Posted by Raven10 (1845 posts) -

People here often complain about waiting a long time for a game to get released. After all, seven years is a long time to wait for Final Fantasy Versus 13 or The Last Guardian. Versus was announced before the PS3 launched while The Last Guardian was announced shortly after. Both games have been in development since 2005. Of course the wait for Duke Nukem Forever was even longer - nearly 15 years. The result of all that work - not a lot. At least the game was eventually released, which may be more than either Versus or The Last Guardian can say. Of course while 15 years may seem like a long time, the record for longest in development movie is double that - 31 years for The Thief and the Cobbler. That animated movie was eventually taken by debtors away from its creator and completely ruined in an attempt to make it appeal to family audiences. The director, who worked on the film from 1964 to 1992, never worked in the film industry again, and the rest of us lost a chance to see what many who had seen it called the greatest animated film of all time. 31 years seems like a hell of a long time, and it has been for The Overcoat, a film that began production in 1981 and is still in production today. The film began its life as one of many animated films that were made in the Soviet Union at the Soyuzmultfilm. Because its films never had to make a profit, and were financed entirely by the Soviet government, the artists were allowed to make whatever they wished with an unlimited budget and no oversight from businessmen. The result was some of the greatest animated films in history, almost none of which are known to Americans. The Overcoat was directed by Yuriy Norshteyn, whose previous film, Tale of Tales, has numerous times been voted the best animated film of all time by animators from all around the world. Suffice to say that anticipation over his next project was huge. But as the Soviet Union neared collapse, his production house was shutdown. He continued work, animating every frame of the proposed 60 minute film himself. Now in 2012, 31 years later, he has only 30 minutes of the film complete. Born in 1941, it is predicted that Yuriy Norshteyn will likely die before he completes the film. His fans of course still wait patiently for the day when they will see the next great film from the greatest of Russian animators. In just a couple weeks, when the year turns over to 2013, The Overcoat will have been in production for 32 years, breaking the record set by Thief and the Cobbler.

So before you go complaining that 7 years is a long time, think about waiting over 4x that long for something that in the end may never be released. That is the fate for Soviet animation fans. For many of us, we were not even born when The Overcoat began production. To put it in perspective, the NES was released in 1985. The video game crash that ended Atari occurred in 1983. When this film started development, the big games were things like Pac Man and Space Invaders. Imagine a game being announced then and still be in production today. Pretty crazy, right?

#1 Posted by Raven10 (1845 posts) -

People here often complain about waiting a long time for a game to get released. After all, seven years is a long time to wait for Final Fantasy Versus 13 or The Last Guardian. Versus was announced before the PS3 launched while The Last Guardian was announced shortly after. Both games have been in development since 2005. Of course the wait for Duke Nukem Forever was even longer - nearly 15 years. The result of all that work - not a lot. At least the game was eventually released, which may be more than either Versus or The Last Guardian can say. Of course while 15 years may seem like a long time, the record for longest in development movie is double that - 31 years for The Thief and the Cobbler. That animated movie was eventually taken by debtors away from its creator and completely ruined in an attempt to make it appeal to family audiences. The director, who worked on the film from 1964 to 1992, never worked in the film industry again, and the rest of us lost a chance to see what many who had seen it called the greatest animated film of all time. 31 years seems like a hell of a long time, and it has been for The Overcoat, a film that began production in 1981 and is still in production today. The film began its life as one of many animated films that were made in the Soviet Union at the Soyuzmultfilm. Because its films never had to make a profit, and were financed entirely by the Soviet government, the artists were allowed to make whatever they wished with an unlimited budget and no oversight from businessmen. The result was some of the greatest animated films in history, almost none of which are known to Americans. The Overcoat was directed by Yuriy Norshteyn, whose previous film, Tale of Tales, has numerous times been voted the best animated film of all time by animators from all around the world. Suffice to say that anticipation over his next project was huge. But as the Soviet Union neared collapse, his production house was shutdown. He continued work, animating every frame of the proposed 60 minute film himself. Now in 2012, 31 years later, he has only 30 minutes of the film complete. Born in 1941, it is predicted that Yuriy Norshteyn will likely die before he completes the film. His fans of course still wait patiently for the day when they will see the next great film from the greatest of Russian animators. In just a couple weeks, when the year turns over to 2013, The Overcoat will have been in production for 32 years, breaking the record set by Thief and the Cobbler.

So before you go complaining that 7 years is a long time, think about waiting over 4x that long for something that in the end may never be released. That is the fate for Soviet animation fans. For many of us, we were not even born when The Overcoat began production. To put it in perspective, the NES was released in 1985. The video game crash that ended Atari occurred in 1983. When this film started development, the big games were things like Pac Man and Space Invaders. Imagine a game being announced then and still be in production today. Pretty crazy, right?

#2 Posted by believer258 (11979 posts) -

I'll make a joke about a game that's long been in development, but I stop worrying about it when there's no sign of it being worked on and no one says anything about it. There are way too many good games coming out every year for me to cling to the hope that someone, somewhere, will say something about a sequel to a game that I haven't beaten in four years.

On topic, though, is the animated film in question related to Gogol's Overcoat?

#3 Posted by Raven10 (1845 posts) -

@believer258: Yes, it is an adaptation of that story. And Valve is known for taking its time. I'm sure the end result will be worth it.

#4 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

Crazy Russian. Working on a project alone for 22 years. They should make an actual feature film based on the production of that film.

#5 Posted by oraknabo (1500 posts) -

The funniest thing is how short that story is. It's no War & Peace.

To add literature to this, there are probably even longer examples, but James Joyce spent 17 years writing Finnegans Wake and William Gass took something like 26 years to write The Tunnel. I guess you could say the Christian Bible took about 925 years if you consider Genisis probably comes from the Babylonian exile in 600 BC and the Council of Nicea put the full thing together in 325 AD.

On Richard Williams--who I am a huge fan of--I don't think he's ever going tho finish the Thief & The Cobbler. I'm just glad I got to see the "recobbled" version and wasn't stuck with the crappy one they have on Netflix right now.

#6 Posted by Raven10 (1845 posts) -

@oraknabo: I don't think he will ever finish it either. The Recobbled version is probably the best anyone will ever see. A new edition of it is supposed to come out next year with additional footage they've found. I can't imagine losing so much work. I don't know how he ever got over it. Maybe he never did.