Michael Bay is venturing into the gaming industry with his next project.
Speaking at the Next World Forum tech summit in Riyadh on Wednesday, the acclaimed director revealed the untitled work is based on an original idea hatched nearly 20 years ago.
Bay confirmed the project has been in development for the past three years and is currently undergoing a testing phase. Known for his films Transformers and Armageddon, Bay said he is excited at the full-throttled stories games offer.
“Games and movies are shared experiences, they both invite audiences into an imaginary world where you can have some kind of human experience,” he said.
“Playing games gets my blood pressure going because you experience this big broad story. While in movies you can manipulate your blood pressure through music and sound.”
Although details about the game are under wraps, Bay revealed the story stems from forgotten notes written 17 years ago and only came to light after acquiring the game company Digital Domain from Avatar director James Cameron.
"I wanted to create huge action and a huge world with great characters and emotion," he said. "And I do think that this is where games have to aspire to.”
Bay's comments were part of a wider discussion surrounding celebrity investment in the gaming industry.
Also on the panel was retired footballer Gareth Bale.
As the owner of Ellevens Esports, which competed in the Fifae Club World Cup and the Rocket League Championship Series, he acknowledged the similarities between professional sports and esports.
"You need to have a strategy when it comes to running your team. You can now have content creators create a different atmosphere around the team to make it more fun or series," he said. "It is easy to market that and make people support that team."
As for the future of esports, Bale said the best is yet to come.
“Esports is the next best thing if you are not able to make it to that professional level because you can play in your local leagues, make a team with your friends and potentially make a lot of money," he said.
"It's the next best thing to being a professional footballer or an NFL player and you can play these games in a professional environment.”
Fellow panellist and tech entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk – also known as Gary Vee – said the gaming industry's cultural and financial muscle is destined to grow.
"Gaming has now crossed over into one of the cultural pillars of our society like movies, sports and fashion," he said. "On this day, as we sit here, this is the smallest the gaming industry will be."