Editor's Letter

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As marketers look to serve up consumers' entertainment of choice, at home and away, and as agencies look at orienting themselves to creating these new and ever more entertaining properties, some insight into a different, but perhaps soon to be related creative framework-like that involved in creating a videogame, let's say-seems in order. The videogames developers and artists on our cover did more than turn in a suprisingly professional modeling performance* (as most of you will attest, it's difficult to get even the most interesting person to strike up any kind of human-like expression in a photograph-look up and to your right for a demonstration). They took time out to explain to us the creative process behind the making of their respective new PlayStation 2 titles-Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Jak3 and Rise of the Kasai (a fourth game, The Getaway: Black Monday is also featured in the story, on p. 24). As games in general get bigger and bigger among a more demographically diverse audience, the ostensibly converging marketing and entertainment communities have been developing innovative ways to harness games' potential. But we don't hear much about the technical, visual and storytelling artists behind the games, and how their skills might cross over to an ad world in which creatives do more than TV scripts and print ads.

From creating either more fantastical or more true to life cinematic scenes-as in The Getaway: Black Monday's exhaustive performance capture system-to creating a story that has different endings and that can be experienced and, effectively, altered by multiple participants at the same time, gamemakers face some familiar and some very unfamiliar challenges. This issue, we look at who they are, how they like to work and what they think the evolution of interactive entertainment will look like.

Once again, as it does with most people whose job is to entice people to spend time in front of a screen of any size, much of the discussion boiled down to that one ever-loving word: story. With games, of course, story must exist in harmony with the game's essence, which is ... well, gaming. As one of the game's writers notes in the interview, "A good story can't make a bad game good, but it can make a good game great. Gameplay is still king." It's a dynamic that has some relevance to those who are now creating entertainment properties whose essence is serving a brand. It could be reinterpreted as: A good story can't make a nonexistent marketing idea good, but it can make a good one unforgettable.

*(Credit for this and for the general awesome nature of the cover photograph goes, along with thanks, to photographer Comrade, who plussed the crap out of a poorly articulated concept and did so with zero attitude).

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