Wreck-It Ralph director Rich Moore says that lessons he learned about humanizing characters from The Simpsons and Futurama really set him up for this movie. Treating animated characters as real was always stressed for those shows.
“What we were making wasn’t a cartoon show, it was a sitcom about real people, that happened to be animated. [That idea] directly translates even into a Disney movie,” says Moore. “What we’re trying to do is tell stories about characters that we care about, in a world we believe in.”
John Lasseter wanted Moore to develop an original video game idea for a movie. “So I really fell in love with this notion of doing a story set in that world, the scope and scale and big spectacle of video games, and having a story about a simple man and an existential crisis — wondering is this all there is in life,” says Moore. “That’s what gave the movie its heart. It wasn’t about two warring factions within video games [like some of the previous pitches]. It had the action within games, but also a profound situation that our character is struggling with in his mind."
While Wreck-It Ralph is an homage to games of yesteryear, it's possible now because of how video games have embedded themselves in our popular culture. Moore said, “I think even 10 years ago, it might have been hard to make this movie, or even five years ago.”