“The Quarry” blurs the line between video games and cinema
When the new Trailer for Avatar: The Way of the Water-the next entry in James Cameron’s heavy film franchise- came out, many viewers felt the footage looked like something out of a video game. as praise Where pejorative, this comparison is a bit hyperbolic. Yet it also signals the perceived overlap between the video game and film industries, which increasingly share technological, narrative, and visual approaches.
Multiplex screens today are laden with game-like images – exceptions exist, but a sense of green-screen unreality certainly abounds, whether you’re watching an explosion-heavy action flick or a well-paced drama. Other ideas are also circulating freely on all media: games and films have set their clocks on Matrix– “bullet time” style effects; the two shapes rocked their cameras at the Thick headed; and a filmmaker as virtuoso as Brian De Palma was amazed to the way some games have cleverly repurposed the traveling shots of cinema’s first-person perspective.
And in a more recent development, top-tier games now routinely feature the likenesses captured by the performances of movie and TV stars. The last one is not so surprising, because it was prophesied a long time ago – sort of. In the October 1982 issue of Illustrated video gamewe find the vaguely manic title “THE ROBERT REDFORD VIDEOGAME” and an exhortation: “Don’t laugh, we might still see one as more movie studios enter the video game ring.”
Smash cut to The careerthe new horror adventure game from the British developer Supermassive Games, or the latest movie-addicted pugilist to cross the ropes. Admittedly, Supermassive isn’t a movie studio – nor overtly affiliated with a studio – but it specializes in horror games with obviously cinematic ambitions. The career is therefore a kind of interactive film, and its cast is made up of new and established film actors. Skyler Gisondo—who recently appeared in the Oscar-nominated film Licorice Pizza— has a key role in the game, just like Jurassic World Dominion costar Justice Smith, among many others. Performance capture technology recorded the voice, facial, and body expressions of each cast member, which were translated into computer-generated facsimiles that players control and/or encounter in the game itself. Supermassive was assisted in this by Digital Domain, a Los Angeles-based visual effects studio co-founded by James Cameron, which has since worked on a series of films, games and TV shows.
Will Byles, who directed and co-wrote The careerfound inspiration in the 1980 summer camp slasher film Friday 13and in the baroque death scenes of Final destination franchise. But the game is particularly indebted to the 1981 horror comedy An American werewolf in London, which Byles remembers as “the first horror movie I ever saw where I thought, ‘Oh, my God, that’s funny.'” As he tells me on Zoom, Byles admires the way whose film combines its humor with believable relationships and “genuine horror”. In The careermoreover, there is a mix of tones: it goes from tearful needle drops to low jokes to its own fearsome werewolves.
The game takes place at Hackett’s Quarry Summer Camp, which has the usual trappings: cabins, canoes, corpses floating in lakes. At the start of the story, the campers have been taken home, but the teenage counselors are still busy in the field. When their own return home is delayed, they choose to reignite the bonfire and enjoy the night. As they’ll discover in the hours to come, the sprawling woods hold many secrets, though a Robert Redford cameo is sadly not one of them.