Dear Guillermo del Toro, Please Don't Give Up Making Video Games
The filmmaker is deflated from ever making video games again. This is an open letter begging him to reconsider.
Guillermo del Toro doesn’t want to do video games anymore. The prolific genre filmmaker has been burned once too many times any time he’s attempted a project.
The last project, “Silent Hills,” was to be an incredibly terrifying survival-horror collaboration between him, “Metal Gear Solid” creator Hideo Kojima, and The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus. Due to company conflicts beyond del Toro’s control, the game was unceremoniously cancelled.
The following is a plea, from one of his most ardent fans and ethusiasts, to at least reconsider. Ahem.
Dear Guillermo del Toro,
Hi, it’s me. No, you don’t know me, but that’s okay. I’ve known you ever since I saw 12 watching Hellboy. My name is Eric, and your imagination and world-building have widened my eyes since that day in the movie theater.
I heard through the grapevine that you were considering never making a video game again. Not that I am in any position to tell you what you should do, but please don’t.
Just don’t. At all. Please, just go back to your magical house and think of a new idea and then make it. That’s not hard, is it? You’re a genius, your movies make money, so go to someone else and make a god damn video game.
I want you to make a video game because you’re a storytelling genius. You build worlds that feel authentic, rustic, almost as if they could breathe on their own no matter how old they are. When I saw Hellboy, I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing. It must have been what 12-year-olds thought Star Wars looked like when it first came out. We movie buffs romantically believe the cinema to be a gateway into another world, but Hellboy, like Star Wars and Indiana Jones before it, made it conceivable that it was true. Let’s be honest, Hellboy hasn’t defined our culture like Star Wars, but don’t you think that’s a damn shame?
Anyway, your films, like Hellboy and its sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army were incredible affairs that I fell in love visiting over and over again.
As I got older, I was inspired to check out your other work, namely The Devil’s Backbone. No, I haven’t seen all your work, because — well, I just keep forgetting to add Cronos to my Amazon wishlist — but damn it, I know good work when I see it!
Your 2013 picture Pacific Rim is a masterpiece, and I have to resist myself from physically assaulting people who think it was a dumb robot movie. I’ve been in heated arguments with people who thought it was absurd or ridiculous, like they couldn’t accept in the world of make-believe there are robots made to fight monsters. They’ll believe in magical, cursed rings and spaceships and laser swords and Reese Witherspoon being a believable love interest, but not giant robots? It makes me wonder what is wrong with people, and perhaps we don’t deserve your talents.
But we do, and we need you. At least just once.
Video games are an immersive medium, and despite my love for the cinema there are things that movies cannot accomplish that video games simply take for granted. For one, it’s actually accomplishment: While movies often end on a euphoric sense of victory, it’s a passive sensation. We did not defeat Ivan Drogo, Rocky did. We didn’t journey our way back to Kansas from Oz, Dorothy did. We didn’t get over Summer, Tom did. We were just riding shotgun.
When "Mass Effect 3" disappointed gamers everywhere with its unsatisfactory ending, the comedy group Mega64 made fun of this phenomenon. We so believed in what we achieved in the game, we thought it would actually benefit our own lives.
With the emotional and physical victories your characters accomplish in films like The Devil’s Backbone and Pacific Rim, I can only imagine what your video game could look like.
Speaking of looks, your aesthetic could be breathtaking for video games. My absolute favorite part of your filmmaking is your overall vision that is enriched by details. Pacific Rim was only one of the few movies that made me pause my Blu-ray and zoom in to look at the buttons, control consoles, and even the damn walls. Everything that was on screen mattered, everything meant something in that world. A burn on the wall meant an experiment that went wrong, a red button meant a killswitch no one was supposed to touch unless it was an emergency.
Video games allow for an unprecedented level of detail that players could actually explore instead of passively noticing. We could actually walk into alleys, corners, or read extra notes from characters like in Mass Effect or Dragon Age that informs us more about the world we’re exploring.
There are way more reasons to point out, Mr. del Toro, why you belong in video games. I could point out your beautifully creepy character designs, like in Hellboy, that look like they belong in games. I could explain why, being such a fanboy yourself, you’d know better than most how to translate your work into pixels.
But really, it’s just that you’re too good to never do a video game, ever. Our pop culture is at an all-time peak for superheroes, fantasy, sci-fi, and just accepting make-believe. Please enrich it further.
P.S. Can you explain to me what's up with the hacker girl in The Strain? I kind of don't get her. Thanks.