You ever think about the demise of the FMV acting industry?

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GameCubed
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You ever think about the demise of the FMV acting industry?

Post by GameCubed » Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:30 am

I was thinking about this when playing Crash N Burn, how there was once an industry of sorts for actors (of sorts) to appear in the FMV for games. Sometimes you'd get more recognized actors making appearances, like Kirk Cameron popping up in the Horde, but for the most part it was unknown, mostly bad actors shouting overwrought lines in the intro videos (or being laughably campy in all of the American Laser Gun games).

I always wonder if these actors had to deliver their parts before the games were close to complete, or if they got to have any idea of what kind of game they were appearing in. I just imagine the actors in Crash N Burn being dressed up in ridiculous costumes, getting put in an empty room, and being handed 10-15 lines of silly dialogue. At least in games like Psychic Detective, the FMV is basically the entire game. It'd would be hard to think of a game coming out for, say, the PS3 that was nearly entirely based around video of real-life actors on a set.

But that whole industry seems to have died out when rendered cut-scenes became the norm. Aside from Command and Conquer, I can't think of too many recent games that featured FMV with live actors. There's still plenty of voice acting in current games, some of it really excellent, and opportunity for motion-capture type jobs, but I wonder what happens to the people whose resumes were all video game character?

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Post by tinman » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:36 am

As much as I would like to know what your Tracy Scoggins from Snow Job, your Ginger Lynn Allen from Wing Commander III or even your Tamara E. Genest (don't forget the "E") from Way of the Warrior thought of their experiences in performing in the production of a 3do game, I somehow think it was something they don't hold vividly or proudly in their memories (if at all), despite some websites including the games on their C.V's.

But I could be wrong... :shock:

On another forum a couple of years ago Kerri Hoskins, Sonya from Mortal Kombat 3, wrote in and participated in the forum discussion (she also provided some photos as proof of identity). She had to deal with some trolls and trash talkers, but overcame them in the end. It would be good if we could get similar actor(s) related to the 3do to participate here if only over a couple of hours/days and as we are all sensible people here I'm sure the conversations would be civil. Except of course if we get one of the Vivid minxes or Virtual Camerman models in which case the talk could get dodgy. :oops:

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Post by T.A.P. » Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:09 am

They most likely moved on to the new cesspool of bad acting and terrible sets with zero production values: SyFy Original Movies.

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Post by oldskool » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:09 am

I think about it often, and wish that it really took off with the modern games, and in a sense it's still around. Look at Need For Speed Carbon for example.

I sometimes wonder the same things that you do. Like, did Mark Hamil take up acting for Wing Commander cause that was the best he could do? And not only for just Wing Commander III, but also IV and Prophecy. Or did he just like the game series personally, and wanted to be a part of it?
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Post by tinman » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:15 am

cause that was the best he could do?
I think that was probably the most likely reason
I also think some might have been under the idea that this was the next big thing, the stars/celebrities of a new media.

But really if you consider the actors that participated in these types of games appearing in these games really didn't launch careers or revive them. Think of a name and type it into Google. They're still out there. As I mentioned previously, Ginger Lynn Allen from Wing Commander III; according to Wikipedia (not the best source, but it's probably not too far from the truth) her last project was Older Women, Younger Men #13 :shock: . Kirk Cameron (the Horde), he's branched out and is not only an actor but an evangelist :? . Simon Day (Drake Edgewater, Quarantine) he is apparently still performing occasionally with his 90's band RatCat in Australia 8) .

I don't think participating in these games hurt their careers, but it really didn't take them anywhere either. I have considered contacting them and interviewing them in regard to their input into a 3do game (I'm no journalist, but I would like to ask a similar set of relatively benevolent inquisitive questions to them).

If a question could be asked of anyone what and who would you ask :?:

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Post by 3DO Experience » Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:46 pm

tinman wrote:...her last project was Older Women, Younger Men #13 :shock:
mmmmmmm :twisted:

I can't say I know much about FMV actors but if anyone has played the PC game Johnny Mnemonic, the guy who played Johnny was Christopher Gartin who was a main character in failed TV series M.A.N.T.I.S. and does lots of TV most recently True Blood, Southland & Numb3rs. He also stared in Tremors 2.

to oldschool:
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Mark Hamill has had a constant acting career, in fact I would guess almost everyone here has watched something with him in it without knowing it.
Some actors were meant to be seen, others were meant to be heard.
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Post by GameCubed » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:38 am

Mark Hamill did an awesome job in Batman Arkham Asylum.

I just find it funny that the current generation systems tout movie-watching abilities and next-gen gaming graphics, yet no one is demanding having in-game movies anymore.

I think this is indicative of the game design industry, as I mostly envision game development as happening inside an office, with developers at their computers writing code. But let's say you were a company really good at game design back in the 90', and you had the right equipment and technical team -- but FMV was an "in" trend and you felt your game needed video cutscenes. Well, if your particular skills are computer-based or you are good at the script development/story of the game, how does that prepare you for being a good film director/set designer/costumer, etc?

