This week the all new free-to-play action packed shooter game ‘Loadout’ hit the marketplace for the Sony Playstation 4 gaming console. To celebrate the release of this highly anticipated game, Machinima and the team at Wayside Creations (who made such classic live action going shorts as ‘Fallout: Nuka Break‘ and ‘Fallout: Red Star‘) have crafted a brand new short film based on the game! The eight-and-a-half-minute long short film, titled ‘Loadout: Going In Hot’, features a great cast of ‘merchant marines in space’ lead by Captain Gaz, who is portrayed by none other than the legendary Richard Hatch of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ fame!
We were lucky enough to talk to Mr. Hatch about the short film, his experience with the new ‘Loadout’ game itself, and his take on the wonderful work that people like the folks at Machinima and Wayside Creations are doing! Before we get into all of that deep and meaningful conversation, be sure to check out the full short-film of ‘Loadout: Going In Hot’ before delving into the full interview below!
Before we could even fire a single question off to Mr. Hatch, he excitedly revealed that he had just been at Machinima playing the new ‘Loadout’ game, which had just released this week on the Sony Playstation 4.
ScienceFiction (SF): So, having just starred in the new ‘Loadout: Going In Hot’ short for Machinima and now that you’ve played the new ‘Loadout’ game, what did you think of the game itself?
Richard Hatch (RH): Well, there are a lot of different aspects to the game. What I had played today was just sort of… just going after the bad guys and killing as many people as you can! It didn’t really get into any kind of real mission or overall story plot points or anything in the version I was playing. But it was fun! It was a lot of fun. I think it’s really cool the way that people can play and create their own weapon and… I hate to say this but… even the way that people die, I think, is pretty artistic. You get your head blown off, you get burned up to a crisp, you explode… it was really fun!
SF: Oh nice! It sounds awesome! Could you tell us a little about the ‘Loadout: Going In Hot’ short that you just starred in? Maybe describe the recent project in your own words?
RH: Well, whenever you take a game, especially something new and successful like this that just premiered on the Sony Playstation this week, and translate it from the game to a live action format, you’ve got to flesh out those characters, you’ve got to build those relationships, build up subtext and back story, and all those other elements, without losing the fun and the core feeling of the game that everybody loves so much. So that’s really challenging! But with these guys and this short format of seven or eight minutes, they did a really great job! Of course they’ve got to add some story elements, like we’ve got the ship, this broken down freighter, the Captain and this crew that are over the top. The Captain has this love-hate relationship with his ship that’s falling apart, and he’s got this quirky, brilliant, little crew… like one guy is great at creating camouflages and can look like anyone he needs to, the other guy is brilliant with creating weapons but he can’t fire them well, and of course I’m (referring to his character, Captain Gaz) really a badass at killing people! So we can go up against all of the big, badder companies with their bigger ships and bigger weapons, and we outsmart, out think, and out strategize them all! Somehow the little guy gets to overcome the big guy, although you never quite know how that’s going to work! We’re always getting fired on and we’re always getting knocked out of the sky, and yet this old rickety ship still holds together somehow, and we get through the day! It should be a really fun ride!
SF: Now, your character Captain Gaz, and his crew, were made up entirely for this short film. Do you think there’s a chance you guys will show up in the game at some point, maybe in an update or a later version?
RH: Yeah why not? I think what will happen is that the future will go forward with the live action versions of games! I think it’s funny, but we used to make a game out of a successful series, and they would put out a aliased game, but in this case they’re taking a successful game and going in the other direction with it by creating a live action adaptation of the game. I think they can’t help but to combine them. I think the live action version where you can build relationships and drama. I feel like games are trying to make themselves more self immersive by adding this extra story-value. They’re not just making a first person shooter, but rather this whole world you can just enter in and create your avatar and figure out what part you want to play in that games story, and you want to play in a world that has been fleshed out! That’s really what this live action version does, it fleshes out the story, and I feel like they’ll want to bring more of these story elements into the game. I think the two will effect in each other in a very positive way, and it’ll just continue to grow from there.
