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SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Video gamers are used to immersing themselves into virtual worlds so filmmakers turning video games into movies are aiming to keep them as involved, by adding 3D.
Sony Pictures' "Resident Evil: Afterlife," which opens September 10, is the first video game movie filmed in stereoscopic 3D.
Writer/director/producer Paul W.S. Anderson even used the same 3D camera rigs that director James Cameron used on "Avatar" to bring the fourth installment of the popular survival horror game franchise to the big screen.
"I wrote things into this script that I knew would work well in 3D like lots of sets with depth-like tunnels, elevator shafts, and big wide landscapes," said Anderson, who has had a creative hand in all four films.
"It's the reason why (actress) Milla (Jovovich) has an airplane in this movie -- so I could shoot over these fantastic glaciers in Alaska with a tiny plane over a huge white landscape," he added.
Anderson said particle matter in the air worked well in 3D, so he also wrote rain and smoke into the script as well as underwater sequences to accentuate the 3D experience.
Before "Resident Evil: Afterlife" began filming, Japanese game publisher Capcom had already released "Resident Evil 5" in stereoscopic 3D for PC gamers with NVIDIA 3D Vision technology.
The same male following that Sony Computer Entertainment America and Sony Electronics are banking on with the new PlayStation 3 3D upgrade is also driving sales of the higher-priced 3D movie tickets.
"Almost all the games being adapted to film lend themselves to these big, immersive, visual effects-driven, exciting movies," said Ari Arad, who is producing upcoming game adaptations like "Lost Planet," "EverQuest," "Twisted Metal," "Infamous," and "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune."
"While dramas and comedies will eventually have 3D, if you're going to invest the resources and if you're going to create 3D product, that 3D product is action movies, horror movies, adventure movies, sci-fi, and fantasy -- and most of these video game adaptations fall right into those genres."
Screenwriter Kyle Ward, who wrote big screen adaptations for Eidos' "Kane & Lynch" and "Hitman 2" games, believes video games naturally lend themselves to become 3D movies.
"When you play a first-person shooter, you're basically throwing yourself into the world of the game and interacting with it," said Ward. "The same is true for 3D films ... if done right, they'll bring you into their world."
Ward doesn't believe every game adaptation should be filmed in 3D.
He believes "Kane & Lynch," which will star Bruce Willis and Jamie Foxx, will work fine in 2D, but he wouldn't be surprised if bullets fly out of the screen for "Hitman 2."
Both the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures "TRON Legacy" film and the PlayStation 3 version of Disney Interactive Studios' "TRON Evolution" will offer 3D experiences.
The game will serve as a bridge between the two films, setting up the story for the sequel.
Hollywood writer/director Matty Rich is developing a new 3D feature film and corresponding 3D game based on "Curandismo," which is an action adventure story of an unlikely African American boy who was born with special healing powers. "I think 3D across the board in both homes and in theaters is going to be very big," said Anderson.
Editing by Belinda Goldsmith