influence, but too many developers forget that we want a game to brain tickle and to challenge our problem solving abilities. Similarly, filmmakers forget that a thirty minute action scene is only interesting if it’s loaded with drama or if it’s playable.