The recent release of the PC game NightCry has me thinking about trends. While I have not yet played the game itself yet–I always wait a few weeks after launch for PC games as they are often patched/unpatched/repatched/patched again– I have followed its progress from inception to completion with great interest. Now NightCry was interesting to me for several reasons, chief among them being that it was the spiritual successor to the Clock Tower series. If any of you dear readers are unfamiliar with those games, you should find a way to check them out; the series is terrifying and unnerving and a lot of fun.
The main reason that I was excited about NightCry (or Project Scissors) was the pedigree of the creative team involved. The game was a collaboration between Hifumi Kono—who created and directed the first two Clock Tower games— Masahiro Ito—the monster creator and art director for Silent Hill—and Takashi Shimizu—the creator and director Ju On. Talk about an amazing team! There is so much potential for so much to go right, as far as the direction of the game itself.
Reviews have backed me on this, I have read that there are some gameplay issues, and graphical issues but not one review has come at the game from a story/direction point of view and said that it was lacking. This also got me thinking: what if film directors were regularly co-opted to help direct video games? The medium is already cinematic! Could you imagine what a serious auteur could do with a 40+ hour video game? It would be insane! And the good news is that we seem to be heading towards that kind of glorious age in video games!
There have already been several collaborations between video game creators and directors: John Carpenter on Fear 3, Clive Barker on Jericho and Undying, John Woo on Stranglehold and even Spielberg helped with both The Dig and Medal of Honor. For my money though the next big thing is going to come from the newly formed Kojima Productions. Before a dramatic break-up between famed game designer Hideo Kojima—creator of Metal Gear and other fine games—and Konami, Kojima was set to work with the always incredible Guillermo Del Toro on a new Silent Hill game. Take a moment to soak that in. Now add Norman Reedus as the star actor for the game and you really have something to be sad about. The proof of concept was right there, in the playable teaser or PT as it was called, that Konami released onto the PS4 a few months prior to the split. The game was scrapped as a result of the split and Kojima started his own gaming company.
Now for the good news: Kojima and Del Toro recently gave a keynote speech to the DICE summit, where they essentially confirmed that they will be collaborating in the future. This is huge. Two of the most talented creative minds working today will be, hopefully soon, bringing us an experience that I can only imagine will transcend both cinema and gaming. If their endeavor is successful it could seriously change the landscape of entertainment as other developers scramble to secure top notch directors to collaborate with their best designers and engineers. I mean could you see Naughty Dog collaborating with Danny Boyle on the next installment of The Last of Us? Now you can. The future holds endless possibilities, take some time to imagine them all.