More and more game technology is evolving to where it’s no longer just a really cool game technology surrounded by this really superficial kind of thin little story to hold it together. You’re going to have a far more self-immersive complex story that the game can, in a sense, evolve out of. We’re moving very rapidly to a new future where we can crate new universes, and create places where you might want to go! You know, that’s what cosplay is all about actually. People get to live in the universe they want to live in. You have to build your costume, your character, you have to role play, and everybody wants to be part of some created universe that they love, and that’s what this is all about! The live action is going to allow people to roleplay, enter into the universe that they love, and be a part of that universe and effect that universe. I think it’s moving into a very dynamic creative relationship between gaming and live action, and even movies, television, comic books, graphic novels… pretty much everything! It’s a powerful time to be in the world.
SF: So can we expect to see more episodes like ‘Coming In Hot’, set with these characters in the ‘Loadout’ universe? Or do you think this is going to be more of a ‘one-and-done’ short?
RH: I’d love to say yes! But I don’t honestly know. They’re testing it and they’d like to do more! It could evolve from a short form, where they have shorter segments like we just did, featuring various missions where you get these brief seven or eight minute capsulations where you get a dynamic little story with a beginning, middle, and end, and ultimately these could evolve into a longer form story. If they catch on and people like the story and like the characters, anything could happen!
We’re in a time frame where the industry is changing, with new business models and new ways of delivering content to the audience. People are building their own networks, online or on Youtube or wherever. They’re building a new relationship like Felicia Day did with ‘The Guild’, which I believe was very much the beginning of all of that. Networks and studios will have a presence online as well, but online, television, and movies, are all going to become one in the future. What I like about today is that we’re in the ‘gold rush’ days, where you can get in there, create something, put it out there, and if you can find an audience that likes what you have, the viral nature of the internet and social networks allows you to “spread the good news” to a lot of people very quickly! If you can gain an audience then you find a business relationship and you can monetize it and the audience pays less! Like when you get music through iTunes, where it costs you a bit less money but the studios and record labels really made more money because they were able to get more content out to more people! It’s a win-win!
RH (Continued): I think I would rather have the audience in this more direct line partnership that the producers and the show have with the audience, as compared to having to go through a network or a studio and the old distribution methodology, where they controlled that pipeline where they decided what got through and decided when to cancel! I think I’d rather have a faster business model that allows you to make more things faster, quicker and less expensively, reach the audience and be in control of it! Let the audiences support, or lack of support, decide the fate of your product as compared to letting a network executive cancelling it because it doesn’t fit THEIR business model.
In the old business model you had to reach way too many people in order to justify a series existence, whereas in the new model you can reach a far more, and really hyper responsive, niche market, and create a very successful business model that allows a show to stay on a lot longer and still retain the same high quality that any network show has. I think this is a new day in programming, and it’s going to unleash a lot of talent! Talented and creative filmmakers, actors, writers… and they’ll all have a much more intimate creative relationship with their audiences.
SF: So you’re really gung-ho about the ‘wave of the future’ and the internet production revolution then?
RH: I am! I was never fond of the old ‘gate-keepers’ that, really, I hate to say it, but the distributors made the lions share of the revenue, and the people that put the most work into creating the product received probably the least amount of the revenue. I think a lot of the money gets wasted in the studio networks business model and I think this new, more direct production model allows the filmmakers to create superior product much faster and far less costly. It builds a win-win viable business relationship with the audience, because it’ll cost the audience a lot less money to get to see a quality product! And yet, everybody will really win, because the filmmakers will end up making more money, and the actors can make good money, and everybody involved can make good money, and so much less money will have been wasted. It’ll be a win-win all around for everybody, and that’s fantastic.
SF: Is that what attracted you to this project? Because it was a much more personal and independent production?
RH: I’ve always been an artist that thinks outside the box. I started creating trailers in order to sell an idea or a project back in 2000, and everyone thought that making a trailer without a movie was really really silly and stupid and that I was really crazy to do it. But then we created the ‘Battlestar: Second Coming’ trailer to pitch to the network. A new way to do a new ‘Battlestar’ series, and it showed that we were able to do something that cost us far less, but that was pretty spectacular, and it got great reviews! We had many different companies wanting to come on board to develop a series with us. It was kind of before it’s time, and yet, that’s sort of where everything has gone now.
