Would You Pay For A StarCraft Movie?

The Doctor Doom of the games industry, Activision’s Bobby Kotick, has made more assertions about how you’re going to be spending your groats in the years to come. This time, it’s on-demand videogame movies, distributed solely online, direct to your eye-holes. Interested?

Here’s the telling quote, spoken from his mouth yesterday at a conference where men who make lots of money go to talk about making lots of money.

In reference to StarCraft II’s hyper-lavish, ultra-biff cutscenes, he suggested:

“If we were to take that hour, or hour and a half, take it out of the game [note – I’m fairly sure he doesn’t mean selling the cutscenes that are already in the game, but is instead using some slightly odd language to suggest a CGI movie of Blizzardian cutscene quality.], and we were to go to our audiences – for whom we have their credit card information and a direct relationship – and say to them, ‘Would you like to have the StarCraft movie?’… and say we have this great hour and a half of linear video that we’d like to make available to you at a $30 or $20 price point, you’d have the biggest opening weekend of any film ever.”

“Within the next five years you are likely to see us do that… There will be a time when we capitalise on the relationship that we have with our audience and deliver them something that is really extraordinary and let them consume it directly through us instead of through theatrical distribution.”

So that’s the concept. Not another Final Fantasy: The Spiritless Within hullaballo, but instead a feature-length CGI tale you can pay for and download through Battle.net or whatever other system for whatever other game.

It’s easy to arm-wave and blither about the horror of Activision wanting to squeeze even more money from starving gamers – but isn’t this exactly what half of ’em want? People love to associate with their favourite games’ fiction, and a chance to do that probably would be extremely successful. Especially for Blizzard’s lore-packed licenses. Hell, 15 minutes of Kerrigan waving her tentacles at the camera would probably make a fortune.

This way, too, videogame movies get made by the people who make the videogames. That’s much more appealing than some rent-a-splode director who once played Tetris on a train being handed the rights to Silent Hill or whatever.

The isssue, of course, is the price Kotick suggests – $20 or $30 for a download-only movie is a horrific suggestion, but hopefully minds more in tune with what people actually spend on films will prevail.

171 Comments

  1. ExplosiveCoot says:

    Within the next five years this sounds like something I’ll enjoy watching on youtube.

  2. Hentzau says:

    See, I look at what he’s saying and all I can see is “We’re thinking of charging for the cutscenes now.”

    • Nosgoroth says:

      That’s what I get too.

    • AndrewC says:

      It really, really, really reads like he wants to sell the cutscenes.

    • subedii says:

      Back of the box:

      *Story sold separately

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Yeh, it is very much worded that way but given the rest of what he says I think his meaning is fresh content. I hope.

    • Alegis says:

      *Story not available offline in LAN mode*

      Story Experience May Change During Online Pay

    • Nallen says:

      @subedii The back of the box should say that now.

    • tomwaitsfornoman says:

      “There will be a time when we capitalise on the relationship that we have with our audience…”

      Am I reading too much into this?

    • Zogtee says:

      If it’s Bobby Kotick asking, then the answer is no, regardless of what he’s asking.

    • DrGonzo says:

      If this meant Starcraft 2 cheap without the awful story then I would be all for it. Though it would probably mean the game is no cheaper and you just have to pay on top of what we currently do. But seriously, Starcraft 2 had possibly the worst story and cut scenes of a game I’ve ever played outside of a JRPG.

    • jsdn says:

      @tomwaitsfornoman That relationship is fading fast. I just read it as “let’s try to make as much money as possible before the Blizzard name is completely run into the ground.”
      I’m all for seeing a Starcraft movie, but their true intentions are bleeding through their words.

  3. Jesus says:

    If the script will be on the level of SC2, don’t bother.

    • Wulf says:

      Some people might assume you’re being a dick, here, but that really is a fair point. I don’t think that writing is something that Blizzard has done exceedingly well since, well, perhaps Diablo II, and the plot and lore for that was done by different people than those who staff Blizzard now. Looking at the lore of World of Warcraft and on, it really isn’t the most appealing, complex, challenging, and well-written stuff out there, and frankly, having poked my nose at Starcraft II I still feel that Dawn of War II provides a better experience, perhaps because it at least provides a slightly interesting plot.

      Now this brings me to another thought: Would I pay for a Warhammer 40k movie? I would, I would, I would, i would, I would, I would, I would, I would!!! Games Workshop need to consider this, and seriously, a Warhammer not 40k might be a bit meh, but 40k is good enough for a film, I’d think. Starcraft II though? Nope. Blizzard’s best writers abandoned them a bit ago, as I said, and they haven’t exactly had any need to replace their writers because Blizzard are Blizzard and people are going to buy anything they sell anyway, regardless of its quality. They could easily put the dried puke of Chris Metzen with a Blizzard logo stamped on it up for sale, and it would sell like hot cakes! We all know it would, we know this is true. This is why they don’t need good writers, and why they haven’t bothered to replace them since they lost their good writers.

