Spike Jonze's latest - and amazing - film, Her, played tonight in Los Angeles as part of the AFI Film Festival. Jonze was in attendance for a Q&A after the movie, and one question brought out an exciting response from him.
In Her, a film set the day after tomorrow, Joaquin Phoenix's character plays a Kinect-like video game that features a foul-mouthed, insulting little alien (voiced by Jonze himself). There's also a very funny game being developed by the Amy Adams character called Be A Perfect Mom, where you score points for making rival moms jealous and have to avoid giving your kids sugary cereals. Both of these games are funny but also feel like they were envisioned by someone who gets video games, and it turns out Jonze is a fan of the medium. When asked about his interest in games, Jonze replied that he and producer Megan Ellison had actually been talking about making video games.
That's thrilling news. For one thing, it's exciting that Spike Jonze is interested in games. I don't think he'd be the kind of guy to create a Quicktime event heavy, ploddingly paced game. He'd definitely bring a unique perspective to gameplay and design, exactly the sort of outsider POV the game industry needs. Meanwhile, Megan Ellison is perhaps the most important person working in film today; she has used her personal wealth to help some of our best filmmakers create the movies they want to create. If she were to turn her attention to games - if she brought to games the sensibility that led her to produce The Master and Zero Dark Thirty and Spring Breakers - she could help break the stranglehold samey AAA games have on the top tiers of the game industry.