LOS ANGELES (AP) — The next release from 2K Games, the publisher of such interactive adventures as the sci-fi shoot-'em-up series "Borderlands" and the alternate history saga "BioShock," won't be another out-of-this-world game. It's a film planted firmly in reality. With the release of "The Art of the Game," 2K is becoming the latest game maker to trade interactivity for a documentary.
The feature-length movie is scheduled to debut for free Thursday on Machinima's Twitch.tv channel and later on Xbox Live and YouTube. It chronicles budding game designers at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, who competed last year for an internship at 2K by creating computer-generated short films set in the fictional realm from the "Borderlands" games.
2K commissioned Matthew Davis Walker, who previously produced the music doc "Muscle Shoals," and his production company Story Developing to craft the film, which is interwoven with profiles of folks from across the gaming world, such as transgendered game designer Mattie Brice and Wii bowlers from the Sullivan Senior Center in Torrington, Connecticut.
"The last thing we wanted to make was a commercial," said Walker. "2K was a wonderful partner because they were able to be so open-minded about what we brought them. We wanted to approach the industry from a wide-ranging perspective, whether it was education involving children, design with the college students or the older generation playing games."
Kelly Miller, the marketing manager behind the film at 2K, said the company originally decided to hold the contest at the Academy of Art University because of the school's interest in game design and proximity to 2K headquarters in Novato, California. The notion of documenting the process, including equipping students with cameras to film themselves, came later.
"It didn't start as an hour-long documentary," said Miller. "When we began the project with the students, we immediately realized we wanted to follow them and tell their story. We then started working with Story Developing and talking about what would be the best format to do that, and it just felt like the right format. There was a lot of depth there."
Ultimately, 2K greenlit three short films to be produced by Academy of Art University students outside of their classwork, and "The Art of the Game" follows their creation from storyboard concepts to final products, with a pair of participants later earning jobs with the company. The three winning short films will be released digitally alongside the documentary.
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