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Valve, J.J. Abrams Collaborating on Movies, Games

On Wednesday during the 2013 DICE Summit, Valve Software bossman Gabe Newell and producer/director J.J. Abrams took the stage in a 20-minute one-on-one battle about storytelling in games and movies. The whole dialog was basically preparation for what was to be revealed at the very end: a love for each other's work and a desire to collaborate.

"What we are actually doing here, we are recapitulating a series of conversations going on. We reached the point that we decided to do more than talk." Newell said. "We're super excited about that and we also want to talk about making movies, either a Portal movie or a Half-Life movie."

You read that right: a possible Portal or Half-Life movie from J.J. Abrams. Will he have time to direct it? Probably not given his schedule and the upcoming task of helming the seventh Star Wars movie. But with Bad Robot taking the reigns, we'll finally have a studio that will properly bring Valve's IP to the silver screen.

Abrams then said that he wants to collaborate with Valve on a game without providing any details.

At the beginning of the talk, he thanked developers for all the "incredible fun" they have provided his family and even himself over the years, saying that the industry has moved from Pong (cave drawings) to Portal (the renaissance) in a few short decades. He later admitted that he's a big fan of Valve's games, and even mentions Portal and Half-Life IPs quite a bit.

"I play your games, I love the experience of playing your games," he told Newell. "It's always funny to hear that someone who admires your work as much as I admire yours."

The two seemingly went at it guns blazing at first, questioning the other's judgment about decisions made in certain scenes. Newell fired up a clip from Cloverfield showing the Statue of Liberty's head falling into the street. He said he understood the "device" Abrams was using, but as a gamer, he would throw the camera down and "fucking run" (second that).

"I hear you," Abrams said. "First of all, the logic of someone continuing to shoot, if you go to YouTube, you see plenty of examples of 'Why don't they just fucking run?'"

Abrams then pulls up a clip from Half-Life 2 where Gordon arrives in City 17 and meets up with Alyx, Dr. Kleiner and Barney at the lab. The three NPCs convey the storyline while Gordon picks up things like plants and books.

"So you've got story going on, but you've got a character throwing shit and teleporting things,"Abrams observed.

But Newell pointed out that players are the architects of their own amusement, that they're in control and making their own choices, which is important. Backing that, Abrams pulls up another Half-Life 2 scene when Gordon meets Eli for the first time. After a short dialogue, Eli tells him to look around, so Gordon throws a grenade at her.

"Does Gordon know him or not?" Abrams said, pointing out that there's no real connection between Gordon and the NPC. "Films are at least capable of having good dialogue."

To read the full dialogue, Polygon did a live blog Wednesday morning which can be read here. It's entertaining and definitely builds you up to the big surprise at the end.

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  • Hando567
    Stop worrying about movies and finish HL2: EP3, and HL3!
    Reply
  • deadlockedworld
    Awesome. Lets make some Star Trek games that don't suck!
    Reply
  • anti-painkilla
    Wow, did not know that JJ was part of Cloverfield. Hated the movie and never understood why other people liked it.

    I get that is was meant to look like it was made from a handy cam, but it was just painful to watch. Sorry JJ, you have just gone down a notch in my books.
    Reply
  • chimera201
    Hando567Stop worrying about movies and finish HL2: EP3, and HL3!^ this

    But really VALVE don't give ur games to the film industry. They will just ruin it. If u want to get a movie made just make it urself. U said it before urself VALVE!!!!!!!!!! Just make an animated movie in Source.
    I'm also disappointed why didnt Gabe consider Christopher Nolan.
    Reply
  • Least it isn't BOOM Michael bay BOOM

    EXPLOSIONS! BOOM, boom.

    Michael bay.
    Reply
  • law shay
    deadlockedworldAwesome. Lets make some Star Trek games that don't suck!
    Why was the above comment taken down ? I'm not sure about current Star Trek games.

    However, JJ's Trak was the one that introduced the younger kids with the Trek legacy. I'm a big fan of TNG and Voyager yet I also like the original series a lot. Guess what? I like all TNG movies and JJ's time-travel epic.

    Therefore, since Valve is very good at making games, what's wrong with making Star Trek games, which are not suck ?
    Reply
  • law shay
    JJ Abram is a totally capable director. He is good at First-person-accounts (Cloverfield). Thriller MI3 and MI:GP (as producer). He is good in reviving classics, long forgotten (Star Trek). He is good with 1980s kid movies (Super 8). What do you want more ?
    Reply
  • hardcore_gamer
    anti-painkillaWow, did not know that JJ was part of Cloverfield. Hated the movie and never understood why other people liked it.I get that is was meant to look like it was made from a handy cam, but it was just painful to watch. Sorry JJ, you have just gone down a notch in my books.
    Still a better love story than Twilight
    Reply
  • chimera201
    Even if JJ Abrams is a totally capable director, his films are nowhere near the quality of Valve's games.
    If Valve itself makes an animated movie, no one has to worry about choosing appropriate actors. The animated actors will be exactly be the game characters. And Valve already has the voice actors. The animated movie will actually be more realistic and true to its origin than a realistic film.
    Reply
  • danwat1234
    I heard about this on Merle Dandrige's Facebook fanpage first; https://www.facebook.com/pages/Merle-Dandridge/240313761393
    Reply