Blockbuster Inc. Review – A New Era In Movies

As I wait for my first movie to premiere, I wonder if I made the right decisions. Was “Argh for Romance” really going to be the hit I needed to make my studio a success? A general audience romance film centered around pirates doesn’t sound that great, but maybe it’ll resonate thanks to the sets I built and the actors I’ve cast. So I wait for the results to come in, and, much to my surprise, it sits in the middle of the pack and my low-budget debut nets $300,000 in profit for “Just Go With It Films”. I was happy but knew there was more work to be done to become the best production studio around.

Those are the general vibes you get from Blockbuster Inc., the new movie sim game from developer Super Sly Fox and publisher Ancient Forge.

You start off with an empty plot in Filmwood with dreams of becoming the next big production company. While the game takes inspiration from other management sims like Game Dev Tycoon, there’s a lot more depth here than what many would expect going in.

You have to manage everything in this game. And when I say everything, I mean everything. From the schedule of your staff to where they live to the quality of food you feed them, it’s more than just the acting and set design that makes a successful studio. 

And while it sounds like it could be a bit overwhelming, it’s all done in a way that never feels like it’s getting to be too much. Everything is organized and easily accessible, and while decisions on things like housing and food need to be made, it’s not so in the weeds that you’ll get lost. It’s often just a simple menu selection. 

Where the heavy depth comes is with the movie and show-creating process. You know, the whole point of Blockbuster Inc..

Blockbuster Inc. Review

Behind The Camera In Blockbuster Inc.

Creating a movie or show is a pretty straightforward process with the level of depth you’d expect based on everything else in the game. To start, you name your product, and choose the type, budget size, genre, theme, and age focus. From there, you have to select your producer, director, writers, and actors while deciding how much or little of various elements should be in the movie. Want a comedy about vampires? You can do that. What about a medieval action flick? That’s no problem. 

Once you have that basic information finalized, it’s time to choose your sets and direct your scenes. Speaking of sets, you can use the premade ones, build your own for your lot, or utilize the Steam workshop to download sets from other players.

With your sets chosen, directing your scene comes down to choosing the animations you want to use, the actors involved – you can have up to three in a movie –, any special effects, costumes, and camera positions. As you move through the years and eras, you can unlock better equipment to improve your production quality both during filming and in post production. It’s a nice progression that will see you make better products each time. 

Here’s the real kicker of the process, though. Full video editing. After filming your scenes, you have to cut, clip, and move the scenes how you want them to make your movie. You can even add sound effects to increase the overall quality. When you’re all done, you can then save your films to your PC to watch back whenever you want. 

Once a film is out there, you’ll get reviews and feedback, not only for the film as a whole, but each individual scene. You’ll also learn how various actors work together and if the genre you picked was a strong suit for your writers and producers. All to help you make better decisions moving forward.

And like real life, each year there’s an annual award show that will help your studio and actors increase notoriety and revenue as you take home gold.

Blockbuster Inc. Review Editor

Expect The Unexpected

Of course, there’s the dark side, so to speak, of running a studio. You have to not only keep your employees and actors happy, but keep an eye out for rival studios keen on poaching your talent as they become more known. 

You might have your employees lie about being sick because they were taking an interview with another studio. Another might just throw a tantrum and threaten to quit mid-production. How you handle each situation goes a long way into the respect you earn from your staff and the competing studios. 

There are even situations that happen that you might not even expect. One such instance was when I started producing my first movie, my lead actor decided to go out and celebrate. That’s all well and good, but he then got into an accident due to driving drunk and needed plastic surgery to fix his face. That would’ve cost my small studio $15,000, which I wasn’t going to just drop on something like this that could’ve been avoided. So, I told him, and his family, I wasn’t paying for it, leaving him “deformed”. He then gained the trait of “ugly” and ultimately became such a problem that I had to fire him. It was a completely unexpected scenario that blew me away.

Now, there are some small issues I have with limitations, specifically with set design and the animations you can choose when creating movies. I feel that for some movies there are plenty of animations, and even set elements to an extent, to pick from while others have slim pickings. It makes you feel like you have to always go towards specific themes and genres to get the best experience when creating your show or movie. It’s something that I think gets added to in future updates, but, right now, it’s a small nitpick of mine.

I also wish editing the animations and camera work was more open. Certain scenes I felt I had less control of than I’d like. Lastly, buying and unlocking newer equipment can feel a bit too easy as you play. It might be by design, but it felt like there was no real challenge in getting better cameras, mics, lighting, and more.

Overall, Blockbuster Inc. is exactly what you’d want from a spiritual successor to a classic game like The Movies. It’s clear the team at Super Sly Fox has a passion for what they’ve built. The freedom you have to do what you want with your movies and shows will keep everyone coming back weeks and months after their first play. And all the extra depth around the movies are just bonuses to an already fun game.

Blockbuster Inc. was reviewed on PC with a code provided by the publisher. For more on Insider Gaming’s reviews, view our full review policy.

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