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Looking back: The Movies

The story behind Lionhead's movie mogul sim that proved there's no business like showbusiness

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Burn Hollywood burn!

Molyneux: We didn't want The Movies to be an exact simulation of what the movie industry is - we wanted it to be what you and I think the movie industry is about. We did do some research and I spent some time with people in Hollywood, and I came away realising that it's an incredibly complicated, amazingly mixed-up industry, and how any film gets launched is amazing. It's about who you know, who knows you, where you have a cappuccino and whether you're successful that sees which films get made.

Webley: It's not a true simulation of what Hollywood is like - there's no stuff like gaffers or Best Boys. People don't know what these things are and don't really care, so we had to pull back on a lot of things just to get the game done." Molyneux: "Yes, we decided that this would be more of a simulation of what the movies were like in the '30s and '40s, which was much more about, "Hey, let's make a movie about this book. You go write the script, I'll think about who should star in it, we'll meet next week and shoot it the week after."

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Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich!

Molyneux: We've had some feedback from people like John Malkovich - he played the game and really enjoyed it. He liked it so much that he wanted his clothing line Mrs Mud in The Movies, and that's exactly what we've done. So as an additional download you can now have his clothing label - it's product placement, but it does show that there's interest in the game from Hollywood. Also, there's the Sundance competition being set up. That's a really big deal - there will be a panel of very famous judges viewing movies on the website, and then the top ten movies from that will get their movies made into real movie shorts and they can win a Chrysler Crossfire. They're proper budgeted movies and there's hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent on them. In that respect, I suppose we've had a lot of Hollywood respect.

Oscar Contenders

Molyneux: Every day a new movie comes up that amazes me. Do you remember the Paris riots? Somebody made a movie which was a commentary on why the riots happened, and it was called The French Democracy. It was really well made and it had a political punch to it. It was picked up by Newsweek, Time, The New York Times and MTV - this guy had created a really big story.

Webley: The remake of King Kong was impressive too. He did some really clever things - like with the backdrops actually being the ape's hand and the woman walking out as if the ape had put her down, and having a guy in an ape suit walking so that he looked like he was towering above the trees. It's clever stuff that people are doing.

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Long lasting appeal

Molyneux: "I just don't know how long The Movies is going to last. It's interesting that it stayed in the is going to last. It's interesting that it stayed in the charts well past Christmas - I think it's a slow-burning thing. We're doing charts well past Christmas - I think it's a slow-burning thing. We're doing lots of downloads and an add-on disk - we're trying to support it." lots of downloads and an add-on disk - we're trying to support it.

Webley: The downloadable content is giving stuff to the movie-makers, but we're also trying to expand the gameplay aspect. We're not just talking but we're also trying to expand the gameplay aspect. We're not just talking more sets and more scenes - we're really going to be concentrating on the more sets and more scenes - we're really going to be concentrating on the gameplay and looking after your studio.

Quiet times at Lionhead high

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