      This is also why a film based around that lore would, quite frankly, stink to high heaven and give Ebert more reason to complain that games are shit because they make such poor films when they’re turned into films. And that would be very, very annoying.

    • Wulf says:

      Mind you, I don’t think that Starcraft II is a bad game. I do not. It definitely can have its fun moments, I just think the writing is not exactly the greatest writing in the Universe, and this is something I believe I’ve seen both Quinns and Tycho admit at different points. Starcraft II sells on gameplay alone, not story, and the reason that I prefer Dawn of War II is because I love me a good plot in my games. I’m flawed that way.

    • Sweedums says:

      @Wulf

      there is currently a CGI 40K film being made caled Ultramarines…. and yes, you guessed it. it’s about the Ultramarines.

      however, it’s not all bad, Dan Abnett has done the screenplay, and I rather enjoyed some of his 40k books, he certainly knows how to handle the IP.

      also. JOHN HURT VOICES ONE OF THE SPACE MARINES!!! sorry…. i like John Hurt…

      link to ultramarinesthemovie.com

    • Flaringo says:

      Wulf:
      “Would I pay for a Warhammer 40k movie? I would, I would, I would, i would, I would, I would, I would, I would!!!”

      It’s your lucky day!
      link to ultramarinesthemovie.com

      Or it will be at some point.

    • Xercies says:

      The thing is a lot of the Warhammer 40k books take themselves way to seriously, and i think the film will take itself seriously as well. No one probably will truly get the Warhammer 40k as a kind of satire of war.

      Myself i want a Paul Verheovon Imperial Guard Movie.

    • Medina says:

      Unfortunately the CGI in the ultramarines movie is garbage.

      They should have hired the team that did the Dawn of War intros, or the team doing the cut scenes for space marine.

    • frymaster says:

      omg Paul Verhoeven would be literally perfect for a 40k movie

      I would buy that for many many dollars

    • LintMan says:

      @frymaster – Verhoeven, really? I liked Robocop, but that was a satire. Then he made Starship Troopers into a stupid joke. I don’t think he’d have any respect for the Warhammer source material.

    • Coillscath says:

      @lintman Funny thing is, Warhammer 40k originated in satire. Everything about their armies was taking the piss out of generic sci fi/fantasy tropes. The eldar were the snooty “TASTE THE RAINBOW” space elves, the orkz were dim-witted, miraculously technological soccer hooligans, and the space marines were the big grunty herculean space monks with a bad case of Pauldrons. The lore has definitely changed over the years, especially with games like Dawn Of War having a much more serious take on the universe (Not a bad thing mind you, I really enjoyed them) but at least in the models, the original point was indeed satire.

      While I don’t know how well received a sarcastic take on Warhammer 40k would do as a movie, it could definitely be entertaining to see. DoW2 Retribution looks like it’s going to be showing us a bit of that, what with playing as the Orkz.

  4. billyblaze says:

    What I would do is pirating it, whether I’ll ever watch it or not. Just because he’s Bobby fucking Kotick.

  5. Rinox says:

    If it manages to give me the same rollercoaster of thrills and sheer frustration/rage as when you respectively win or lose a game in MP…then yes.

    I swear, it’s been years since a a computer game managed to evoke such moments of rage in me as SC2. Then again, I DO play Zerg, so frustration is common.

  6. Xocrates says:

    Or in other words, they’re thinking about selling SC2’s collector DVD?

  7. Ernheim says:

    The problem is in the way he wants to approach ‘making’ these video game movies. It’s not ‘Lets make an additional movie,’ it’s, in his own words, “taking that hour, or hour and a half, taking it out of the game.” Because, you know, taking content out of a game then charging extra for it is sensible and all.

    He’s not offering gamers extra content, he’s saying “Lets sell them the game at retail and charge extra for the story later.”

  8. Rich says:

    I wouldn’t put it past them to try charging $20 to $30 for it. It’ll be cracking pirate fodder though.

    Ah yes, and does anyone know how much control our favourite super-evil-mega-corp. has over the StarCraft IP? Would Blizzard be able to veto this?

    • Wulf says:

      The anything for a bit of extra money corruption has been trickling down from Activision into Blizzard for a long time now. The thing is, I know most people won’t understand why, but I kind of lost respect for Blizzard around the time of the whole Vivendi thing, and to break off from Vivendi only to throw themselves into the ‘loving embrace’ of Activision just turned me off more.

      That Activision has a say in how Blizzard does things is pretty obvious, the new item shop in World of Warcraft shows that. To be honest, if Blizzard were still Blizzard, then I doubt a lot of things would be as they are now. They probably would’ve switched over from the subscription model to a buy to play one with their MMOs, Starcraft II likely would’ve been written well and provided a complete experience for all the races involved, and there wouldn’t be an item shop in WoW whose obvious purpose is to rip you off as much as possible.

      I mean, the Pandaren pet… really? Really?

