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Rockstar's Houser Down On Transmedia, Games As Art Debate

Rockstar's Houser Down On Transmedia, Games As Art Debate

April 5, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

Ahead of Team Bondi-developed L.A. Noire becoming the first video game ever to be featured at the Tribeca Film Festival later this month, Rockstar Games creative VP Dan Houser downplayed the idea that the move somehow validated the medium artistically.

"We try very hard to avoid the debate as to whether games are art, as it tends to attract people with too much time on their hands," Houser said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. That said, he admitted new technology and production skill were helping games "move towards creative maturity."

Though Houser acknowledged that games are increasingly using the same kind of talent as Hollywood, he said the production processes between the two media were still rather divergent, owing to the very different nature of the experiences being created.

He also dismissed the obsession with "transmedia" properties in certain corners of both Hollywood and the games industry, noting that most attempts to launch a franchise across the game and movie worlds have ended up "pretty horrible."

"If you feel the property has something about it that is universal or could work in another medium, and it is not simply about making easy money, then that is something worthwhile," he said. "Too often, however, the aim appears to be to cash-in on the success of a particular game, book, pop singer, website, etc., and that usually produces mediocre results."

While Houser admitted the company has explored movie deals for many of their popular game properties, he said the amount of effort it would take on Rockstar's part to do it right would divert from its main focus on video games.

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