Video game marketing has come a long way in recent years, with cheap TV commercials giving way to expensive, intricate live action short films that have the feel of a huge Hollywood blockbuster, lending credibility to the industry and its products.

The most recent example of this is writer, director and actor Peter Berg, best known as director of the Will Smith blockbuster Hancock and television’s critically-acclaimed Friday Night Lights. Before tackling the hotly-anticipated Hancock 2, Mr. Berg took to the camera to film the commercial for 2K Sports baseball game, The Bigs 2, which we’ve embedded below for your viewing pleasure.

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The commercial features Milwaukee Brewers MLB All-Star Prince Fielder going up against a hapless Chicago Cubs catcher, both players additionally symbolized by speeding locomotives that head for an inevitably explosive conclusion. Mr. Berg recently sat down with GameDaily contributing editor John Gaudiosi to discuss how the Hollywood and video games relationship has grown in recent years to include marketing efforts such as the one on display in The Bigs 2 commercial. The opportunity to discuss video games and marketing with a big name Hollywood director is a rare one, so we are proud to eavesdrop in on their insightful conversation as Mr. Berg discusses his video gaming background, thoughts on the making of The Bigs 2 commercial, and how he sees the movies and games relationship as another marketing tool to be used in engaging audiences.

Do you have any memories of playing video games growing up?

I was the Asteroids and Deluxe Asteroids champion of Macalester College, 1982. A proud moment for my parents. They sent me to a fairly expensive liberal arts college, and I was the Deluxe Asteroids master.

Did you stick with video games after the arcades?

Yes. I developed an addiction to Tomb Raider about eight years ago. I write, and I had made a deal with myself that I would write for two hours and play fifteen minutes of Tomb Raider. By the end, it was 10 hours of Tomb Raider and about a minute of writing. I realized I had developed a problem, so I quit Tomb Raider.

How long did that last?

I was pretty good until someone turned me on to Splinter Cell, and I had a relapse right back into the throes of my addiction with Sam Fisher, the star of Splinter Cell. It was about nine hours or so of straight Splinter Cell. I had also gotten to know some of the folks at Ubisoft that made Splinter Cell, so I would call some of the designers at crazy hours when I couldn’t figure something out, demanding answers. Then I realized I had another problem. So now, I’m off, again.

Did you try out 2K Sports’ The Bigs 2 here on set?

They were trying to get me to play the baseball game again, today, and I was trying to be cool about it, like, “Nah, I’ve got to work,” but I was just trying to avoid a relapse.

What are your thoughts about what they can do today with video games like The Bigs 2?

This is an awesome game. The whole idea of building and creating your own player, creating his physical look and his tattoos and his style of play, and then watching him come up through this Mexican farm league that they’ve invented, and then the graphics and the texture and the soul of it, it’s all so interesting. As someone that works in the film business, it continues to amaze me that people still want to go see movies. It’s such a comprehensive entertainment package.

Did your background in video games have any impact on you deciding to get involved with this commercial?

No, I just thought that the creative was really good. It was an interesting challenge, and I liked the energy of it. For me, it’s an educational experience. Any time you get to play around with effects like this, put a pro baseball player on top of a moving train and smash ’em together, you learn things that hopefully I can use in film one day. It helps me to educate myself from a technological standpoint.

And what was it like working with MLB All-Star Prince Fielder on this?

Oh, easy. He’s a real nice guy and wanted to do a good job. It was very quick and painless.

What are your thoughts on the convergences going on between games and Hollywood?

It’s still a shaky marriage that’s never paid off. We were talking earlier today, that Tomb Raider remains the most successful collaboration between Hollywood and the world of video games. That was a modest success. Splinter Cell never happened for a variety of reasons. Halo, which probably would have been the biggest hit, hasn’t been able to make a deal, and Grand Theft Auto, which would be a huge hit, they won’t make a deal. They want to protect the brand. So far, it really has not proven to be a hugely financial gold mine for anybody. I think that it’d be cool if the two worlds could operate independently of each other.

Do you think that the generation of Hollywood creatives who grew up playing games will lean towards convergence at some point?

I don’t know. Right now, Hollywood is all about superheroes and comic books and fantasy stories, and taking those brands and trying to convert them. We have yet to see a monster video game captured by film put up the same kind of numbers as Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. It just hasn’t happened, and I’m not quite sure why. I would imagine one day it will. I think if Grand Theft Auto or Halo decided to sell out and go big, you’d see those kinds of numbers.

What are your thoughts of the other side of convergence when a movie is turned into a video game?

Same thing. It’s a nice marketing tool. The studios hide those numbers from us, so that if they are huge numbers, they don’t want the filmmakers or actors’ unions knowing about it because we’ll just fight for pieces of it. I haven’t heard of a video game based on a movie that really broke the bank.

Neither have we. Thanks for your time.

Thank you to GameDaily for giving us an inside look at how video game marketing is looked at by one of today s hottest directors.