Bringing games and H'wood together
Vin Diesel and Cos Lazouras
Position: Partners, Tigon Studios
Why: Diesel’s the only movie star to take games seriously. Tigon oversaw production on “Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay,” which has the distinction of being an acclaimed videogame based on a critically panned, unsuccessful film (which starred Diesel). Diesel and Lazouras are partnering with director Bryan Singer for a game franchise dubbed “Secret Service.”
Flint Dille and John Zuur Platten
Position: Writers, producers
Why: They’re the first to make the transition from game scripters to film producers. Dille and Zuur Platten are well established in the game world with their script work for the well-regarded “Riddick” game and the “Constantine” adaptation. A game pitch they made was turned into the film “Backwater” at Dimension, which they’re co-exec producing. Now the duo have a two-year first-look deal at Dimension to pitch game concepts that could be adapted for the bigscreen.
Position: President, Titan Prods.
Why: Formerly a partner with John Woo in Tiger Hill Games, Foxhoven is now striking out with his own company, Titan, to produce games, many with Hollywood tie-ins. Projects Foxhoven is taking with him include “Psychopath,” with horror helmer John Carpenter; “Shadow Clan,” for which he is searching for a director to replace Woo; and an untitled PSP project with “machinimation” pioneer Anna Kang and the possible involvement of “Doom” developer Id Software. Longer term, Foxhoven is hoping to make Titan a go-to company for studios looking to exercise tight control over titles licensed to the vidgame world.
Position: Senior VP, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Why: As the only employee of a film studio that is publishing videogames, Hall is leading the most daring attempt at combining the businesses of movies and games. His Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is still a relatively modest operation, with just one game, “The Matrix Online,” to its credit as a publisher. But Hall is working closely with film execs and talent on upcoming projects, including a “Dirty Harry” game in partnership with Clint Eastwood. Hall also engineered the acquisition of the development studio he formerly headed, Monolith Prods., making Warners the only studio to own a developer.
Position: Senior VP, Buena Vista Games
Why: Disney has decided for the second time in the last 15 years that it’s serious about games, and Hopper is the man charged with turning a bit player into a major force. For the first time, he’s got the resources to do it. Buena Vista Games recently acquired family games developer Avalanche Software and founded a studio in Vancouver, run by EA veterans, to help it make games aimed at the core gamer demo for the first time. He’s also got $40 million in cash to fund development this year, giving him every chance to prove the Mouse House can make a killer title.
Position: Chairman of Viacom, majority owner of Midway Games
Why: The only media mogul to invest heavily in games — and with his own money — Redstone is betting big that videogames will be an important part of an entertainment empire. Since he took over a year ago and named former VU Games topper Kenneth Cron chairman, Midway has raised its profile and forged closer ties with Hollywood. Meanwhile, Viacom is looking at moving deeper into the vidgame space and has appointed a board independent of Redstone to consider partnering with or acquiring Midway.
Why: Singleton’s the only high-profile filmmaker to be intimately involved with a game before production even starts on a companion film. The “Boyz ‘N the Hood” writer-director is scripting and overseeing visuals and voices for “Fear and Respect,” a Midway game that has been optioned for a film by Paramount. He’s also attached to direct the film.
Andy and Larry Wachowski
Why: The brothers were the first writers-directors to make a videogame an important component of the story from a movie project. Though critically panned, “Enter the Matrix” drew on more original video than any previous film-based game. While “The Matrix” is done on the bigscreen, the Wachowskis are keeping it alive in games with “The Matrix Online” and “Matrix: Path of Neo.”