      So I don’t think Blizzard would veto this at all, either they’d be powerless to stop it and forced to make it, or they’d completely and wholeheartedly support the idea of selling cutscenes. If Blizzard hadn’t sold themselves out to Vivendi, and then Activision, I’d think differently of them. But these days? Eh.

      And really, I’m not the only one who feels this way. A lot of my favourite Blizzard people left around the time of the Vivendi thing.

    • bleeters says:

      The Blizzard store irks me no end. I’m not a massive fan of micro-transaction stuff in the first place, but combining it with a pre-existing monthly subscription? Good grief. Not to mention the emergence of a half dozen or so paid services that cropped up after Activision got on the scene.

      Bah, etc.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      “and to break off from Vivendi only to throw themselves into the ‘loving embrace’ of Activision”

      Huh?

  9. davefp says:

    They’d need to hire some seriously better writers before I’d pay to watch an SC2 movie. Even then, $20-$30? No thanks. If film studios can afford theater releases with $10 tickets, ActiBlizzard can afford the same for a digital one. If not cheaper.

    • Wulf says:

      They wouldn’t need it. :p I’m so bitter about this whole scenario, but we both know that the Starcraft ‘film’ could be two hours of space marine and zerg sock puppets hitting each other over the head with sticks and people would still buy it.

      …actually, no, that actually might be kind of funny, I need to come up with something less inventive.

      Okay, it would just be a two hour long battle sequence with lines grunted in broken English, and littered with pop-culture references to make it look cool. There.

    • Nallen says:

      I know, hilarious isn’t it. $30 for a download only 60-90 minute cutscene quality shitfest of a ‘film’ which you would almost certainly have to be connected to Battle.net to watch. Biggest opening weekend of any film ever? Try ‘most widely pirated and rapidly deleted waste of bandwidth ever’.

      I think what I’ll do is watch a couple Pixar movies at the cinema, thanks.

    • sinister agent says:

      They’d need to hire some seriously better writers before I’d pay to watch an SC2 movie

      Hoboy. I’m glad someone said it. Hell, a movie written at the standard of almost any videogame so far would be dire.

  10. Mike says:

    Most of his thought processes are summed up by the bit where he says “We have their credit card information”.

    • Rich says:

      Yes, I little red light went on for me, at that point.
      It seems this is key to what Kotick thinks of as a relationship.

    • GenBanks says:

      Haha yeah, what a creepy thing to say. It’s almost like he realised that and then corrected himself too late by adding the corporate phraseology a “direct relationship [with our customers]”

    • Nallen says:

      @Rich
      Does he have a wife? I wonder if that’s what she thinks of as a relationship too lol

  11. Kikimaru says:

    And people have the gall to complain when Apple demand $10 for the same feature.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      The fact that Kotick is demanding more does not suddenly and magically make Apple demanding money any more acceptable, you know.

    • Azazel says:

      It doesn’t stop them charging £580 for a RAID card either.

      Seriously: check out the Mac Pro websites ‘configure your own’ section. It’s utterly LOLsome.

    • Xercies says:

      Theres one thing, Apple actually make sure they hide ther fuckery and evilness with magic pr and brainwashing. Activision just outright says “We are Evil!”

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      The IT folks I know have a joke about Apple – Q: What’s the difference between a Window’s user and a MacOS’ user? A: The Window’s user will admit his operating system sucks.

  12. GenBanks says:

    I can definitely see something along these lines happening, and can also see the appeal. People watch all sorts of user-made machinima and films on youtube. I agree that 20-30 is a crazy figure though. I would see this sort of thing as supporting the game, implemented like a DLC type thing, and priced as such. The game remains the main attraction, with payed films or shorts not trying to steal the spotlight from the game the way that hollywood films based on games do.

    Valve also hinted at doing something like this in their recent interview with PC Gamer: that they would consider doing a Half Life movie but would want to do it themselves. And they’ve experimented with that sort of thing already with their TF2 shorts introducing the different classes and it’s worked really well. Then they could distribute the films exclusively through steam and really expand the platform in the process.

    • Rich says:

      I’m pretty sure in that interview they said they wouldn’t want to do it themselves. They’re not film makers and acknowledged that. They did say that they’d be (and have been) very picky about who they’d let do it.

    • Dhatz says:

      they’re already doing a L4D comic, so there’s no stupping it. only problem is the fucken price of those extras.

    • Rich says:

      They made TF2 comic too, but that’s a smidge different from actually making a movie. The comic artists might even be the people who do concept are for Valve in their normal games-making role.

      Although having said that, the Portal 2 trailers are the closest thing Valve have done to the pre-rendered stuff in SC2.

    • Wulf says:

      That makes me twitch and want to beat someone with a foam mallet.

      The thing is, the Starcraft II film would obviously be an elongated cutscene, there’s nothing special about that. And one that they’re charging $20-30 for, which people would absolutely pay for, the majority would probably pre-order it even before they were sure it actually existed.

