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Newell: Game-Makers Are Best Equipped To Turn Games Into Movies

Gabe Newell says the numerous pitches Valve got for a Half-Life movie were so bad they motivated the company to "explore" filmmaking on its own with Team Fortress 2 shorts.
Gabe Newell, CEO of Half Life developer, Valve, has claimed that Hollywood directors lack "understanding" of what makes a video game property interesting for fans. Speaking to PC Gamer, Newell revealed that Valve has turned down numerous pitches for film adaptations of the studio's flagship series, Half Life . "There was a whole bunch of meetings with people from Hollywood. Directors down there wanted to make a Half-Life movie and stuff, so they'd bring in a writer or some talent agency would bring in writers, and they would pitch us on their story," he said. "And their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of." It was as a direct result of these meetings that the studio began to explore filmmaking in-house, beginning with a series of short animated advertisements to introduce the various characters in Team Fortress 2 ahead of the game's release. "That's when we started saying 'Wow, the best thing we could ever do is to just not do this as a movie, or we'd have to make it ourselves.'," Newell said. "And I was like, 'Make it ourselves? Well, that's impossible.' But the Team Fortress 2 thing, the Meet The Team shorts, is us trying to explore that." Newell argues that a game's developers, as keepers of its vision, are best-equipped to put together a film version of the property. "As a World of Warcraft player, I would much rather that the WoW team made the movie than anyone else," he said, in reference to the forthcoming movie adaptation of the MMO. "I like Sam Raimi, I've been a fan ever since Evil Dead came out, but I would rather see Blizzard making the movie. We think that customers are like, 'OK, we're kind of sick and tired of the way you guys are slicing and dicing the experience of being a fan of Harry Potter, or Half-Life, or The Incredibles, and you need to fix it.' I think that the people that fix it will be rewarded."

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