Film directors and video games haven’t always had the best relationship. There have been success stories, but directors like Guillermo del Toro, Clive Barker, and John Woo have shown that talent doesn’t always translate between mediums. But that shouldn’t dissuade figures from other forms of media from stepping in, which is exactly what District 9 and Chappie director Neill Blomkamp is trying to pitch on Twitter.
He recently tweeted that he has an idea for a mech game that he wants to direct. After asking for advice on how to go about it, he tagged multiple studios: Machine Games, Arkane Studios, id Software, Respawn Entertainment, and IO Interactive. These studios are behind the new Wolfenstein games, all three Dishonored titles (and 2017’s Prey), Doom, both Titanfall entries, and Hitman, respectively. With the exception of Hitman, each series deals with mechs or technology in some aspect, making them decent picks for a vague mech game.
Blomkamp is a South African film director best known for directing District 9, Elysium, and Chappie. While critical reception for those three films is scattered, he is usually praised for his ambitious sci-fi ideas and beautiful visual style. He also founded his own film studio, Oats Studio. It distributes smaller films for free on YouTube and Steam but users can buy “DLC” (which contains the 3D models, art, and script) to support Oats for $4.99.
While soliciting deals on Twitter is unorthodox and we don’t know anything about his proposed mech game, Blomkamp’s directing style could plausibly fit within the realm of video games. He even made a trilogy of short Halo films and was tasked to direct a full Halo movie but money issues and not being able to realize his vision in a way that could please the fans ended up killing the project.
Although, no matter how much inspiration he takes from gaming, filmmaking skills don’t always seem to transfer and bureaucracy can still get in the way. Josef Fares might have recently made strides in both mediums but he is mostly the exception.
Guillermo del Toro said he would “never again get involved in video games” after PT and Insane were both canceled. Clive Barker’s Jericho and John Woo’s Stranglehold weren’t received well at the time and have been mostly forgotten within the annals of game history. Newer directors might be able to get break the curse and Blomkamp seems like a good candidate, but it’s always good to keep the past in mind when looking towards the future.