      Valve, on the other hand, being Valve, whom I love dearly, actually hired proper writers and comic book artists, you know, the real deal, to make proper comic books, comic books they could easily have charged for but gave away for free, thus ensuring my love for them. You know, this is the kind of thing I used to love about Blizzard back before they were eaten by one corporate monster after another, they’d give you free stuff, awesome free stuff.

      Valve, not having been eaten by a corporate monster, but having become a corporate entity all by itself without the monster bit tends to still give away free stuff, and it’s some of the best free stuff I’ve ever seen. In fact, their free stuff is even pretty good advertising, because at this point I would buy a game in which Saxton Hale has to save the ever precious Australium from evil terrarists.

      And since it’s Valve, I’m pretty much guaranteed that it’s going to be at least as funny as the comic books.

      Please Valve, make a Saxton Hale game. Just… just do it.

  13. Archonsod says:

    Given the quality of their movies, I’d pay them not to inflict any of them on me. Or is that the plan all along? Is there a buggrit, millenium hand and shrimp mode hidden in SCII?

  14. Okami says:

    Would be only fitting, since most people (and I’m using this word in it’s loosest sense here) who work at publishers don’t understand games, don’t like games and would much rather be making movies instead.

  15. niffk says:

    can somebody please assassinate and/or fire that man? i can’t help but feel he is one of the driving forces behind activision’s current uncompromising capitalist attitude towards the games industry right now

    • ChaosSmurf says:

      Capitalism.

      In my western company.

      HOW. DARE. THEY.

    • Dhatz says:

      internet is gonna break the current capitalism into pieces, no questions asked, no regrets.

    • mlaskus says:

      Don’t associate capitalism with unethical business practices.

    • Harlander says:

      It can’t help but be associated. No capitalism, no business practices, dodgy or otherwise :p

    • cliffski says:

      Without capitalism, the internet would still be a bunch of scientists staring at a coffee machine, and sending each other text messages from the command line.

    • Sassenach says:

      It seems something of a shame that free market capitalism that values relentless pursuit of short term share value increases above all else is abbreviated to simply “capitalism”. But then the first form is a bit long winded.

    • Wulf says:

      Cliffski: That’s not that different than what we have now. Except that the command line is forums, and the Scientists are your everyday yobs.

      Frankly, I wonder if your ‘without Capitalism’ version would’ve been infinitely better.

      Still, suffice it to say, it’s not a hell of a lot different. Just a lot of people sitting around in front of screens doing a lot of garbage-in-garbage-out with text.

      The point of this message isn’t to admonish or endorse capitalism, it’s just an observation.

    • Josh W says:

      And we wouldn’t have had capitalism without the feudal structure that preceded it, the past happened, and it led to the things after it!

      I’m not personally convinced that “internetness” will gobble up capitalism and replace it, but things can quite easily create the conditions for their own destruction, as anyone who’s played dwarf fortress or sim city will know.

      But I have to say, I do love the idea of people creating “re-enactment sweatshops” like people currently do with medieval war.

  16. Handles says:

    Id pay for a TF2 movie, if it were cheaper than a cinema ticket.

    • jarvoll says:

      I’d pay for a TF2 movie if it were twice the price of a regular movie ticket, since it’d be guaranteed to be twice as worth watching as the drivel Hollywood pukes up year after year, polluting our minds and enblandening (yes, made-up word) cultures that aren’t Californian or New-Yorkian.

    • Wulf says:

      I second this motion. In fact, I support it in a vehement and wholehearted way that I rarely find myself doing in RPS. Seriously, Valve has great writers and artists, they care about that shit, it’s important to them. They show me this over and over with free stuff.

      So I would absolutely pay for a Team Fortress 2 film, because Valve are one of the few, the incredibly few big companies I trust not to just toss out some crap with a big name attached to it just to make some easy money. I would also pay for a ‘silent’ Portal film that involves the co-op Portal robots.

    • MWoody says:

      I’d pay exactly the cost of a movie ticket for a TF2 film. And my porridge is perfect, too.

  17. Snargelfargen says:

    Nobody has mentioned Final Fantasy Advent Children. A blizzard movie would probably have much more in common with that. 60+ minutes of everybody’s favourite characters bashing each other with over-sized swords. Except the shoulderpads would be huge as well.

  18. RobH says:

    Direct to DVD movies are cheaper than $20 to $30, have real actors in them, and better writing than the cut scenes in SC2. I certainly wouldn’t buy a “look we hacked all the cut scenes into a movie, will you buy it” title.

    That said, if they wanted to do what Games Workshop is currently doing in making a CGI movie in the Warhammer 40K universe, with good writers producing the script, and great voice acting talent involved in the production, then that might be a different story. But just the CGI cut scenes from the game? No.

  19. poop says:

    no.

  20. Durandal says:

    Man, the SC2 cut-scenes weren’t all that good. I don’t think I’d bother paying for them specifically.

  21. ChaosSmurf says:

    I think the issue is more who’s saying it than what is being said. Valve say they might make a movie, cheering fills the streets. Kotick says it, people start getting the pitchforks.