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Post by 3DO Experience » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:17 am

Many games are getting cut scenes, even if they are short. No More Heroes has very short clips but they really tie-in with the game telling you where to go... ect. Final Fantasy always have FMV that tell the story even if they don't tie-in to game play. I say game play not that they don't tie-in to the game, hell they are part of the story. I see lots of commercials that show the FMV rather than actual in-game-graphics and I feel that many of these games have those scenes just for that reason.
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Post by BryWI » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:23 am

I was a big fan of the cut scenes in the Metal Gear Solid games. I never played the 4th one but the first and Second ones were definitely my fav. There was more cutscenes than gameplay but it sure did keep me hooked on the game. It was like watching a movie at times.

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Post by Trev » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:09 am

I also think some might have been under the idea that this was the next big thing, the stars/celebrities of a new media.
True ... here is a quote from Hamill from the WCIII authorized combat guide (Brady Games)

"I have the feeling that I may look back in 50 years and say 'Hey, I was in at the beginning of the phenomenon,' just like actors at the end of the silent film era might have felt when they began doing talking pictures."
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Post by tinman » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:00 am

True ... here is a quote from Hamill from the WCIII authorized combat guide (Brady Games)
O.K. that's good. I didn't know about that, so thanks Trev, for justifying my comments. :)

As for the cut scenes in todays games, I find it amusing that so much effort goes to creating "realistic" graphics in these scenes yet when realism in the form of actors in FMV scenes was used in the 90's it was lambasted. Yes I know... bad acting and terrible sets as T.A.P. put it. :P

I've seen games like Virtua Fighter develop and reviewers w@nk over, the textures of the water flowing, or snow falling, hair moving or the rumpling of clothing adding to the realism of the experience. It seems that realism is only to applauded when it can be created or mimicked :roll:

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Post by BryWI » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:00 pm

Yeah that is true. Weird how that works out isnt it?

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Post by 3DO Experience » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:25 pm

I think they only applaud realism that's been created because it "shows off the system's power" even though it's pre-rendered and just being played back as video. They don't even give credit to in-game-graphics when they are great because the video portion outshines it.

I remember the Resident Evil remake for the GameCube... My friend had it and turned it on for the first time with both of us watching, when the video was done we just sat there waiting for the game to start not knowing that it had just that the in-game-graphics were just as good as the video portion and they had managed to pull off a seamless transition. That should have been hailed but the reviewers only talked about the "great new intro video".
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Post by 3DOKid » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:52 pm

...I always liked Mark Hamill.

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Post by Silanda » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:21 am

Personally I think the demise of FMV can partially be put down to cost. I suspect that actors are more expensive to hire these days as FMV is no longer being seen as some kind of first step into a new art form. Also, the pretty poor video quality of the games in the 90's managed to hide a multitude of sins. They could get away with fairly poor bluescreen and cheap sets as the picture quality wasn't really sharp enough to see how low budget things really were. Even the most expensive productions weren't great, the DVD version of Wing Commander 4 for example looks a tad ropey in places. These days if the in game graphics are great then it would be expected that the production values of the cutscenes would match. Plywood sets and cheap bluescreen backgrounds would not hold up to HD sharpness, so if they wanted to do anything Wing Commander in scale these days it would probably cost in the ballpark of a cheap scifi movie, and that is just for video production. It's a shame though really, I miss FMV.

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Post by 3DOKid » Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:37 am

It's amazing how it survived in the Command and Conquer series. Which also features some half decent actors too in that. That Grace Park from Battle Star Galactica and Trica Helfer from the same and Michael Ironside.

Maria Pizzo was my favourite :)

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Post by T.A.P. » Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:30 am

Don't forget George Takei.

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Post by oldskool » Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:28 pm

What I find funny, is that they use real actors and then digitize them into graphics. Why not just keep it real? I'm sure they could do much better these days than say Pit Fighter.
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Post by Silanda » Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:25 am

3DOKid wrote:It's amazing how it survived in the Command and Conquer series. Which also features some half decent actors too in that. That Grace Park from Battle Star Galactica and Trica Helfer from the same and Michael Ironside.

Maria Pizzo was my favourite :)
I think C&C is the exception that proves the rule. I really got a kick out of Michael Biehn and James Earl Jones being in Tiberian Sun, not to mention the ever great Michael Ironside in Tiberium Wars. That said, apparently (I haven't yet played it personally) C&C 4's fmv is poor compared to previous games. The actors are less well known too (I don't recognise any of them except Joe Kucan of course).

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Post by T.A.P. » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:10 am

Has anyone here tried C&C4?

I've heard it isn't very good, although I probably wasn't going to pick it up anyway based on seven words stamped on the front of the case that will kill my interest in any game: "Continuous Internet Connection Required To Play Game"

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Post by 3DOKid » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:20 pm

T.A.P. wrote:Has anyone here tried C&C4?

I've heard it isn't very good, although I probably wasn't going to pick it up anyway based on seven words stamped on the front of the case that will kill my interest in any game: "Continuous Internet Connection Required To Play Game"
That's what I heard too. I love the C&C series and then they do this C&C4...

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