BACK in 2005, Lionhead Studios released an incredibly forward-thinking game called The Movies.
Essentially a cross between a base builder, management sim and machinima engine, the game put you in charge or pretty every aspect of running a Hollywood movie studio, from the 1900s to the present day.
The game had a few balance issues, and the fact it doesn’t work with any OS past Windows 8 and isn’t available via Steam or GOG means it’s mostly fallen into obscurity.
For years since, people have been asking for a decent game that lets you run a movie studio, and Odyssey Studios are on track to deliver that with Moviehouse, scheduled for a PC release around September(ish).
The game puts you in the studio head’s chair at a small studio in the 1980s with all the possibilities that entails, and lets you control the studio through the next several decades.
The demo, released via the Steam Next festival, gives a tantalising taste of what the game can offer. In a nutshell, it struck me as a much more involved and detailed version of Game Dev Tycoon – which is a good thing.
In addition to the basic Game Dev Tycoon mechanics, in Moviehouse you will also get to do things like create props, build sets, scout for locations, and expand the studio. It worked well and was surprisingly engaging, even for a limited-feature demo.
I had a lot of fun with the Moviehouse demo – I like movies, I like tycoon games, and I’m really glad someone appears to have combined the two after so many years; the satisfaction of getting a script written, getting the movie made, then seeing it do well at festivals and raking in the big bucks on release was a great feeling.
Per the game’s official blurb:
Moviehouse lets you live out your dream of finally making the perfect movie. Choose from up to twelve different genres, plot the storyline to your film and make a true blockbuster. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about a cinematic universe?
Get your camera ready and experience Moviehouse.
- Lead a movie studio from the 80s to modern-day
- Pick from a dozen different genres and plot the perfect storyline – make a spy flick, a romantic comedy, or a bloody slasher or something entirely different – it’s all up to you.
- Hit the festival circuit – showcase your movie in film festivals to build buzz, gain accolades, and critical success!
- Hire directors and writers, build up their skills – a good crew in itself will bring viewers to seats.
- Hone your moviemaking craft by unlocking new ways to compete in an ever-changing market – unlock sequels, prequels, cinematic universes, and more!
- Compete with other movie studios at the box office and for the coveted golden clapper
The Moviehouse demo is fairly limited (obviously), but incredibly promising – I’ve spent a decade looking for a game which can hit the spot The Movies did, and based on my time with the demo, this may very well be it.