Movies and games have always stood at a wary distance from each other, sharing IP uneasily. But Disney Interactive boss Graham Hopper says there's a trend carrying the two worlds ever further toward harmony.
Directors like Gore Verbinski and Guillermo del Toro have made comments about moving into games, and Stephen Spielberg made a much-buzzed E3 appearance at Microsoft's press conference to discuss Project Natal.
But where is a major, brand new crossover IP with game and movie IP truly converging, and each getting equal attention and plaudits? In a Gamasutra feature interview
, Hopper talks about the distance between films and games as we've seen it in the past.
"I don't think they've all lived up to their potential, but again: the future doesn't always arrive exactly when you want it to," he says. "What you have to watch are the trend lines. The trendlines are heading in the right direction. It's going to happen."
"I don't know if it's going to happen next year, or the year after, or five years from now, but the trend line is absolutely clear. And I think that's what's so exciting about our business right now, is that a lot of the future trend lines are very obvious. We just need to jump on them and make the future happen."
At the same time, Hopper concedes there's a risk in trying to push convergence unnaturally, especially when it comes to developing risky new cross-media IP. "Our philosophy is: we don't double down all over the company on something new," he says. "Otherwise, if we did it all the time, we'd put the company at risk at some point."
"We try to achieve creative success in the medium. When we go out and make a game, our goal is to make that a great game franchise first and foremost," Hopper explains. And to him, that means concentrating on building a strong gaming brand first and then looking for other synergies where they apply, not necessarily developing a concept with maximum extensibility as the priority.
"It's not about, 'Well, it has to be changed a little bit to make it, well, it might be a movie one day, so let's do this...And it might be a toy one day, so let's do that,' and so on," he explains. "It's not a conscious commercial activity; it's about making a great game franchise first. Once that happens, other stuff will naturally take care of itself."
It's easy, for example, to imagine Kingdom Hearts
, Disney's IP crossover with Square Enix, as an animated series. But it's not something audiences should inherently expect. "The world of television is a different medium," says Hopper. "It tells stories in a different kind of way, and the way it gets programmed, there's a limited number of slots that are available that you're able to be on."
It's also an issue of allocating creative resources to the most valuable projects, Hopper says. "So when you get down into the nuts and bolts of it, it does get quite complicated. It's not as simple as it first appears, to move a piece of IP from one medium to another... But all that said, it's going to happen, and we will see more of it."
You can now read the full interview
at Gamasutra, featuring Hopper's in-depth discussion on Disney's broad, complex gaming strategy (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).