Monday, April 12, 2010

Really? They haven't done this yet?

I was somewhat amused by this assertion when I read it the other day:

If you don't follow the link, it's a tirade about how some industry analyst thinks that the video game industry is missing out on millions of dollars because there isn't a 'Twilight' video game.

This theory is either brilliant, or know to be untrue by the author and just put forth to drive comments to his website. I'm probably making it worse by using his link here.

His logic: It's a movie, it's making a ton of money right now, there needs to be a game of it so those people plus part of the video game industry can make more money.

My logic: If Avatar, the #4 most expensive move of all time (as of this writing) can't even get a game with 70 out of 100 on Metacritic what hope does Twilight have? Wouldn't a mediocre - to - crappy game do what it always does, dilute the brand and create the feeling that it's a quick and dirty cash-in instead of lovingly crafted fan service?

Looking back at the more successful movie-to-game conversions, it would seem that the movie has to have some sort of plot line that works well with an established game genre. Goldeneye (The Nintendo 64 one, Metacritic score of 96) lent itself easily to the first person shooter genre, and Peter Jackson's King Kong (Metacritic score of 77-82 on consoles, worse on handhelds) was easily crafted into an action/adventure game. It would be great to create a new game genre that works with the film's plot, but it's difficult enough to make a game that draws outside the lines of convention without the additional pressure of trying to release it at the same time as the film.

So now it comes down to - what sort of movies are the 'Twilight' films and where does that place a game to go with it? Twilight is essentially a teenage romance with supernatural content. Romance games don't seem to sell here - Japanese developers do make 'dating sims' but for some reason or another they're not in the American market. The "Twilight" audience skews heavily female, but the only games with market-tested sell through to girls and young women in America that I'm aware of are "The Sims" games. Also, many good games have a substantial number of female players. The Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises, Nintendo's "Zelda" and "Mario" games, the better role-playing games including "World of Warcraft" and "Everquest", and even some first person shooters have substantial contingents of female players. On the flip side, most games marketed specifically to girls are not much better than the crop of shovelware movie license games - made just because someone feels the have a niche to fill, and not so concerned with just making a good game that people want to play. The pessimistic side of me thinks that what would really end up being made out of "Twilight" would be some sort of plot-driven fetch quest game like the game they made for Spiderwick (Metacritic scores of 59-64).

If someone does make a Twilight game, I hope they have the courage to make something that gives people the same sense of place that the books and the movies do. I hope that they have enough sense to build to a budget, but not to a deadline. What I really hope is that they not do it unless they have an actual, workable idea at the core of it.


SuperMonkeyCube said...

And it turns out there is one - it's just that it's a 'Scene It' game. Not really a game, just movie trivia.

Stacy said...

Games based on movies haven't exactly been best sellers as far as I'm aware. The closest may be a few star wars games if they could count as best sellers. But Twilight is not Star Wars. But the difference is the type of Twilight fans there are. I used to think I was the only girl on my WOW server, but as it turns out - I'm not. And the only type of females my age that actually enjoy twilight are the game playing type. And the console kind. Almost every single female I know owns that seen it game. Sad but true. Its phenomenal but almost every female I know loves twilight and will hold a grudge if they find out I'm team jacob. Midnight showings and endless afternoon lunches have been dedicated to the series. So, in theory, if a game could have been geared in a oh-i'm-not-a-nerd-just-the-ultimate-twilight-fan in just the right manner on the must have console for females, the wii, then i'd imagine it would be very profitable. But more than likely it'd be no different than another book series loved by most of those same females, harry potter. And it would probably be a flop.
And I'm posting this from my Droid, which further proclaims my admiration for all things nerdly as well as my lack of spell check.