    It’s almost like there’s tremendous bias.

    Almost.

    Anyway, 1-1.5 hours of Blizzard quality cinematics? Sell me a collector’s edition, because I’ll pay whatever.

    • AndrewC says:

      Yes, dear.

    • Hentzau says:

      Well yes. That’s kind of the point. Valve say they’re thinking of making a movie, cheering fills the streets because of their previous stellar work with the Meet The… shorts. Kotick says the same thing and people start getting the pitchforks because of his obsession with monetising everything to do with videogaming. Valve have a good track record with this stuff, Kotick doesn’t.

    • ChaosSmurf says:

      They’re thinking of doing exactly the same thing, mentioning companies who have equally amazing cutscene track records. You think Valve won’t sell theirs? o_O

    • AndrewC says:

      No, its about you thinking there’s pro-Valve bias, as opposed to pro-company that is good to its customers bias.

    • Rinox says:

      The point is that Valve hasn’t shown itself to be a ruthless company that cheerfully rips its customers off in the past.

    • Archonsod says:

      They have. The main difference however is that Valve’s entries into the sphere are well written, enjoyable and worth watching. Blizzard’s on the other hand presumably exist only to provide Uwe Boll with someone to look down upon.

    • Hentzau says:

      Not that they’re not technically impressive, of course, but I wouldn’t want to watch an hour and a half’s worth of Blizzard cutscenes with SC2-grade writing.

    • Rinox says:

      @ Archonsod

      Valve has shown itself to be a ruthless company that rips its customers of? How? When? Where?

    • Rich says:

      For me, the ruthlessness of Valve is another question. I personally think they’re quite a ethical company, with regards to how they treat their customers, but then I’m not a L4D player.

      Activision on the other hand has a boss who is quoted as saying “The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games.” If a company can be characterised by the people who run it, then that’s what we have to go on.

      I would very much like to shit in that guy’s cornflakes.

    • Red Avatar says:

      @Rinox where have you been? In one word: Steam. Licenses? Heck no, let’s make them worthless subscriptions and then close people’s accounts for trivial shit. THAT is ripping off people because you take all their rights away.

      If you took Steam out of the Valve equation, they’d be a top company. With all the crap they pulled with Steam, they’re just a company with good PR to me. Valve is like a two headed monster – one with a nice face, the other with a nasty face. They just try to hide the nasty one and people buy that there’s only the nice face.

    • Fumarole says:

      I would very much like to shit in that guy’s cornflakes.

      As said elsewhere, this is ten times funnier when interpreted as being said by Nixon’s head.

    • Wulf says:

      I’m sorry, person above wot started this comments thread, but you’re wrong. When you speak about other people without actually having a clue as to their motivations, you can be wrong. And you, sir, are absolutely wrong in the truest meaning of the word.

      The problem with Blizzard is that they haven’t had good writers in forever (nor good artists, in my opinion, but I’m in the minority on that one), they don’t need good writers. A Starcraft game doesn’t have to do the things I want a game to do, like having an involving story, or being artistically beautiful, it just has to be fanservice to people who like Blizzard games. This is exactly what Starcraft II was, Blizzard are geat at doing that. But the writing, I’m sorry, the writing was atrocious, the art was subpar, and the game was… well, it was a Blizzard game. Which is to say that it had its fun moments but I think there are better games out there, because personally I’m hung up on things like plot. Yes, I’m weird, I know.

      The point of all this is that Blizzard’s game is telling. If you ask Blizzard to ‘make a film’, they don’t need proper writing, or fantastic cinematic scenes, they just need to make a two hour long battle scene that’s fanservicy enough, they need to just toss in the odd bit of grunted, broken English, litter it with pop-culture references, and boom, you have a Blizzard experience, right there. Except the only difference is is that it lacks the part that Blizzard is actually pretty decent at still: the game.

      Valve, on the other hand, have offered hard proof in the past in Half-Life 2, in Portal, in Team Fortress 2, and in all the free comics and video bits they release that they have fantastic writers, and they also hire comic book artists, too. Valve knows how to put something together that I like. In the Left4Dead games I loved the ongoing patter between the characters, every now and then they’d talk and I’d just sit and listen, it was great stuff. Even right there, on the field, they had some pretty impressive character building going on, and that’s because they’re Valve, Valve knows how to do this.

      So if you have a Valve film, what do you get? Well, you don’t get the same as you would from Blizzard. What you’d get is what the video bits have shown us, what the comics have shown us, what their bloody games have shown us, we’d actually get an enjoyable and well written experience, and Valve have proved in the Half-Life games and episodes that they’re not that bad at cinematic set pieces, either. I mean, consider this… the Source engine has the best facial animations of any engine in the industry. It always did, it’s one fo the things that made Vampire: Bloodlines so great, it still does, it continues to, it’s unmatched. Now, why would they even bother with that? Because Valve wants to tell you a story.

