Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the 32-year-old director of Kong: Skull Island is a deeply passionate and vocal proponent of video games, frequently referencing them in interviews, much to the confusion of a large part of the movie press. Growing up with classic games and citing influences as diverse as Treasure’s frenetic shooters like Radiant Silvergun along with the majority of the Dreamcast back-catalog, he’s part of a new generation of creatives for which games are deeply significant. He once noted that that famous Nintendo composer Koji Kondo was an influence on his critically-acclaimed 2013 film The Kings Of Summer, and has since expressed his passion for the Metal Gear series by fighting tooth-and-nail for the opportunity to turn it into a movie.
Vogt-Roberts is a growing number of young, upcoming directors who have been influenced by other mediums of storytelling besides just cinema. He talks about Ben Whitley drawing on the feel of the Counter-Strike games for his latest, Free Fire, and it’s clear Joe Cornish drew upon a childhood spent playing games for Attack the Block. These directors don’t want to make video game movies per se (though the interview with Vogt-Roberts is specifically about his assignment to a Metal Gear Solid adaptation), but it is how the video game experience–the physical and emotional investment exerted to affect a story’s outcome over many more hours than a movie–provides the touchstones essential to their creative expression.
However, it’s important to note that just as they are changing the visual language of movies based on their love of video games, it was movies which influenced many of their favorite Japanese video game creators such as Kojima Hideo. Kojima’s love and knowledge of movies, as noted in the interview, is well-known. Yet, he doesn’t turn identifiable movies into video games (though the criticism has been leveled on the Metal Gear series). Instead, the cinematic language informs his decisions about plot, character and thematic development, and obviously production design and camera work. Over the years it has become increasingly apparent games with deeper storylines are becoming the norm, perhaps vindicating Kojima. So, it is interesting to see how he and other Japanese video game creators have impacted the way directors such as Vogt-Roberts are approaching their craft today.
He explains a lot more during his interview with Glixel.