Videogames Declare Total War on Cinema

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 1, 2009 in Videogames |

I’m blown away by the fact that Sega is making a Napoleon videogame: Because you’d have to be a Napoleon in your medium to take on the subject of Napoleon as an entertainment project! Firstly the man is larger than life, and his story is a canvas that stretches across all of Europe (and other places like Egypt). In fact silent film makers didn’t even touch this story until 1927: Directed by Abel Gance the result was one of the best known films of the 20th Century.

Napoleon: The 1927 filmThat film had such an impact that French filmmakers wouldn’t touch the tale again until 1955. In fact Stanley Kubrick had wanted to do a Napoleon, but shied away from the project when the film Waterloo came out in 1970. So you can see that this is the sort of epic subject that creatives dare to try about once every generation. So what’s interesting to me is seeing Sega tackling this project instead of Hollywood as witnessed in this trailer from earlier this year:

I think the reason the game industry can tackle this now is that the technology has arrived at the point of showing thousands of soldiers on horseback engaged in battle. That’s no small accomplishment when you consider that thirty years ago we were looking at crude pixels dancing across our TV screens. Now I have no clue if this game will be any good, in fact my gut tells me that it will be terrible. But the point here isn’t the quality of the game, but the fact that you’ve got an industry with a level of confidence to take it on.

To give you a taste of the scale of filmmaking — or rather media making that’s involved here’s a battle scene from the 1970 film Waterloo (note that they just took on a single battle out of the entire life story of Napoleon):


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