      Also important is that Valve wants you to believe their characters are alive, those characters, all of them, they mean something to someone in Valve, someone is very passionate about each of them, I’d even say that there are groups of people in Valve whom are passionate about the various characters, and the passion they pour into those characters shows.

      That is why Valve could make a film.

      I can name every character Valve has ever created off the top of my head, but ask me about Blizzard and my response would be something along the lines of …buh? :P It’s not just fanboy talk, the evidence is there and it’s pretty damn obvious. When Blizzard starts putting that kind of effort into their games, and into giving me free comics and video bits in order to convince me they can do this, then I’ll believe they can do a film. Right now, I’m convinced that their writers are interns who pretty much scribble the plots of upcoming Blizzard games down on napkins.

    • ChaosSmurf says:

      The bit where you said you weren’t a fanboy was my favourite part.

    • DrGonzo says:

      How is he a fanboy? Your Blizzard rantings make you sound like a massive fanboy. Blizzard make great games, but the most generic cliched stories ever.

      On another note, Steam has never ripped me off or done anything malicious. In fact it seems to me to be a great service, and I get loads and loads of free add ons for my games, including Left 4 Dead.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Agh double post. I meant to also say, no I don’t think Valve would sell their cutscenes. I’m believe they could make an original film will stuff developed only for that and sell it.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Agh double post. I meant to also say, no I don’t think Valve would sell their cutscenes. I believe they could make an original film will stuff developed only for that and sell it.

  22. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    “If we were to take that hour, or hour and a half, take it out of the game”

    Seriously?

    No.

    Or at least get proper writers for once.

  23. ChaosSmurf says:

    Oh, oh, and if you think the writing in SC2 is worse than most blockbusters, you haven’t watched a movie since 1983

    • poop says:

      if you think the writing in SC2 is better than most blockbusters you need to stop exclusively watching movies made by michael bay and then probably throw yourself off a cliff

  24. Clovis says:

    Ugh, cutscenes are only bearable in the context of a game.

    The other day on the Joystiq podcast someone complained that as they got older they were worried that they should be doing something more mature with their time. One of the responses was something like, “I can pretty much play games around people without any embarrassment … at least until a cutscene starts.”

    I’m often surprised how I’ll think nothing of some really terrible cliche’d dialogue when I’m playing alone, but if someone is around I suddenly realise just how terrible this stuff is. I almost have to say out loud, “Oh, wow, this sure is cheesy. Heh, I mainly like the shooty bits, heh.” But really, I love watching even the worst cutscenes, but only as part of the game.

    • Dhatz says:

      and alone, as showing ability to voluntarily go through torture was never a good thing to do in public. Or showing that games still can’t do everything properly.

    • drewski says:

      Laughing/groaning in social settings at awful cutscenes is part of the fun of gaming.

  25. Alec Meer says:

    ¡Read the post!
    He’s not actually talking about selling the existing cutscenes.
    ¡Read the post!

    • AndrewC says:

      Yeah, but it reeeeeaaaaallly reads like it does. And he does eat babies.

    • Rich says:

      Well known for it. Ask anyone.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      He does do a great job of being everybody’s favorite wrasslin’ bad-guy. Haven’t seen many comments about this, though: link to pc.ign.com Bobby ‘Fucking’ Kotick turning down an opportunity to extract money?!? The guy just strikes me as another loud-mouthed type-A asshole CEO. Who keeps his board happy by making shit-tons of money.

    • Wulf says:

      Kotick is annoying but he’s typical of the kind of corporate machine that Activision is, really.

      As for the article, it sounds much more like he’s saying ‘heh, we’re too big for ads now, ads are for the little guys who actually need to dilute interest in their own IPs for a bit of extra cash’ rather than ‘I think ads, in general, are a really bad thing and something I would never, ever do even if there was lots of money involved’.

      And that’s the problem with him, he tends to be very arrogant, his arrogance probably makes him look 10x more evil than he actually is. It’s also why the article reads like he wants to take the cutscenes out of games and sell them separately, even if he actually doesn’t.

      What Kotick needs is to let his PR firm write everything he’s going to say for him, even in interviews.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      I think it was more a dig at EA, who put out a press release saying a study of in-game advertising linking an increase in Gatorade sales to ads that were run in some EASports’ titles. link to pc.ign.com Therefore, expect to see more in-game advertising in future EA titles.

      Kotick has been making a lot of noise about revenue changes at Activison: link to gamasutra.com This says to me that their current revenue models are about to decline, if the decline hasn’t already begun. I do find it amusing that he has so much vitriol directed at him, when other CEOs, who say and do similar things *cough, Steve Jobs, cough*, are given a pass, if not outright lionized.

    • DrGonzo says:

      @ Alec

      How do you know that exactly? “If we were to take that hour, or hour and a half, take it out of the game”
      That does sound a lot like it to me.

