Return To Home Page
March 12, 2006
The Movies - PS2 Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
2006TBALionhead1, 1 $TBA

Click To Enlarge Image
On the movie set.
One of my all time favourite game developers was Bullfrog. That was until EA bought the company and turned it into a team porting games to consoles and ultimately destroying one of the most original developers around the world. Fortunately the creative genius, Peter Molyneux, who created hits such as Dungeon Keeper, Syndicate, Populous, Theme Park and Magic Carpet, left (as did many other people) to form Lionhead Studios. Their first game Black and White was years in the making but was both a commerical and cricical success, while their XBox RPG Fable was groundbreaking. While a sequel to Black & White is in development it is The Movies which promises to bring back much of the simulation styled gameplay from Peter's earlier Bullfrog days.

Click To Enlarge Image
Making friends is crucial.
As you can probably tell this game is all about the movie business. Not only will you be running your own movie studios which includes setting budgets, hiring actors and acresses, and allocating budgets but after the movies have been shot you will be able to see a "MiniMovie" of what you have created. The real fun starts here, however as you will be able to post these movies to the Internet (obviously PS2 owners will need an Internet connection) and then be voted on by other people playing the game. Lionhead are promising prizes for the best MiniMovies which should keep interest in the game running for quite some time.

Click To Enlarge Image
Making the script...
Marketing your movies in the game is also a crucial factor. Many creative people, from your directors to your stars don't want to do the schmoozing, the interviews, the posters, the advertising. Thing is, it's vital stuff. Get all this right and you turn a decent hit into a summer blockbuster you can retire on. If people don't know about your movie, it'll flop. If they hear about it too much it'll be over-hyped and will put them off. This should create a fine balance in the gameplay, and much like real life too much hype can kill a movie (Star Wars), while an actor not wishing to enter the publicity whirlwind can cost box office dollars (Bill Murray in Lost in Translation - although that probably cost him a much deserved Oscar sadly).

One interesting aspect is that Peter is trying to remove most, if not all, if the menus and pages from the game. I much the same way he removed the menus and controls in Black & White this game

Click To Enlarge Image
Making the script...
With the game spanning over a century of film from 1900 to 2010 the game also includes a research facility. As Theme Park allowed you to research and include new rides for people to enjoy The Movies allows you to research sound, colour, 3D and computer graphics, and more. Finally the actors themseleves will require some looking after. They may start getting addictions, eating or mood disorders or just horrific patheticness. As with Theme Hospital the solutions can be quite amusing. Too much weight - send them to the gym, or, shove a hose in them and suck the fat out. It's your choice.

Click To Enlarge Image
Changing attributes.
Graphically this game is shaping up quite nicely. The latest screenshots and video released in time for E3 2005 show a quite detailed title with some wonderful locations, and solid - for a strategy game at least - animation.

Of all the games being released this year (hopefully) The Movies is the one which I hope will turn out perfectly. Not only because I'm a movie nut, but also because it's such an original and fun sounding game. With Peter Molyneux at the helm I'm quite confident this will be another fine simulation in the vein of Theme Park and Theme Hospital, still two of my favourites to this very day. While the PC game was released in late 2005 the console version has been dropped by Activision however Lionhead are continuing development, with another publisher being sought.