Special-effects house aims to make video games more cinematic

A budget of about $25 million may not be much for director Michael Bay, maker of such mega-budget movies as "Armageddon" and "Pearl Harbor."

But it's enough to get him launched on a new passion: creating a video game that matches the quality of a feature film.

Bay's first-person shooter game is part of a larger strategy to transform Digital Domain Inc., where he is now co-chairman, from one of Hollywood's elite special-effects houses into a full-blown production studio, capitalizing on the convergence between games and feature films.

That was a key inducement for Bay in leading a Florida-based investment group, Wyndcrest Holdings, last May in its $35-million purchase of the Venice company.

"I make world-class images," Bay said. "Why not put those images into a game?"

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