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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media edited by Carol Vernallis, Amy Herzog, and John Richardson. This essay examines what is at stake when characters move from cinema to digital games and other interactive media according to the synergistic logic of transmedia storytelling. Using the Beowulf franchise as a case study, this essay considers how media franchises encourage cross-media consumption by blurring the boundaries between their film and game characters, often by highlighting shared technical processes and visual similarities and mobilizing a gamelike mode of address in relation to their film characters. It demonstrates how game characters that slavishly remediate their filmic counterparts tend to be faulted for how they approach, but fail to achieve, cinematic realism, sacrificing gameplay in the process. This essay questions the prioritization of game characters as successful avatars for their film characters, rather than as functional stand-ins for their players, and contends that the technological convergence of cinema and digital games has not necessarily led to successfully converged content.

Keywords: convergence, transmedia, characters, cinema, digital games

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