As a long-suffering New York Knicks fan, Spike Lee seems to want to direct things from the sidelines. Now he gets his chance, sort of: The filmmaker will write and direct his first video game with the next edition of 2K Games' basketball franchise, "NBA 2K16."
Lee is not the first big-time cultural figure 2K Games has tapped to amp up the franchise: "NBA 2K13" featured a soundtrack created by Jay Z. But this is the first video game that can claim it's a "Spike Lee joint."
Lee, director of "She's Gotta Have It," "Do the Right Thing," "Malcolm X" and many other films, has already shot 90 minutes of "cinematic narrative" over 12 days with motion-capture equipment on 2K Games' sound stage in the San Francisco Bay Area, 2K spokesman Ryan Peters told USA Today. That translates into about 12 hours of game play.
Lee is writing and directing a single-player campaign within the game that follows the life and times of star player Frequency Vibrations. "It's about the trials and tribulations of life on a big stage with the money, fame, temptations, family members, the press, fans, all that stuff," Lee told the AP.
While Lee is a huge basketball fan and student of the game, he admits he's not a gamer. "My son's taught me a bit, but I'm a dinosaur," the 56-year-old director told USA Today.
Lee narrates the trailer for the game, released Thursday night. "It's not just a court, it's an epicenter, where plots unfold and the drama writes itself."
â€” Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) June 5, 2015
The latest edition of the 15-year-old franchise, "NBA 2K15," has sold 5.5 million units since it was released in October. The next edition is scheduled to be released in September by 2K Games, a unit of Take-Two Interactive. It will have three different covers, with the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry, Houston Rockets' James Harden and New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis.
Video game directing is clearly a side gig for Lee, who is currently at work on a film about gun violence in Chicago, "Chiraq," which will be released in 2016.