Screenshot 2012-07-23 at 10.51.40 AM
Today Artifact Studios announced its “definitive” video project, Critical Path, which documents brilliant video game creators with in-depth interviews. Designers and technical leads can fill the portal with their ideas and philosophies in an interactive online format, discussing the art, philosophy, politics, and psychology of the digital gaming scene.

“We’re at an amazing point in history where digital entertainment is emerging and changing our culture,” director David Grabias said in a statement today. “We are interested in documenting the minds, thoughts, and inspirations behind the evolving medium to try and translate its meaning today, and potential to be a leading art form tomorrow.”

The idea here is to help the game-buying public become more aware of the people behind one of the most popular entertainment activities. Critical Path hopes to bring the same level of awareness that the general public has of movies and television to the video game world. Interviewees include those responsible for hits like Civilization, Gears of War, Grand Theft Auto, The Sims, Halo, as well as indie designers pushing the art form through games such as Journey, SpyParty, and Passage.


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The video project has been in production for two years and boasts 121 video clips of varying lengths, taken from over 30 hours of interviews with leading professionals in game design and production. Visitors to the website can sort the interviewed conversations by topic or speaker. Critical Path hopes to continue the project and add more discussions with designers and thought-leaders in the video game space. Feedback from the user community will shape the direction of interviews and subjects over time.

A short list of people and topics is as follows:

Ken Levine – Start with the Player Experience
Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk – Secondary Characters
Cliff Bleszinski – Emergent Gameplay
Cliff Bleszinski – Empowerment Fantasy
Nolan Bushnell – Challenging Educators
David Cage – Percent of Players Finishing a Game
John Carmack – First-Person vs. Third-Person
Richard Garriott – Real-Life Parallels
Chris Hecker – Money and Experimentation
Hideo Kojima – Social Issues in Games
Richard Hilleman – Power of Sports Video Games
Clint Hocking – Learning About Loss
Rod Humble – Physicality of Playing
Rod Humble – Clown Nose Act
David Jones – Commercial Success
Raph Koster – Early Games Multiplayer
Frank Lantz – Games Change the World
Sid Meier – Satisfaction of Learning
Sid Meier – Game Breaking
Rob Pardo – It Depends on the Player
Jason Roher – Addiction vs. Engagement
Tim Schafer – Gamification
Joseph Staten – Making Game Accessible
Will Wright – Avatar Becomes “I”
Will Wright – Play vs. Storytelling
Susan Wu – Bonding Through Adversity

The project will be collected into a single documentary film, currently titled Critical Path, that will hopefully weave all the interviews into a narrative about digital gaming as a whole. The date of this film has not been announced.

Artifact Studios is located in Los Angeles and specializes in documentary films as well as “story-driven” marketing. Recent films include Behind the Wall: The Making of Skyrim for Bethesda Softworks and the HBO documentary feature, Koran By Heart.

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