    • wcaypahwat says:

      I did notice that they do have a DVD of all the cutscenes from the original starcrafts on the blizzard store, though. So don’t be too surprised if they do try and sell the SCII ones on top of it, as well :/

  26. Dhatz says:

    let’s thank T2 for clipping shit out of mafia II and most of it we’ll never see. if this DLC shit doesn’t provoke demonstrations in streeets at some point, what will? I think the necessary business revolution is about to finally break out.

    • Clovis says:

      lolwut? You might see people in the streets when they can’t afford necessities like food and electricity. But no one is going to protest video game prices or DLC. Or rather, they won’t do so in the streets. They will simply not buy them.

      Companies charging a lot for entertainment products is not something to get that angry about. They are not evil people oppressing the massess. They are businessmen.

      (/me imagines Che Guevara on a t-shirt leading the business revolution)

  27. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Solely online? Rubbish. Not going to happen. Download only? Erk..

    That is, I have no problem with CGI movies or such, but I’d much rather have them on DVD. Sure, that’s going to add to teh price and difficulty of distribution but they do that well enough with their games.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      And yeah, it should be a movie for all intents and purposes. Possibly connected to an existing world of theirs, but with a story which stands on it’s own and is resolved. And it should be decently long. Preferably Avatar-like long (although I’m not in favour of stretching out a script, but the longer it is without compromising the story and content the more it’ll feel like a rollercoaster ride to me.. which is, for me, what such movies (like Avatar, Star Wars, etc.) are primarily about.

    • Dhatz says:

      you ever realised why Iron Man doesn’t want to show off every detail of that suit in long shots? cuz tracking is helluva time and cash expensive. manual labor. in india. And maybe they don’t want to torture their PCs that much.

    • LintMan says:

      His wording really does sound like he wants to remove the cutscenes from the game and sell them to us separately. Maybe if there was more surrounding context to the quote, it might clear that up, but as it stands, it seems pretty plain.

      Let’s say it is a “new” movie, though. I generally really enjoy in-game cutscenes and fiction (yes, I’m the one), so a movie-length feature for certain games is actually kind of appealing to me. But I’ll be damned if I pay “$20-$30” to watch it. I’d be hard pressed to pay even theater ticket price ($8) for a download movie, and at that price, I’d expect a heck of a lot more detailed and higher quality story/plot/characterization than what you get in game cutscenes. I enjoy watching cutscenes, but Kotick should harbor no illusions that a bunch of them put together would automatically make it a movie-grade experience.

      Also, I’d worry that this trend would lead to the in-game cutscenes getting shaved as material got shifted out from in-game to the “movie”, in the same way that other game content that once would have been part of a game release or a free addition later is now being reserved and sold as DLC.

    • LintMan says:

      Doh! Reply misfire – this was supposed to be to Alec’s post above.

  28. Theory says:

    Valve are thinking of making a TF2 movie, and I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be sold over Steam. This seems like much the same idea.

  29. sexyresults says:

    If it was a good movie/story I would, but if it is similar to sc2 story line, I wouldn’t be very excited.

  30. Cyrenic says:

    At first I was wondering where he was getting this $20-$30 price point from. Then I remembered they get away with selling tiny Call of Duty map packs for $15.

  31. Sigma Draconis says:

    Whatever kind of StarCraft movie is produced (CGI or otherwise), it couldn’t possibly turn out any worse than the King of Fighters movie: link to youtube.com

    • Dhatz says:

      that’s not the pint of his discussion, the stuff important is that game cinematis are meant to be viewed in context and vice versa, I suppose.

    • Sigma Draconis says:

      Haha, sorry I missed that. It’s still early over here.

  32. Dawngreeter says:

    This is kinda-sorta ridiculous. He wants to reinvent digital distribution, but limited to distribution points already reserved for games? That’s like saying you’ll make better radios if you sell ’em only in stores that already sell cars. Sure, people who buy cars usually want radios in ’em but… they can.. already… buy… the damn radios.

    If game companies want to make CGI movies about their games, awesome. They can do that yesterday. But they’re not doing that because they already have their employees as slave labor and more whip-snapping isn’t going to make them not have to eat or sleep.

  33. zoombapup says:

    Have to say I think this is pretty inevitable and a pretty good idea overall. What he’s talking about, outside of HIM talking about it, is developers forming deeper relationships with their customers. Which means as a gamer you get your entertainment direct from the source rather than from some third party distributor.

    Which means that the bigger players can afford to experiment with different forms of entertainment, like film, games etc.

    What it means is that you pay the person who creates the content, rather than the broadcaster, or the distributor. I think overall this is a good thing. Of course I’ve no problem with it because as an indie developer thats exactly what I hope to achieve. The downside of course, is that people like kotick will err on the side of screwing their audience rather than nurturing them. Which inevitably will lead to a bunch of people disliking the idea of direct relationships with devs. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, if you could get the likes of the people who actually do the technical rendering side of Blizz’s stuff and put them with a half decent scriptwriter you would most likely get a great production.

    Just avoid people like kotick when this kind of thing becomes the norm.

  34. Nick says:

    If it were written by someone other than whoever wrote SC2, maybe, but no more than 5 quid.

