By Bears Rebecca Fonte
There’s an argument to be made that video games and not filmmaking are the true zenith of visual storytelling. With that in mind, I dove into the new documentary PLAYING HARD which follows the production of the video game For Honor through a four-year process from pitch to launch. Giving unprecedented access inside the offices of Ubisoft, as well as the mind of For Honor creative director Jason Vandenberghe, Jean-Simon Chartier’s film has the setup of a truly eye-opening experience.
For the general public, people who are not gamers, there’s not much to recommend in PLAYING HARD. It’s not a particularly Illuminating film about the industry, nor are the characters and their trials and tribulations transcendent of their jobs. I can’t speak for gamers. My guess is if you play this game, For Honor, you’re probably going to love this film, in much the way fans of a great movie love listening to the director’s commentary. Unfortunately, I just don’t think there’s enough here that is cinematic to draw in the viewer’s attention otherwise.