Today, everybody creates these little ‘sizzle reels’ in order to sell their idea or concept. People can be a lot more proactive now and you can put together an idea, develop it yourself, create a wonderful story, package it, and pitch it to various networks! Networks are always looking for new product. Or you can even just put it online, which as I’ve been saying allows you to build that relationship with your audience. Depending on how you build that relationship with the audience and how successful that is, you can monetize it in a fair way that is a win-win for everybody! That’s what Kicksters and IndieGoGo campaigns are all about! They’re a way for fans to support the kind of programming they want to see! They’re doing that for fan-films, they’re doing that for ‘Axanar’, which is this groundbreaking indie ‘Star Trek’ film that I’m actually playing a Klingon General in. The whole thing is being done by all professionals, from top to bottom, and everybody gets paid. They just can’t make any money from the product, because it isn’t really a licensed product yet.
RH (Continued)- In the future, there’s no telling what could happen. New ones are always being created, and we’re in a very exciting time, and I like the fact that I don’t have to sit there waiting for a phone call, I can just bring all of my creative friends together, create an idea, develop it, and then either go pitch it, or I can put it online and develop a relationship with the audience. And if the audience likes it, I can either leave it on, build a way to monetize it, which people usually do a Kickstarter for, to let fans support the projects with donations, or maybe work out a subscription service plan where it costs a few bucks a month to be able to watch the series. Something inexpensive that allows the audience to support the programming that they love, and if you can get enough people watching it, it builds you leverage and some power to make a better deal if a bigger company comes by and wants to put it on a network. Or, you might just want to leave it where it is! I think the future, to me, is that there’s going to be as much programming online as there are on any other entertainment platform. I think it’s going to be very competitive to what networks do, because people are going to realize we can make the same quality products for a lot less than the networks or studios do.
SF: Well yeah, even lately there has been talk about how some of the shows that are considered the best rated series currently have numbers that, ten years ago, would have gotten them cancelled.
RH: I know! And you know, the trick of it is, ‘Star Trek’ came out in syndication back when syndication was in it’s infancy. Had ‘Star Trek’ been on any one network, it would have been cancelled because of the numbers. But on syndication, they were kind of the only thing out there! So they kept on making the show, and by the third year, it really took off and became the big hit that it’s become. But had it been on a network? They would have cancelled it. ‘Firefly’! ‘Firefly’ had 5-million dedicated fans, and they cancelled it. 5-million dedicated fans, can support a whole different kind of business model, and make everybody successful. The trouble is, the network model is highly leveraged. They require a lot of money and a lot of people watching it in order to even justify a show being on. I really like the idea of these new business models that allow you to reach a very niche audience, and it allows you to be much more efficient in creating, marketing, and delivering this product! I just think it’s a more viable model and we’re only at the beginning of that phase. You’re going to start seeing more and more new projects being created and being directly given to the audience where they don’t have to go through the old network methods of distribution. Those processes were, and I hate to say it, but really biased and prejudicial, and so many good shows were just taken off way too early or never even got a shot. Like how many great shows get cancelled after the third episode, not realizing that sometimes it takes longer for the audience to find your show. The networks are not very patient, and I don’t think they understand the marketplace. People take time to bind to a show. If you’ve got something good, and people like what they see, then you’ve got to leave it out there long enough for the audience to find it.
SF: And now, one last question for you as we wrap this up, but if you could pick one ‘dream project’ to do, that you’ve never really had the chance to do, what would that project be?
RH: Well, when you say that, I’ve been working for ten years on ‘GWoM’, which is ‘Great War of Magellan’, this sci-fi fantasy epic that I will have the novel version of coming out this year. I’m going to do a really high end live action web series to help launch the novel. We’ve already shot trailers, and put together an RPG, and really this has been my work of a lifetime. I’ve put ten years of work into developing the backstory, the mythology, and the relationships of this epic journey of this ancient star mariner who is thousands upon thousands upon thousands of years old. This is my dream, to just produc this. Because it’s a story that explores all of the theoretical probabilities of the universe like “oh who are we and where did we come from? Where are we going? What lies in our human potential that we’ve only barely begun to explore?”. It goes into some very deep mystical areas, and yet it’s got some really interesting characters. I’m just really looking forward to it because it’s my biggest, more passionate project, My biggest dream would be to see this come to fruition.
Be sure to catch Richard Hatch in ‘Loadout: Going In Hot’! The video is now live now on the Machinima Youtube channel, and the new ‘Loadout’ free-to-play shooter game for the Sony Playstation 4 is now in the Playstation Store.