Video games represent "a bridge to the future of genre narrative" and Hollywood underestimates them at its peril, so says acclaimed film director and soon-to-be video game producer Guillermo del Toro.
Speaking in a podcast Q&A with BioShock creator Ken Levine on the Irrational Games site, the Hellboy/Pan's Labyrinth director explained that, when it comes to storytelling, video games have huge untapped potential.
"Video games are no doubt the bridge to the future of genre narrative," he insisted.
"You're not going to see the narratives of, let's say, a [Pedro] Almodovar or an indie film maker wane - they're going to stay - but big, genre, artistically-challenging, brilliantly-done storytelling - holy s***, there's a lot you can do in games that you'd never even dream of doing in movies, or TV, or comics."
He went on to argue that the industry still has to refine its art, but we should see some remarkable titles within 10 years or so.
"Films are fantastic. They are one of the peaks of human narrative. Now, and I'm sorry to break the news to the movie industry, but so is the video game," he said.
"The video game - not all of them right now - but the video games we'll be playing in 2020 will be fucking masterpieces. Many masterpieces."
Elsewhere in the Q&A, Del Toro explained a few of the stumbling blocks that filmmakers have to navigate when attempting to try their hand at game production.
"I think the mistake people make is thinking that [games and movies] are similar, at all, in the way you articulate," he explained.
"The set of tools you have to make a good movie, you'd be really stupid to think you can use those to develop a game, or vice versa. They are completely different."
He went on to argue that only those filmmakers with a real passion for games should attempt to make the cross-over.
"It's not a medium where you are going to wander if you're just an interested observer," he explained.
"You have to be a gamer to completely absorb the possibility of narrative in games - with their own f****** set of rules.
"The mistake you have many times is you have a filmmaker who says 'oh there's money in video games, I'm going to go make a video game'. No."
"You need to truly have a passion, and even a layman understanding of the medium or you will be completely pummeled by the process," he added.
According to Del Toro, creators shouldn't think that just because they have a proven track record in cinema or comics that will translate into video games.
"I think the confusion comes from thinking that different mediums are not permeable. Movies can permeate video games, video games can permeate movies, the same way that comics permeate films and films permeate comics.
"The mistake is to think they're similar, therefore if I control one discipline I control the three."
We've got a while to wait until we find out whether Del Toro has what it takes. His first video game, Volition-developed survival horror effort Insane, isn't due for release until 2013.
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