Faculty member Micah Wright of Emerson College Los Angeles, who has written and designed nearly 50 video games, including the smash hit Call of Duty: Black Ops II, is set to discuss the blurring lines between film and video games at a workshop during the Emerson Los Angeles Film Festival on Saturday, October 11.
With video games surpassing film as the largest money making form of entertainment in the world, and select video games out-grossing the films they are based on, Wright believes these two industries will only continue to merge in the future.
“Because I work as both a game writer/designer, and as a live-action writer/director, I think I’m in a unique position to see the emergence of virtual reality as a clear next step for both the film and video game industries,” said Wright.
Devices like the Oculus Rift—which is the first truly immersive virtual reality headset with potential to land in consumers’ hands—are helping to blur the lines between film and video games.
When a user dons the Oculus Rift headset, he or she sees a fully realized 3-D world—either a computer-generated world or a live-action film world shot with intricate 360– degree spherical camera setups. Besides its use for video games, Oculus may one day be used to create live-action films in which the viewer can make story choices in real time.
Image from Call of Duty. (Promotional photo)
Even if the virtual reality part of the equation does not take off, Wright said the film and video game industries are already merging in many other ways. With the success that video games have enjoyed over the years, the traditional production system of how films and video games are green lit has been upended.
“They don't make a James Bond movie now without starting a game a year before,” Wright said. “It takes two years to make a James Bond game, [and] one year to make a James Bond movie.”
When it comes to Hollywood films based on popular games, some video game writers have been given unprecedented access to casting and other filmmaking decisions, which even A-List feature writers do not get in Hollywood. These are topics that Wright intends to broach during his discussion at the Emerson Los Angeles Film Festival.
Wright, who is in the midst of teaching his fourth semester at Emerson College Los Angeles, said the best part of being a faculty member is interacting with students and learning just as much from the class as his students do.
“It forces me to think about things that I already know in a way that I can clearly articulate to another person,” said Wright. “In doing so, it reinforces lessons I learn myself.”