Which movie director makes the best games?

Paul WS Anderson is the director of Mortal Kombat (but not the sequel, so, kudos) and the first Resident Evil pic (ditto, though he's returning for the fourth installment). He's also the producer of DOA: Dead or Alive and the development hell-bound Castlevania movie (which he was also going to direct until he left the project for Death Race, which was basically Carmageddon starring the bloke from Crank). He's just announced that after all these movies based on videogames, he finally wants to just out and make the games themselves. So whose footsteps will he be following?

Peter Jackson

Movies: Lord of the Rings, King Kong
Game: Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie

How'd he do? Pretty well. The unwieldy vanity title – presumably meant to distinguish the game from John Guillermin's King Kong: The Official Game of the Notorious 1976 Flop - may have left out the game's most important element: Jackson's cohort, Beyond Good & Evil designer Michel Ancel.

That's no slight against the director: his skilful choice of collaborators has always been a strength, and Jackson's work with Ancel was well-received, matching the filmmaker's explosive populism with the designer's falutin' gaming sensibilities for the best of both worlds.

Give up the day job? Not just yet. PJKK:TOGotM was followed by the announcement that Middle Earth would become Halo, with Jackson working on both cinematic and videogame installments in Bungie's franchise from his homebase in Wellington, New Zealand. However, when funding was pulled, Halo's would-be director Neil Blomkamp made District 9 instead, and Jackson's Wingnut Interactive ceased work on the planned game to develop their own IP.

The Wachowskis

Movies: The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Speed Racer
Games: Enter The Matrix, The Matrix: Path of Neo

How'd they do? Not so great. While fans would generally agree that the later Matrix movies killed the brand fairly well on their own, Enter the Matrix – released between the second and third movies – was an early sign that things weren't going to end well for the franchise. The game was confused, clunky and damn-near unplayable upon release; the less ambitious follow-up, The Matrix: Path of Neo, tried to appease slighted fans, but succeeded only by raising the bar from “godawful” to merely “mediocre”.

Give up the day job? While that day job's not going so great itself – Speed Racer was poorly received, and the duo don't seem in a hurry to recapture the success of their early hits, Bound and the original Matrix – Wachowski and Wachowski's efforts aren't geared toward future games. Juggling production duties on films like Ninja Assassin with their comics imprint, Burlyman Entertainment, the pair show no signs of inflicting another Enter the Matrix on the gaming industry any time soon.

George Lucas

Movies: Herbie, The Emperor, THX 1138, American Graffiti, Star Wars
Game: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

How'd he do? Lucas has long been closely involved with games based on his IP: when developing little-known sci-fi sleeper Star Wars, he lobbied to retain the rights to all merchandise and tie-ins, and the profits from the resultant games alone – with Lucas often serving as writer or consultant - could probably pay off the national debt of several small nations. The Force Unleashed, boasting writing and production by Lucas, polarized Star Wars fans, pitting rabid acolytes against disappointed old-schoolers... which is to say, it did as well as any of Lucas's recent movies.

Give up the day job? Lucas's game studio, LucasArts Entertainment Company, boasts some of the best credentials of its day. If Lucas's day job could best be described as “Chairman of LucasArts with sidelines in filmmaking and beard cultivation,” then the best advice to the director (you know, cause we're such Hollywood kingmakers and all) would be to keep running the studio, pausing only to release the occasional Star Wars remaster (because poking sci-fi geeks is funny).


  • nadrewod999 - October 12, 2010 8:42 p.m.

    Spielberg should also be credited for the Call of Duty franchise (the first 3 and WaW, but not 4 or MW2), since Infinity Ward's founders came from the dev team behind MoH:AA, who at the game's release, believed they could do a better job. Fast forward a few years, and CoD has absolutely destroyed MoH in the sales area, but until CoD4, the series stayed in the same timeframe as MoH:AA, thus allowing the famed E.T. director to also take credit for CoD if he feels like it.
  • speno93 - April 24, 2010 4:21 a.m.

    i would really enjoy it if Jackson helped create another game. I though King Kong was really good so maybe the next Turok would really benefit from Jackson's intervewntion
  • Conman93 - April 23, 2010 6:13 p.m.

    Didnt know spielberg worked on medal of honour. Guess u learn something new every day!
  • philipshaw - April 23, 2010 12:44 p.m.

    Have to agree with the matrix stuff. The last good thing to come out of it was the animatrix which was better than the 2 Martix sequels
  • bamb0o-stick - April 23, 2010 12:42 p.m.

    I can't help but wonder what would've happened if Lucas had just poured all the resources he had into his video game studios instead of making a new trilogy. His moving to a new, young medium would've separated himself from the rest of the pack. I would've liked to see him quit his regular job and help further revolutionize and push what games can do. Imagine what would be possible if he had sent a blank check to Bioware and let them develop what they want with the SW franchise.
  • ventanger - April 23, 2010 4:16 a.m.

    My hopes in a solid game director lies with Woo for Stranglehold 2. As for Lucas, Spielberg, and the Wachowski brother/sister, their creative wells ran dry long, long ago.
  • Tomgoulter - April 23, 2010 1:19 a.m.

    @Redeater: Your ignorance is forgiven (no need to even ask). IP is "Intellectual Property": a series of ideas (often fictional) that have been registered as belonging to someone in particular. Examples of IP relevant to this article would be "the Star Wars universe," "the character and history of Indiana Jones," or "a giant ape from a place called Skull Island." Traditionally, we think of an idea as being the IP of its owner, but in an information economy, this is not always legally the case. A recent example would be the characters that Conan O'Brien dreamed up while working for NBC: which, due to the terms of his contract, are legally not his intellectual property but that of the network. Lucas' pressing to retain his own IP was canny for two reasons: not only did he anticipate that the right movie's IP would become a valuable commodity in a way that it wasn't in the pre-blockbuster era, but he also was the only one to see the enormous potential in HIS Star Wars universe. Or maybe he's just a lucky old gent.
  • Redeater - April 23, 2010 12:56 a.m.

    Forgive my ignorance but what exactly is an "IP" (Lucas has long been closely involved with games based on his IP)
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - April 22, 2010 11:56 p.m.

    The Wachowskis should make a Matrix Prequel following Morphius as a child, or Trinity's story, or The Oracle and who she really is, SOMETHING prequal-ly. The first Matrix is their best film and if they ca recapture the epicness of it without the conveluted plot, they'll have an instand success. And I'd love it.

Showing 1-9 of 9 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000