The Movies - if you haven't played Lionhead's directorial debut on PC yet, then there's still time to shout 'lights, camera, action!' before Christmas, as Peter Molyneux's foray into the Hollywood bubble of glitz and glam remains one of this year's absolute best strategy-sim starlets.
You may have heard that The Movies has already reached out beyond gaming and onto the silver screen itself, with a short Movies' erm movie entitled The French Democracy garnering the interest of the international mainstream press. The short movie, made by French designer Alex Chan, was a commentary on the recent Paris riots and was featured in publications as diverse as The Washington Post, MTV and Business Week.
Chan said: "I did not expect such a reaction to my little 'home-made' movie, but I have spread some human values that are important to me. I'm very happy that 'The French Democracy' has moved so many people, even if it is not always in a positive way. I'm very glad and proud that this movie may help people to think a bit more."
So with The French Democracy lighting up the world's newswires and gamers now able to create their own short films via The Movie Maker (and Machinima an ever present and growing field of endeavour), it's high time we caught up with Lionhead's own Peter Molyneux to hear how things have gone since the game's release and discover some of the plans Lionhead has cooking on The Movies' backburner.
You must have been surprised by how popular making movies with The Movies has become - what's been the team's reaction?
Peter Molyneux: Their reaction has definitely been one of amazement. With a movie going up every minute and with subjects ranging from commentaries on the political state of the world to hilarious zombie musicals, we couldn't be more pleased. We are really seeing every type of movie being posted, from comedies to tragedies and everything in between. My ultimate dream is that some of them will actually be remade as real films, which we're already trying to think of ways to make happen.
How do you rate the overrall standard of the movies people are submitting?
Peter Molyneux: They are getting better and better everyday. "The Movies Christmas Carol" is worth checking out as it is just superb in terms of pace, dialogue and cuts. The more people are playing around with the game, the more we're seeing things we didn't dream were possible when we were making it.
Which user movies have you particularly admired or have made you laugh? What's the most bizarre movie you've seen?
Peter Molyneux: The most bizarre was definitely "Gorillas That I Missed." The most professional is "The Movies Christmas Carol" (see above). The most controversial has by far been "The French Democracy."
You mentioned during development how you'd like to see Movies' movies entered into mainstream festivals and events - any further news on how this is going? What are your plans for Movies awards?
Peter Molyneux: You'll be hearing more about this aspect of our vision very soon. :)
Lionhead has always been strong on post-game support - what can budding directors look forward to in the near future from The Movies?
Peter Molyneux: Any day now we're going to be opening our "Propshop" [Now actually open for business here with Christmas compo and free Santa costume] which will have a host of free downloadable content and we've already got a very solid community effort going on with loads of forums activities and updates. I can also say that we will continue to support The Movies however we can and that we plan to announce even more activities in the near future.
If you'd like to check out the latest on making movies with The Movies, why not head on over to the game's official community site, where you can see and review some of the short films already uploaded and explore everything you need to begin your budding directorial career.