How video games are transforming the film industry

Posted by Steve Boxer

At one time it was the game industry that wanted to emulate films. But now the movie industry is adopting the technology of video games

Amid the debate about television stealing the film industry’s thunder, another entertainment form has crept up unnoticed, further threatening Hollywood’s creative hegemony: video games. With a new, much more powerful generation of games consoles poised to arrive – Microsoft’s Xbox One goes on sale on Friday, with Sony’s PlayStation 4 due a week later – the games companies reckon they finally have the ammunition to shake off the perception that their digital epics are inferior to movies.

I’m in a place that could not reinforce that impression more emphatically: the historic Ealing studios, where classics such as The Lavender Hill Mob and The Ladykillers were filmed. But I’m here to experience the process of making a video game called Ryse: Son of Rome, an epic tale charting the Roman conquest of Britain, which will be a launch title for the Xbox One. And the studio is nowadays home to The Imaginarium, an outfit co-founded by Andy Serkis, who – as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings – is perhaps the world’s leading exponent of performance-capture, in which every nuance of an actor’s performance (specifically movement, voice and facial expressions) is recorded and mapped on to a video game character.

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