Friday, December 18, 2009

The Cinematic Experience: What game developers could do to get more people to play their games...eventually.

This has been sitting in my drafts since 11/24 and didn't get those last two paragraphs finished until now, so take what you will with past-tense references and the like.

This idea came to me fairly quickly while sitting post at work earlier this week being bored out of my mind, and, frankly, I think it's a damned good one. It's an idea that I believe that could bridge the gap between gamers and movie-goers. What I mean by that is getting more movie buffs interested in video games, or just anyone in general, and eventually, get them to buy the games. It could also be a safe entry into a series, be it new, unfamiliar, or old for a seasoned gamer who's reluctant on throwing down full entry price for a game. I call it the "Cinematic Experience."

Don't get me wrong, anyone reading that first paragraph would just love to yell "It's called a demo, dumbass!" Well, that's the gameplay. It's a demonstration of how the game plays. My solution is for those who want a good story out of their $60 purchase. When a game is close to release and it's publishers/developers want to promote the ever-living shit out of it, they get the hype train rolling. However, said train will only work for those who only care about how the game plays. I, for one, want more out of the story. I want a story that is so involving and exciting that I talk about forever.

A Cinematic Experience in my image, would be defined as such:
"A feature film containing non-gameplay videos, intertwined with gameplay footage to give the viewer the feeling they are watching a movie as opposed to playing the game."
My vision has already been played out, way back in 2006, called Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence. Yea, good ol' MGS. The North American limited edition - and the standard European issue - included the Existence disc, which had my vision in the form of a 3.5 hour long feature film. We're border-line Dances With Wolves when it comes to MGS in movie-form.

The problem with this method is the "movie" was with the game, so the only way to enjoy the game's story as a movie was the buy the game with the movie. My proposal includes releasing the Cinematic Experience (herein 'CE') separately from the game's release. The CE would be $20 or less, and would contain only the "movie" of the game. If you want the game and play it out as it was originally intended, buy it for $60. If you want both for some odd reason, manufacturers would should offer a discount, perhaps in the form of 20% off. Buy the $20 CE and $60 game, get the CE for nearly free (20% of $80 is $16). It would entice buyers to get both, enjoy the gameplay and story, increase a retail store's UPT (Units Per Transaction; Best Buy employee's scheduling budget is based off of UPT. If there is a high UPT for a certain department, they see that as employees spending more time with a single customer, which leaves other customers stranded. Stranded customers = more employees on the floor), get people enticed by a game's story that could lead to an eventual purchase of the game, which means more money for devs. It's a...hang on here, it's a win-win-win-win-win situation. I might be missing one or two "win"s there, so bear with.

It's an interesting idea that I believe should be at least considered. Like I said, it benefits nearly everyone.