Interview with Peter Jackson
Director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Executive Producer of the Halo movie
and co-founder of Wingnut Interactive -
X06, Barcelona, september 27th 2006
(Xbox Community Network), with which Xbox Gazette is affiliated, has been able
to ask some questions to Peter Jackson, about his projects concerning video-games
and Halo, during the X06.
: When did your plans for this announcement start?
Peter Jackson :
The Halo movie was the catalyst that actually made this all happen. Because we're
working on that we've been spending a lot of time with Bungie and Microsoft, talking
about the movie. But after hours we found ourselves still talking about bringing
games and movies together, as a completely separate thing to Halo. We were really
talking about the future of interactive entertainment.
: What exactly is it you're working on?
Peter Jackson : It's not
a game, it's not a movie, it's a combination of the two. It won't be like a traditional
game experience, but it also won't be like watching a DVD where you passively
sit back and let it all happen in front of you. It's going to be an interactive
experience, so it's not just about the characters, the plot and the storyline
- and Bungie are obviously helping us a lot with this in the Halo series - but
it's about the technology we use to implement it. The most interesting thing about
this for me has been working closely with Microsoft Game Studios and the guys
at Bungie to start thinking about the kind of technical system we're going to
create to make this happen.
How will it differ from a traditional movie?
Peter Jackson : Movies
rely on certain things that are actually counter-intuitive to games. Movies rely
on a build-up of momentum and a narrative pacing, a process of characterisation
and a creation of tension. It's up to the filmmaker to control those elements
closely if the film is to be engaging. The interesting part of this will be continuing
to do that if the experience is interactive and thus some control is taken from
the director and given to the person having the experience.
: Could you give us a concrete example of how this could work?
Jackson : I don't really want to do that right now! We've talked about it
for so long and we've got some really interesting ideas, but I don't want to reveal
them until we're ready to release the content. I know how to make films. There
is a structure and a technique, and I'm going to continue to make films because
I love doing it. What intrigues me with this is that it offers a new and totally
unique way of telling a story. We have so many ideas for stories and this particular
medium is possibly a much better way of telling this stories. I'm not going to
make these to tie in with films. We'll either make a film or one of these new
XCN : Will it be along the
lines of letting the viewer choose an action for the characters?
: That's some of what we've discussed. The trick is for the director to retain
a level of control. You can't just let the player take control of that because
then it loses the essence of what makes a movie an emotionally engaging experience.
I will say that I think what we'll end up doing is very different to the kind
of things people are thinking of at the moment.
: You're drawing on the Halo universe for the first of your projects. Why
Peter Jackson : Because we're taking a huge step to create this
new interactive experience we thought it would be easier, and cooler, to use a
universe that already existed. I'm Bungie's biggest fan and the Halo universe
is so compelling and well-designed we thought it would be a perfect place to start.
What we're talking about here is a new way of telling a story, but it's not related
to the Halo film at all.
You've also formed a new development studio called WingNut Interactive. Are you
already working on games and which platforms are you developing for?
Jackson : I think it would be a mistake to think of it as a traditional games
studio. It's more of a partnership between us - and when I say us I mean myself,
Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens, who as a team write scripts, develop our stories
and produce our films - and Microsoft Game Studios. I'm not thinking about having
specific games in development or constraining them to particular platforms. It's
more about exploring how we can create an interactive movie-style story along
with the technology Microsoft has with the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. I think we
can take that style of storytelling - which is very different from storytelling
in games - and make it more interactive. At the moment it's just myself, Fran
and Phillipa sitting down with Microsoft and working out what we need to do to
make our desires reality.
What did you involvement with Ubisoft's King Kong teach you about the games industry?
Peter Jackson : Well I can't claim much authorship of the game because
I helped with it but I was still working on the film at the time. At the end of
the day it is a videogame and it's certainly not the same kind of thing that I'm
talking about now. This is about a new way of telling stories, and the fun is
going to be how we figure out that mechanism.
: Many thanks for your time Peter!
Other Xbox 360 interviews
Xav & Max73, Xbox
Gazette, october 1st 2006
Thanks to : Peter Jackson,
Graeme Boyd, XCN