Video games represent a medium rife with storytelling potential. From puzzlers to RPGs to the action-adventure genre, developers employ some of the most creative and thoughtful artists in the entertainment industry, and their work now soars to new heights with increasing technologies.
As a filmmaker and cinematographer, I frequently marvel at the levels of detail, complexity (or simplicity), and sheer beauty of game after game, taking great pleasure in the artistry and mechanical design. A certain developer has kept my attention for many years now--Naughty Dog.
Naughty Dog's ability to blend the conventions of gaming and cinema into one cohesive, interactive experience takes my breath away every time. From the rollicking tongue-in-cheek Uncharted series to their heartbreaking and dire The Last of Us, this developer demonstrates a new avenue for cinema-game crossover that excites me more than just about anything right now.
Their mantra is pretty simple--tell a great story. Starting from the very best foundations--an excellent script and flesh-and-blood characters--their skillfully crafted gameplay mechanics and stunningly realized environments have given me some of my most memorable gaming experiences. The reason? Empathy. The greatest games, in my opinion, are the ones that allow me to empathize with characters, no matter what type of game it is. Naughty Dog games play like an interactive movie and provide very linear narratives, which does rub some gamers the wrong way, but for a filmmaker, this is all I want right now, especially while independent cinema struggles to thrive in an industry bloated by corporate shills and awful writing and editing battles behind closed doors.
With that in mind, I present a photo collection taken with Naughty Dog's in-game Photo Mode--from the point of view of a cinematographer (with a little help from Photoshop).