Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Rockstar and Sunday Driver

This is interesting (from
Rockstar Games have announced Sunday Driver, a documentary film about low riders that will premiere on UMD later this year.

Director Carol Strong (we couldn't find anything on her, IMDB or otherwise) has worked with Rockstar Games to show what life's like for the The Majestics, the Compton/Watts chapter of Californa's low rider car club. The Majestics have to unify in order to realize their dream while on the lookout for the always watching authorities.

"Our goal was to create a film with the same cutting edge, uncompromising cinematic content that we strive for in our games. We are extremely proud of Sunday Driver as an evolution of the Rockstar brand into film," said Sam Houser, President of Rockstar Games.

Okay, weed through the marketing bullshit from Houser, and here's what you have: uncredited director, Rockstar "vision," and "edgy" subject matter. Here's basically their entire premise: How hard can it be to make a movie?

The answer is "much harder than they think." That's my guess, anyway. This is just the inverse of a film studio asking the question "how hard can it be to make a game?"

We all know how that turned out: badly.

However, is it an interesting idea? Yes. And doing a lower-budget film with a straight-to-UMD release is the right way to try it. It's always a red flag to me, though, when a company that is very successful doing one thing suddenly starts doing something else. The first clear signal I had that EA was running into trouble was when they started talking about doing a television show involving The Sims. That, to me, indicated that growth in their core business was slowing to the degree that they were desperate for additional revenue streams. Companies that talk about "evolving the brand" are usually signalling that "the brand" as it currently exists is starting to tap out.

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