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For better or worse, games and films are converging more all the time, and the biggest outcome of the media cross-over so far is the number of movie directors setting up game projects. Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg and Zach Snyder have all either dabbled or are about to, and we can't see the trend ending any time soon.
We're not thoroughly convinced though. How differently would any of these projects really have turned out without the big name on the box? And did any of them really feel like the work of their filmic overseer? Now, we're fully aware that film and game production are two very different disciplines, but we think that cinematic talent can certainly be utilised better than it has been so far. So here's our list of directors we really want making games, and what we want to see from them. Only two rules; our choices can't have done games before, and we're not going to discuss licensing their existing movies.
(Batman, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, The Nightmare Before Christmas)
Old Timbo had to be on this list, didn't he? One of the most visually distinct movie directors of his generation, his style has been aped by pretty much every medium going since he hit the big time, but now we think we're due for something directly from the man himself.
Burton's wintry Gothic visuals and theme of the outsider protagonist fighting grotesque 'normality' would work well in pretty much any genre, though given his propensity for atmosphere and introspection, they might be wasted on an all-out action game. A twisted, character-driven adventure in the vein of Psychonauts would be a beautiful prospect, as in fact would a Burton-directed point-and-click.
His expressionist worlds of alienation and outlandish but sympathetic characters would be a natural fit, and if he could be persuaded to hand-draw the art work in his trademark "Oyster Boy" style, then all the better. Though by Burton's own admission, he's crap with plots, so it might be better just to let him come up wth the story and have someone else work on the script under his supervision.
Guillermo Del Toro
(Cronos, Blade II, Hellboy, The Devil's Backbone, Pan's Labyrinth)
Guillermo Del Toro can do anything he wants in videogames as far as we're concerned, just as long as he does it. And as long as he makes it more tangible than some vague 'overseeing' duties on a crap Hellboy game, naturally. There might have been an explosive disturbance in the fanboy force when his mate Peter Jackson became linked with Halo, but an original Del Toro project has much more potential, we reckon.
From his feature debut with Cronos right through to Blade 2, Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth, Del Toro has always packed his films full of two major ingredients: intelligent, emotional character drama and bloody brilliant monsters. We need both of those in videogames, and the prospect of having them intertwined to a Del Toro standard almost has us weeping with pre-emptive joy.
(Princess Mononoke, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away)
They call Miyazaki the Japanese Disney, but in truth he's much better than that. Very few directors in animation can match his visual flair or ability to infuse depth and pathos into even the most seemingly standard fairytale set-ups. His work can genuinely be enjoyed on an adult level, to the degree that there's not even any need to have a kid around to justify what you're watching.
With HD cel shading looking utterly gorgeous in these days of Eternal Sonata and Tales of Vesperia, now is the time for a Miyazaki RPG. His themes of environmentalism, hatred of war and strong female characterisation would fit into the genre with ease, but his refusal to compartmentalise his characters into simple good and evil would make for one hell of a layered, thought-provoking game. And needless to say, it would look stunning.
(Rabid, Shivers, Scanners, The Fly, EXistenZ, A History of Violence)
As one of the founding fathers of body horror in the '80s, David Cronenberg has gooed up the screen with some of the filthiest, most unnerving creatures, deformations and gore in cinema history. He's also a very intelligent guy with a great grasp of human psychology; as displayed by his later, calmer films such as A History of Violence. As such, he's utterly perfect for survival horror.
All of those malshapen mockeries of the human form in Dead Space? Pure Cronenberg. But there's nothing quite like the genuine article, so we want him taking full creative control of his own horror game. We want a Cronenberg scenario, Cronenberg production design and, crucially, a Cronenberg script. The ideas and psychology of his horror are always as affecting as the amazing gore; usually moreso, and his studies of subjective perceptions of reality are a brilliant starting point for a fourth wall-messing videogame. If treated with enough respect by a publisher, his game could be the new Silent Hill 2.