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 There are two distinct experiences offered in The Movies, the latest game from Peter Molyneux's Lionhead Studios. The bulk of The Movies centers around a familiar business-management "tycoon" experience, where you play master and commander of your very own Hollywood movie studio, hiring and firing staff, building facilities, and, of course, producing and releasing movies. You can choose to either let your studio machine determine the content of your films, or you can go hands-on with the game's built-in moviemaking tools, which peg a good balance between accessibility and flexibility. Both parts of The Movies can be engrossing and time-consuming, but they feel more like parallel products rather than an integrated whole

 Kicking things off in 1920, The Movies starts you as the chief of a small upstart movie studio, putting the challenge before you to slowly cultivate it into a top-grossing, award-winning cinematic machine staffed with the best and the brightest talent--both onscreen and off--the industry has to offer. Well, as less of a challenge and more of a suggestion, the free-form (or so-called "sandbox") nature of The Movies means you can go about your business however you see fit, without a "wrong" or a "right" way. The game starts out extremely slowly by carefully guiding you through the process of hiring studio staff (like janitors and builders), helping you decide which cinematic hopefuls will be actors and directors (and which ones will be extras or film crew), building your first set, and releasing your first movie. This handholding remains pretty intensive for your first few decades as a movie mogul--and that's a good thing, because there's a lot to digest.

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