The event is being launched in partnership with gaming publication Kill Screen and will take place on April 28 and 29 (during the film festival). There will be keynote interviews with Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima, BioShock director Ken Levine and Max Payne creator Sam Lake.
The games festival will also include “X Post Conversations” pairing up creators from inside and outside the game world, “Retro Active” events discussing games from 2016 and even a virtual reality-focused discussion commemorating the 25th anniversary of The Lawnmower Man (!).
But what about actually playing games? Tribeca says there will be an interactive arcade, and the event will kick off with a crowd play of the first chapter of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series. (Opening night will also include a concert by electronic artist Mura Masa.)
Tribeca hasn’t ignored the gaming world before this. It’s held a number of virtual reality– and gaming-related events in the past, including the premiere of L.A. Noire in 2011. Jane Rosenthal, the festival’s co-founder, told me that she’s had a long interest in games (she even produced one in the ’90s), and she said she’s been particularly excited to see video game storytelling evolve beyond,, say, simulating sports and shooting things.
“For us at Tribeca, you can have all this great technology, but if you can’t tell a story with it, then what good is it?,” Rosenthal said. She also noted that the festival has been expanding beyond films by including television: “The screens are all blurring. At the end of the day, good storytelling is good storytelling, no matter where it’s coming from.”
Tickets for the games festival go on sale today. Rosenthal said this could become an annual event and perhaps even spin off into a completely separate festival — though that will depend on audience response.