The Movies

The flimsy sets held together with gaffer-tape we can accept. The queue of desperate hopefuls pleading for a moment of fame outside our agent's office raises a smirk. Even funnier: our blockbuster production haemorrhaging resources because the lead actor is a drunk.

But enforcing the application of The Hero's Journey to churn out user-created epics... that's more than parody. It's cynicism.

The Hero's Journey is an infamous device used in Hollywood scriptwriting classes, a five-step plan at the heart of every formulaic film.

On the wall of Lionhead's spacious boardroom, that formula is laid out pat. A hero of humble origin (part one - Departure) is forced into a great journey or quest (part two - Initiation). The quest can be physical or internal (part three - Dragon Battle).

He meets his ideal partner along the way (part four - Romance). Then it's the finale, and the return home (part five - Return).

The Hero's Journey is the reason The Movies can work. Lionhead's huge team of artists fill a cavernous hanger of an office, a good football pitch's worth of cubicles and curious animation folk. They're busy prepping hours and hours worth of sequences based around The Hero's Journey, which are then applied to every genre.

It's an ideal modular template into which you'll be free to plug in your chosen stars, props, sets and scripts, simply by dragging them off the lot, and on to the stage.

There's another revelation at the heart of The Movies. It's the realisation that management games don't have to be about endless screens of statistics, economics and balancing columns of figures.

Now management is physical, more hands-on. Information appears as interconnected bubbles - and only when you request it. You don't just order stars on to a set, you drag them out of rehearsals and on to the stage. Movie scripts are physical objects, as are sets and props, even the staff.

Drag one piece on to another for surprising reactions. Handymen and starlets go well together. As do best boys and your leading man, but that's Hollywood. Scripts and handymen. Writers and booze. The potential for self destruction is enormous.

In turn, that should give birth to something special. The Hero's Journey is about to begin.