Time For Great Games Based on Films

lunes, 14 de noviembre de 2011 , Posted by admin at 22:31

It's Time For Great Games Based on Films

Should publishers to move away from boxed product and embrace the download scene?

It's a running joke that games based on films suck. Not a very funny one, granted, but a joke nonetheless. Most gamers can probably count the number of great games based on a movie license on one, or at a stretch, two hands. There are plenty of well-trod reasons for this, of course. Movie licenses cost money, so there's a decent-sized expenditure before the first line of code is even written, while deadlines are often tight - games based on films by their nature need to hit stores when the film hits cinemas.

Developers are also hamstrung by the restrictions of the source material, not to mention the fact that their work is based on something that's incomplete. Last but not least, for publishers there's a trade-off between quality, cost and sales. Sure, sales may go up as quality does, but if cost goes up faster, well, you're better off having an average game that sells well and is profitable. Gaming, after all, is a business.

The industry, however, is changing rapidly. Recent years have seen downloadable gaming become a force to be reckoned with. Xbox Live Arcade, the PSN Store, Steam and smartphones all offer some amazing, innovative games for a fraction of the cost of full-priced titles. Could publishers embrace this shift and re-think their approach to licensed games? Think about a title like last year's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game – it was a download-only title, and was the perfect fit for the film. A full-priced action game might have outstayed its welcome, but a retro, bite-sized beat 'em up? Right on.

Of course, it's not that simple a topic.

Why Licensed Games Suck

In a perfect world all games would be equally awesome… and free… and come with a case of beer. The reality is that in spite of any potential artistic merit, games are fundamentally a product made for profit. From the publisher's point of view, licensed games are a great way to tap into an existing fan base.

Even at their best, movie tie-in games usually fall for the same traps: repetitive gameplay, uninspired art direction and less than impressive graphical prowess. You need only to look at two of this year's crop - Captain America: Super Soldier and Thor: God of Thunder for proof of this. These games managed to make being Thor and Captain-freaking-America boring. These characters, and their fans, deserve better.

Never carry your hammer above your head in a thunderstorm, dude.

As stated earlier, there are plenty of well-documented reasons these games fail - less time, lower budgets and strict rules surrounding the license can all impact on a game's quality. That's not good enough any longer, however. Gamers (rightfully) expect a certain amount of content and scope from full-priced games, not to mention polish, presentation and all-round awesomeness. By sticking to the full-priced, disc-based game model it appears the limited budget and development time allotted to movie tie-in games is spread too thin.

If you think about the full-priced licensed games that do succeed, they're generally independent of a specific film or release. Just look at Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City – they're based on a license, but entirely new stories and interpretations. Further back, titles like Riddick, The Warriors and Ghostbusters took a similar approach. (Want to see more classic film properties made into games? So do we.)

Viewed cynically, movie tie-in games are a con. Publishers exploit the goodwill and excitement fans have for their favourite characters by releasing substandard games and asking full – or close to full - price for them.

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