  35. Hoernchen says:

    I actually thought this was real till we arrived at the price point.

  36. Dean says:

    This could actually be good for three reasons:

    1) The cutscene effort would go in to the companion movie, which you could of course use when promoting the game. Developers would actually be encouraged to make in-game cutscenes as short as possible to get across their point, so the big bucks could go on the film. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    2) The main use of this would probably be movies as game prequels (as since most games don’t get finished, a sequel makes less sense). That would allow us to get invested in the characters and their back-story before we start the actual game, which means in-game exposition could be cut down to only what’s necessary.

    3) If you’re going to make a movie, there surely has to be some recognition that you actually need decent writers and voice actors (and voice directors) as if that product has to stand-alone, it’ll be subject to much more criticism than in-game stuff. Of course, once you have them, you’re surely going to use them in-game too as part of the same project, so you should get better in-game stuff too.

    I can take or leave the actual product, but the fringe benefits are quite good.

  37. Jahkaivah says:

    @ChaosSmurf

    “You think Valve won’t sell theirs?”

    It honestly wouldn’t be a massive surprised if they didn’t. And if they did, it certainly wouldn’t be for 20$ – 30$.

  38. kororas says:

    if they did the full SC + SC2 main story (not including all those side stories covered in the books) released as some sort of trilogy then i would pay a resonable price.

    I think the idea is good of skipping all the usual box office/hollywood guff is a good one as I can see there being much of an audience outside of SC fans. The money saved should increase the incentive to do it. You’d probably only be able to watch the films through battle.net though!

    • kororas says:

      argh! must remeber to check sp + grammar before hitting that button!

  39. Zinic says:

    If Kotick is involved, no.

    If he was fired before it happend, maybe.

  40. Sigma Draconis says:

    There’s potential in the idea (enough money to be thrown at it, too), and something I wouldn’t mind seeing. Kotick being anywhere near it makes it less appealing.

  41. Ergates says:

    If I wanted to pay $20-30 for a 1-1.5 hour movie I’d go play MGS4 instead.

    HA HA HA HA. I MADE A JOKE. IT’S FUNNY BECAUSE MGS4 HAS LOTS OF CUTSCENES.

  42. Brumisator says:

    I like to keep my videogames and films separate, thank you very much.

  43. teo says:

    The writing in SC2 was embarrassingly bad, so no

  44. pipman3000 says:

    no i wouldn’t. the people at blizzard are horrible writers. if they made a movie uwe boll could point at it and say “see i’m not the worst film maker in the world” and he’d be right

  45. dingo says:

    I have bought a collection of Blizzard cutscenes in higher definition before.
    However I only did it because it’s BLIZZARD and they had a legendary track record back then.
    The DVDs are indeed awesome.

    So to sum it up:
    Only old BLIZZARD quality and ONLY on DVD.

  46. Tei says:

    Slipery slope.
    – Multiplayer parts, the base game contains 4 maps, next maps sell in a DLC.
    – Cutscenes part, the base game contains basic scenes that give a uncomplete non-sense story, all the story can be watch again (with 2 extra scenes that make the whole have sense) for streaming for $20.

    My real only problem with this is quality. Can the people of blizzard produce a nice movie for that money? if the product lacks quality, then we could stop talking here. But if that money can generate something very cool, that is otherwise not possible to create, then I approve it. Is all about quality and “enabling” things.

    CAPTCHA: ePmC

    guys, I think I have found the formula for time travel.

  47. BooleanBob says:

    Starcraft and Kotick aside, I think there’s legs in this – but not for conventional 90 minute movies. See, games don’t always do story very well, but they’re much better of creating memorable and likeable characters. So you give them opportunities to spend more time with these characters, free from the irritating back-of-the-mind context of how you should really getting on with saving the world or rescuing the princess or whatever.

    If you liberate much-loved characters – for example, the Monkey Island gang – from the tropes and trappings of a game’s given story arc, place them in an amusing or unusual context (Guybrush meets LeChuck at the supermarket, for the classic example) then bam! 20p popcorn missives that people will go wild for. It’s unlikely that people are going to go to the effort of torrenting a 5-minute video, and youtube seems fairly well-policed these days, so piracy would be comparatively lower than if you were to try billing for a feature-length film of the sort that people happily pirate every day of the week.

    So yes, what I seem to be suggesting is the monetisation of Valve’s Meet the Team videos. I don’t know quite how I arrived at this position, but it seems to confirm that, to my own great surprise, I am very much The Enemy. I’d better go kill myself for the greater good of mankind.

  48. bill says:

    You mean i can find out the story of Starcraft (apparently there’s something interesting with Kerrigan (whoever she is)) without actually having to suffer through the game?

    Sounds awesome!

  49. egg says:

    Agree. Can’t argue with the Jesus.

  50. Me says:

    F*** you, Kotick

    Where do I go to pay for this now? I can just keep hitting refresh for the next 5 years till its done.