Recently I got the opportunity to direct my second Immersion and wow was it a fun one. I've been a fan of stealth and tactical games ever since I discovered Splinter Cell years ago. In fact, I would even try and play games like Call of Duty (which is just pure chaos now) as tactically as I could. Whatever that means. In my head it makes sense. But I especially remember, years and years ago, playing The Twin Snakes on GameCube. I loved that game and enjoyed all of the stealth aspects...even the ridiculous cardboard box.
The latest Immersion was very similar to my first, Five Nights at Freddy's. Both ideas were pitched broadly before I sat in the director's chair (we don't have a chair...yet!), but the design and execution was more or less my own (with lots of collaboration with the creative producers and art department). MGS was similar to FNAF in that it was like a theatre performance: our Lab Rats are put in a situation with other characters, on set paths. Their choices would affect the movements and outcomes. It's those choices (and the commentary) that leads to great comedy and conflict. In each, one with monsters the other with roaming guards, we had to plan movements and give rules to our characters. That's a complicated and fun aspect to these Immersions -- the "programming". But, you can never account for Lab Rats and phantom cigars...
Another similarity -- and where I had the most fun -- was the technical and stylistic lighting. One horror. One action. Lots of pools of light, different colors. We even added atmosphere in MGS in order to catch the spotlights better. These stylistic flourishes, to me, is the most fun aspect of Immersion. It gives you to room to play.
I just remembered another similarity. Cameras! So many cameras. On Five Nights we have 17+ cameras on set, recording simultaneously. On MGS we had 22 at one point! That's a lot of feeds. We are able to handle this quickly and efficiently in post-production partly because of Final Cut Pro X. It handles multicams like a dream. We are able to watch 16 feeds at once without any playback issues. In fact, we were able to finish MGS in <7 days using just 2 editors - one lead, one support. Workflow can save you a lot of time and effort. And FCPX is a big part of my workflow. (But that's a whole other journal entry).
Along with that, this Immersion was different because it had a very simple structure and clear goal. There was much less setup than Five Nights, a lot less moving pieces: Get from here to there and don't get shot. Which is great! Because I was able to have fun with slow motion, add more gags and let the talent guide the comedy. I'm not the best at writing jokes. I leave that to the professionals. Or Gavin.
In any case, these Immersions are fun. And I hope the audience enjoys them. They will continue to change, get bigger and better. But at its core, it's still big kids just playing in a video game sandbox. And don't forget -- it's the fans that make the sandbox get bigger and better.