Lessons From A Virtual World
The video game industry is projected to reach US$334.00bn in 2023 and continues to grow every year, leaving more traditional media in its wake.
So, what can we, crafters of B2B or B2C film content, learn from this multi-billion-dollar industry? How can we make the same impact and secure the same emotional investment from our audiences?
All of the best video games have a distinct visual style which compliments their own unique world. From neon-drenched, cyberpunk landscapes to monochromatic, surrealist nightmares, a game’s aesthetic serves as the delivery mechanism for the narrative and gameplay, which makes choosing the right style incredibly important.
Cohesive world building is something that we should always bear in mind when starting a new project. From shot-types to editing tricks and techniques, scripting and not forgetting on screen supers/graphics.
We want them to enter our world? Then make it a world worth entering.
INTERACTIVE SOUND DESIGN
Interactive sound design is often the hidden jewel in the crown of a gaming experience. As the industry has matured into the multi-billion-pound juggernaut we are familiar with today, developers employ nuanced techniques to engage with players emotionally using sound.
Imagine yourself slowly winding through a lush, vibrant glade, filled with dappled light. You’re about to summit the peak of a vast mountain while the sun rises lazily overhead. Slowly, as you reach the summit, orchestral strings begin to rise in the background, climaxing in a beautiful, serene crescendo as the vista in front of you opens up to reveal the breathtaking landscape ahead.
That’s interactive sound design at its finest. Generating moments of sheer and unadulterated awe and wonder within a carefully constructed, artistically mature gaming world, leaving audiences with bated breath and a tingle in the tummy.
We try to ensure every client realises the transformative power of sound design, but this example from the games industry really drives home the importance of not just choosing the right soundtrack, but making sure that track is enhanced for maximum impact.
Reward mechanisms, replay value, controller mastery and feedback loops are all core gameplay mechanics that engage psychologically with a player to keep them coming back for more.
As far as interactive media goes, video games are the zenith, and the clever tricks employed by developers to seduce new players are becoming more sophisticated as the industry continues to mature.
Traditional video production lacks the obvious user interaction that a lot of these mechanics rely on, but that’s not to say that there aren’t still lessons to be learned. With the rapid pace of development in new technology continuing at breakneck speed, it’s now possible to incorporate these missing elements of interactivity into your next project thanks to augmented reality, 360 video and virtual reality – giving audiences a chance to be a part of and interact with your project, virtually.
BEHIND THE SCENES
None of this would be possible without all of the work that goes on behind the scenes by developers, artists, programmers and designers (et al). The years and years of planning and pre-production that takes place before a game is playable is staggering and this precise attention to detail is something that we can all learn from.
Most of our projects have run times of anything between 10 days and 6 months so we’re not making a direct comparison here, but underdeveloped, half-baked ideas are always difficult to see to fruition and often end up being the most challenging projects for everyone involved. Getting team buy in on a project with a strong clear message and vision at its core will always produce the best results.
New technologies like VR & AR continue to offer exciting opportunities to further our own practices, so keep your ear to the ground and think creatively about how you might repurpose and employ the latest, cutting-edge techniques that are currently engaging audiences around the world.