'300' hitter is writer, director and developer
EmptyZack Snyder likes the idea of making a video game and a movie that are "organically linked."
He has accomplished that to some extent with "300," the Warner Bros. Pictures movie that he wrote and directed, and with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's "300: March to Glory," a PlayStation Portable-exclusive game he helped develop. But he knows more can be done.
Like a growing number of Hollywood directors, Snyder spends his free time playing games on Xbox 360. In addition to such action games as "Gears of War" and "Call of Duty 3," he appreciates the cinematic influences in interactive entertainment.
"Maybe subconsciously that's why I like games so much," Snyder says. "I do like the feeling that you're in a movie in many games. I don't think it's been explored to its maximum potential. I look forward to making a video game and a movie experience that are organically linked in the future."
Snyder envisions the convergence of game and film allowing theatergoers to explore new chapters that weren't in the movie. The "300" game touches on this, allowing gamers to expand beyond the battles in the film.
Snyder says Collision Studios, the game developer of "300: March to Glory," was surprised that he picked up the PSP game and played it through.
"I'm absolutely interested in making video games," he says. "I have fun doing it. It's like when you go to the movies and you say, 'Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we did this?' And maybe that's a game."
Snyder says it has become common in Hollywood to talk about ideas for new IPs that might work better as a game than as a movie.
"Hollywood is more receptive to working on games today," he says. "The 'Superman Returns' game was given more time, and the guys at Legendary Pictures decided to take more time rather than ship it day-and-date with the film. The Legendary guys are the ones we partnered with on '300,' and they've been really instrumental and visionary on their perspective of the landscape. They're cutting-edge when it comes to the blending of the two mediums."
The writer-director says he is exploring game options for his next project, "Watchmen." He says he'd like to see a PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game based on the property, which was his original goal with "300" before time constraints limited that game to a PSP.
Snyder has watched Hollywood experiment the other way with movies based on video games. He feels movies based on games have shown executives that interactive and traditional entertainment are separate entities.
"At first, people in Hollywood were like, 'Games and movies are the same,' " Snyder says. "The game-playing experience is different from a movie. Kids who play video games like to watch movies. And people who watch movies like to play video games, but they're like lunch and dinner. They inform the other thing, but they don't replace it."
Snyder says a game can be supplemental to a movie or vice versa, but the idea of re-creating the gaming experience in a film doesn't translate.
"It's Hollywood having to come to grips with that idea and then go, 'OK, what is the answer?' " Snyder says. "It doesn't mean there can't be a 'Watchmen' video game, but it has to be more than the movie."