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Tigon: Hollywood needs to wake up

Videogames are "the Field of Dreams".

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Ian Stevens, boss of Vin Diesel's production company Tigon, believes videogames are "the Field of Dreams", and that Hollywood needs to start treating them as more than the proverbial action figure.

"It is a business for them," he told, "the studio goes ahead and slates the films for production in the next couple of years, and part of that revenue stream is licensing and merchandising.

"For a lot of those guys over the past 20 years, making videogames has been the same thing as making action figures, and putting your characters on cereal boxes, or making pyjamas. And that's been a very successful model.

"At some point I'd love to give a lecture about how some of the most talented people in the industry are the guys who we tend to respect the least, because they're actually making decent games out of impossible situations," he added.

He reckons if Midway Newcastle had been given the budget and opportunity of a developer like Valve, then the end product would have been, well, he leaves that to our imagination - a giraffe, perhaps.

Stevens recalled working with Blizzard and publisher Vivendi back before the Activision merger, and how World of Warcraft designer Rob Pardo talked of building and discarding "three out of four" ideas. The result is that everything Blizzard makes "is gold". It's a luxury that film tie-in developers are not given.

"There's something to that, and why that gets ignored by people... you've got the rest of the industry saying, 'Okay, you've got 18 months, go!'" he said.

Furthermore, Stevens believes risk, even in this the economic climate, is worth taking. Quality will speak for itself.

"My own personal opinion is that gaming is the Field of Dreams, so to speak. If you build it, they will come," Stevens explained. "This industry has always grown and been led by innovation and quality, and games that do something new and interesting, or are just plain good."

"I think investing in that, in whatever form it takes - whether it's new IP or licensed IP or whatever - is what the focus should be," he said.

Tigon Studios has collaborated on The Wheelman, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena.

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