Half-Life, Portal movies discussed by JJ Abrams, Gabe Newell

Filmaker and video game boss to collaborate on future projects

February 7, 2013
Abrams Newell

Valve boss Gabe Newell and movie industry hot-shot JJ Abrams will partner for upcoming video game and movie projects.

Announced at the DICE summit, the two creative personalities said that they will work together on various projects that each could help one another with.

Abrams, who’s known for his directorial work on Star Trek and Super 8, said that he has an idea for a game and seeks to partner with Valve to make it happen.

On Newell’s side, the Valve boss said that the pair will collaborate on potential Portal and Half-Life movies.

The news was part of a discussion where the two were comparing storytelling and narrative techniques between video games and movies.

“In games, players are in control of what happens. They control their action,” Newell said.

“Movies take away this notion of agency,” said Newell, and after showing a clip from Abram’s amateur-footage-styled monster movie Cloverfield, Newell added “I understand the narrative device, but as a gamer I’m saying ‘put the camera down and f**king run’ and I can’t do that.”

Abrams then referred to Half-Life, showing a clip of protagonist Gordon Freeman remaining silent when being introduced to another character.

“Does Gordon know him or not?” Abrams asked. “Players are often asked to relate to empty vessels, characters that don’t communicate behaviour in a way that you would. It’s as frustrating [as film] in a lot of ways, but at least in films we can have compelling scenes and dialog,” said Abrams.

half life screenshot

Half Life 2 had an interesting cast of characters, yet protagonist Gordon Freeman’s silence was unavoidably apparent when playing the game.

Abrams and Newell also compared the notion of “hiding machinery” in video games and movies – story elements and plot points that end up having payoffs later in the game or movie.

Abrams emphasised how movies use a large amount of time introducing you to characters, and polarised it with the different, yet effective, approach of Portal.

“You begin Portal with no sense of who you are. It’s an incredible mystery that pulls you forward. In a way, that whole game is about following that mystery and trying to understand who you are,” said Abrams.

“It’s obviously very different than film, but the mystery that is GlaDOS compels me to move forward. The more you played, the more you learned, the more you felt,” the filmmaker said.

While there’s no news on when the two will begin collaborating, Abrams is currently in the post-production stages of Star Trek: Into Darkness, and is on-board to direct the next Star Wars film.

Source: IGN 

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Tags: active, Bad Robot, dice summit, gabe newell, J.J. Abrams, JJ Abrams, movies games, movies vs games, Valve

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