Two years for a little less than two hours: those are the numbers behind The Trashmaster, a feature-length machinima flick made entirely using GTA IV PC and its video tools. Owing a hard-to-miss debt to Scorsese and likely to be pulled from the internet by the Rolling Stones' copyright lawyers any day now, this veritable labour of love is the flashy, violent tale of a vigilante garbageman, cleaning up whatever (i.e. whoever) the police can't...
I've must confess I didn't make it all the way through (it is, let's be honest, far too long, and the voices oh god the voices the voices) but it's enormously technically impressive. So much so that it's impossible not to suspect it's much, much more interested in stylised cinematography than involving narrative, with the painful voice acting a very distant third, but in visual terms it's a huge success.
Creator Mathieu Weschler has made GTA IV's frankly weird engine sing, presenting a dizzing array of camera angles, slo-mo and assorted post-processing, and demonstrating that, whatever other issues we had with GTA 4's PC port, Rockstar sure packed a lot of detail into their city. The Trashmaster borrows liberally from every blockbuster you've ever heard of, but you just can't fault the visual impressiveness.
An open plea to Machinima-makers - if you're making something with lots of dialogue, please please please do everything, anything you possibly can to get hold of people who can actually act. It's genuinely distressing to see something that someone's put so much time, energy and passion into undermined by yours mates/family/crushes muttering woodenly in funny accents. Just because Michael Bay does it doesn't mean you should. It's never, ever worth cutting that corner. Also please don't nick licensed music, cos some unsmiling suit-wearing man will come for you if your creation gets any attention.
That and its flabbiness aside, the Trashman is yer genuine magnum opus, and am impressive testament to what a game engine can convey once the limitations of shoulder-based player perspectives and icky interfaces are excised.
(Via Rockstar themselves.)