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The Movies - Lionhead coughs into the mic

The UK developer answers fans' burning questions on its Hollywood movie studio sim

If you've not heard of Lionhead's The Movies, we can only assume it's either because a) you're an alien who's only just touched down on planet Earth or b) for the last couple of years you've been attempting to 'get back to nature' but suddenly decided that living on berries and bat droppings while wearing twigs in your hair isn't really for you - welcome back to the real world. For anyone falling under these brackets, here's a quick recap of what it's all about...

The Movies chucks you into the movie studio heaven - or hell depending on how your film productions fare - where you will, hopefully, produce a string of blockbuster hits and turn your studio into a household name. Everything's here from directing movies to hiring and firing scriptwriters and turning unknown actors into stars overnight, with the game covering the various eras of cinema and allowing you to indulge yourself in numerous genres from horror through to romance. So now you know.

Lionhead has apparently been inundated with The Movies questions from fans eager for info on some of the finer points of the game, and so the developer has taken it upon itself to chuck some answers to the most frequently asked questions and release it to the world at large. Below is the FAQ, reprinted word for word.

Hello, I was wondering if there was a level of gore in the game. Is there any blood in the fighting scenes? Remco

Lionhead: Hi Remco, you've sent us one of the most popular questions we received. As we're trying to make a game that appeals to everyone, we have to be careful so that we remain within our targeted age rating. We're looking for the right balance to accommodate our older and younger players.

Hi Lionhead, I would like to know if there will be any playable demos or trials available of The Movies. I think a lot of us would surely appreciate it. Stark

Lionhead: Thank you for asking this Stark; we might consider creating a demo post-release but, we're concentrating all our efforts on finishing the game right now!

Will I be able to use as many sets as I wish to create my movie? Eddy

Lionhead: Hello Eddy, you'll be able to make movies with the sets you placed down in your lot. So if for example you only have one set in your studio, you will only be able to make a movie with that one single set. The more sets you build, the more variation you can put into your movies. By the time you have played through the entire Movies' history, you'll be able to make a movie with every set available, use them as many times as you want in a movie and in as many different ways as the game allows. This means you have a wide range of options in how you use your sets. However, in the sandbox mode, the player can choose to jump to any era and immediately access all the content of that time period.

When will the game be released? Jidlaph

Lionhead: Hi Jidlaph, the number one question we received was about the release date of The Movies! It's great to see there's such a big community waiting for this game, but we'll have to disappoint you about the exact release date of The Movies. We're aiming for a release in Fall 2005.

I saw the trailers and other previews of the new game "The Movies" and it looks AMAZING! The only problem I have is that I'm a Macintosh user. What do you think the odds are of this game reaching the Mac? John

Lionhead: Hello John, we'd love to see a release of the game for Macintosh but nothing has been confirmed yet. We're working very hard on the PC release and the console versions!

Do you have an idea on the rating? Daniel

Lionhead: Hey Daniel, the game has not been rated yet, and it's currently pending. We're hoping for a Teen rating for The Movies.

If all talent is hired from the line (queue) of 'wannabees', how do we create a star that would have the name, face, hair colour, etc. like the player wants it? Dan

Lionhead: Hi Dan, there's a queue in front of the Stage School with people who desperately want to be a Star in your Studio - they are the 'wannabees'. You can take a close look at them to see if they have the right appearance, experience and mood to become one of your Stars. If you don't want them, you can drop them in the Reject room to throw them out of the queue and swap them for another wannabee. If you hire them and they don't have quite the right look, just drop them into Wardrobe to change their costume, hairstyle, etc... and restyle them.

If I make a movie with the game, will it be possible to include subtitles in my movies? Jelle

Lionhead: Hello Jelle, first of all, YES you can add subtitles. If you don't want to put your own voice in, but you do want to have a conversation, it's very important that you can add text to your movie. After you're done filming, you can edit your movie in Post Production, where you'll be able to add subtitles. There's a subtitle layer where you can add your text and it will be directly shown on your movie. And of course it's not just for subtitles. If you want to add a place and date, like "London 1999" for example, you can also use the subtitle layer for that.

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