FPS coming to the movies April 8th with Hardcore Henry, is this just the beginning?
Hardcore Henry is an upcoming sci-fi action movie that is shot entirely from a first-person perspective and is directed by IIya Naishuller, one of the members of the Russian, indie rock band Biting Elbows. Is this the beginning of a brand new form of movies, and how much has gaming and VR impacted on the film industry?
What is Hardcore Henry?
The plot of Hardcore Henry revolves around the protagonist Henry, a cybernetic super soldier resurrected from the brink of death. He has no recollection of his past, nor has the ability to talk. Upon being resurrected, the space facility he resides in comes under attack.
Henry escapes the facility with his wife, the person responsible for his resurrection. She is then kidnapped by the powerful warlord Akan. Akan plans on using the technology used to resurrect Henry to create an army of bio-engineered soldiers. Henry must embark on a quest through unfamiliar Moscow to rescue his wife and put a stop to Akan's plans while attempting to regain his memory.
The film plays entirely from Henry's perspective, just like that of a first-person shooter (FPS) video game like Call of Duty or F.E.A.R. The first person perspective is shot using almost entirely the Go Pro Hero 3 camera with a specially designed rig which the actor wears like a mask. The film is scheduled to hit theaters April 8th.
How have video games and VR impacted movies?
There is no denying the fact that video games and VR have had an enormous impact on the film industry. With the tremendous success of video games over the past several decades, it came as no surprise to start seeing movies based on video games.
Bringing an already established franchise to the big screen brings an almost instant success rate for the box office, almost. Over the years, dozens of video game franchises have hit the big screens worldwide including DOOM, Hitman, Final Fantasy, Super Mario Bros and House of the Dead, just to name a few.
You can see the integration of general video games in certain films. The movie of DOOM had a single scene designed from a first person perspective, just like the game series. It isn't just taking certain aspects from a video game and implementing them into a film that shows the impact video games have had on them.
Another example would be the 2007 action film Shoot em up. Like a lot of action video games, the movie focuses primarily on action alone while the plot and character development are secondary. With the name Shoot em up (a video game genre) and the over the top nature of the film, it is no secret that it was being marketed to get gamers interested.
With the introduction of VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift, it is easy to see where a film like Hardcore Henry gets its inspiration. The ideology behind it is not that different. Instead of having a VR headset on, the actor wears a camera rig instead.
This allows the movie to have the first person perspective that is loved so much in popular video games like the Call of Duty series. With VR still being as young as it is, there is no doubt that it is going to be the inspiration for many more things to come in the movie industry.
Is this the beginning of a new breed of movies?
It doesn't matter if Hardcore Henry becomes a box office success or a flop, there will always be others looking to do better or only jump on the bandwagon. We are certain to start seeing movies based on video games shot from a first person perspective just like Hardcore Henry.
Going as far as to say that this is the beginning of a new breed of movies may not be entirely realistic when you look beyond the excitement of such an idea. Video games and movies are a very different form of media and entertainment, and their design requires a very different approach.
Writing the storyline and dialogue for a video game is very different to writing a movie script. Attempting to use the plot to a video game in a movie or vice versa just isn't going to work. The reason for this is that a video game is an interactive form of media while a movie is not.
With a video game, the player controls the protagonist as they uncover the plot and do so at their pace. The success comes from the players exploration which they control themselves. In a movie, however, the audience only sits there and watches a screen.
Holding the viewer's attention through a movie can be a lot more difficult as it must continually have intrigue and excitement, a reason to watch. Without that a movie would get boring very quickly, and the audience would stop watching. A video game doesn't have to have that constant plot intrigue as it has gameplay to keep the player engaged.
The difference in writing plots is why video games movies have rarely had any huge success with the exceptions of Resident Evil and Silent Hill. The story of a video game simply doesn't convert well into a film and can make the plot of the film feel lacking and full of plot holes.
Indeed, video games have had a tremendous impact on the movie industry, and that isn't going to change anytime soon. With the new technology that is VR, there is a certainty that the movie industry is going to gain all kinds of inspiration from it.
Is Hardcore Henry going to be the beginning of a new breed of movies? Most likely not. It will be a trend for awhile, but no matter how hard the movie industry tries, they will never be able to capture the essence of a video game. There is simply just too much of a difference between the two forms of media.
What are your thoughts on Hardcore Henry? How do you think video games and VR have impacted the movie industry? Let me know in the comments below.