When the new teaser trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water – the next installment in James Cameron’s CGI-heavy movie franchise – came out, many viewers believed the footage resembled a video game. As praise or pejorative, that comparison is a little hyperbolic. Yet it also signals the perceived overlap between the video game and film industries, which increasingly share technological, narrative and visual approaches.
Multiplexed screens these days are fraught with game-like visuals – there are exceptions, but a sense of unreality with a green screen certainly abounds, whether you’re watching an explosive action movie or a well-paced drama. Other ideas also flow freely across the media: both games and movies have their watches set to Matrix-style “bullet time” effects; both forms have shaken their cameras à la Bourne; and an equally virtuoso filmmaker like Brian De Palma has marveled at how certain games have deftly repurposed cinema’s wandering first-person point-of-view shots.
And in a more recent development, high-profile games now routinely feature the performance-recorded likenesses of movie and television stars. The latter is not so surprising, as it was prophesied a long time ago – more or less. The October issue of Videogaming Illustrated features the vaguely manic headline “THE ROBERT REDFORD VIDEOGAME” and an exhortation: “Don’t laugh, maybe we’ll see another one as more and more movie studios get into video gaming.”
Smash cut to The Quarry, the latest horror adventure game from British developer Supermassive Games, or the latest movie-ravaged boxer to cross the ropes. Granted, Supermassive isn’t a movie studio — nor is it openly affiliated with one — but it does specialize in horror games with distinct cinematic ambitions. The Quarry is therefore a kind of interactive movie and the cast is made up of new and established screen actors. Skyler Gisondo – who recently appeared in the Oscar-nominated film Licorice Pizza – plays a key role in the game, as does Jurassic World Dominion colleague Justice Smith, among many others. The performance capture technology recorded each cast member’s voice, facial and body expressions, which were translated into the computer-generated facsimiles that players operate and/or encounter within the game itself. Supermassive was assisted in this regard by Digital Domain, a Los Angeles-based visual effects studio co-founded by James Cameron, who has since worked on a series of films, games and TV shows.
Will Byles, who directed and wrote The Quarry, was inspired by the 1980 slasher film Friday the 13th and the baroque death scenes of the Final Destination franchise. But the game is primarily indebted to the 1981 London horror comedy An American Werewolf, which Byles recalls as “the first horror film I ever saw where I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is funny'”. me over Zoom, Byles admires the way the film blends its humor with believable relationships and “true horror.” There is also a mixture of tones in The Quarry: it meanders from maudlin needle drops to low-key jokes to its own terrifying werewolves.
The game takes place in Hackett’s Quarry Summer Camp, which has the usual trappings: huts, canoes, corpses floating in lakes. At the beginning of the story, the campers have driven home, but the teenage counselors are still scurrying around the property. When their own ride home is delayed, they choose to relight the bonfire and make the most of the night. As they will discover in the coming hours, the vast forests hold many secrets, although a cameo from Robert Redford is sadly not among them.
This post ‘The Quarry’ blurs the line between video games and cinema
was original published at “https://www.wired.com/story/the-quarry-horror-video-game-movies/”