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Tuesday, July 13, 2004


Eric Lulie

Scott, why do you think most superhero games end up being mostly fighting games?

Scott Miller

Eric, until only very recently in our industry, most superhero games were fighting oriented, like the Batman games, Aquaman, Superman, X-Men, and so on.

Tommi Hartikainen

I do disagree to a certain extent. I don't have much time to actually explain my self, apologies for that, but you could make a good game out of most adventure, fantasy and even regular action movies. A brief explanation follows. Outcast, released for the PC in '99, could've been a movie licence game (Stargate anyone?). If you create an working expansive world to explore, with decent enough gameplay and story - in my extremely humble opinion, any movie based game could be a great success.


perhaps good games could be made from any sort of movie license, but the time, money, and effort from the publisher and even the licensor is not there. Often it is "We want you to take X gameplay and apply it to our license Y." Given enough time and talent, I'm sure some good gameplay could be found in just about any license but the realities of the current business model don't allow that. The game has to be out by the movie release and so the schedule works backward from there.

Evan Erwin

I think the simpleness of creating a fighting game, along with time constraints, is why Hollywood embraces and encourages this behavior.

That Batman idea is the best I've ever heard, period. But WB would never fund it, because Batman Begins is opening in June, and there is no time to take the Splinter Cell engine and modifying it a Batman world. If you did it would simply come off as an ugly hack/mod, and players would be asking "Where are the villians? Why does he have henchman just standing around these places? Why can't I drive the batmobile? Or fly the Batwing?"

Over and over these questions are asked and they simply don't want to put the time/effort into creating good games. Its easy money to put a fighting game with lame voice work and simplistic gameplay. It's tougher to create worlds than to build a character model and insert it in a set gameplay model/engine so it will launch on opening day.

Tommi Hartikainen

And will that Batman pure action game flop or sell big?

One great example of an licence used well is the new Transformers PS2 game. Even though not actually a movie licence, it's close enough I think.


I was wondering how you declare the succes and superb gameplay of The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from the Butcher's Bay. It doesn't obviously apply to the factors a movie-license needs to be succesfull as a game, but it succeeded.

IMHO, Biggest difference were the high production values and the role Vin Diesel took in the development. It wasn't just a cheap tie-in but had to be something special and unique from the beginning. I think that's what makes the difference here, and that the factors like special abilities from the main character, just help to achieve this goal easier.

Gabby Dizon


Good point about Batman not being expolited well about the game industry. How he fights is only half of what makes him interesting; it's his character - his supreme intellect, his mortality, and his dark view on the world that makes Batman so lovable as a character.

What Max Payne did well was fuse a gameplay hook (slow-mo fighting) into a storytelling medium (film noir). While the gameplay itself followed no discernible story, the cutscenes were always there to give more meaning to all the killing you were doing.

I think this is what a Batman game needs - of course it will have fighting (stealth fighting with tons of gadgets, is a good idea, though Batman can definitely go Geronimo in some instances), but it won't work unless they tap into Batman the character.


You know, I did have this long winded post that I was going to put up. Then I realised the key factor in why the IP holders and publishers keep putting out these crap games...

...is for the lowest common denominators of that particular fanbase.

Take the Star Trek shooters, I've tried them, absolutely despise them. Why? Last time I checked, only comedians (amateur and professional alike) refer to Star Trek as "We come in peace! Shoot to kill!!!". Add to this that I played the Star Trek point 'n click adventures of old...which funnily enough kept the spirit of the series.

But that kind of game requires brains, which is one of the major reasons (imho) why we've seen a decline in great and entertaining games in any game category. So we've had sparks, Broken Sword 3 (brains to figure the puzzles and understand the story), Max Payne 2 (strong, very adult oriented story which requires -OMGWTFHAX!!1one!!oneone-thinking). But thats all they are, sparks of goodness as opposed to the huge wave of trash that we all need to wade through.

As it is, lets look to the late 80s, early 90s. It was easy to make a movie/tv show tie-in. Make a platformer! Whilst some of these were entertaining and deserved the 60-70% scores, for the most part they were empty experiences.

Sigh, I've argued about this too many times now. Besides, I've got work to do if I'm going to send in anything to 3D *OOPS! Nearly gave away my master plan!!!*




Oh and in addition, I walked into my local GAME (think Electronics Boutique) store yesterday. Nothing in there caught my eye.

I already have Max Payne 1, no adventures worth picking up, none of the Lucasarts re-releases, multitude of racing games with some driver's name attached, bad TV show and movie tie-ins...BLEH!

I walked out when I heard one of the employees behind me ask the manager "Why has he *points to me when I can see her pointing in the shelving unit's mirror* not bought anything yet?" "He just comes in here, walks around and then walks out. Besides, he likes Duke Nukem so what-"

I didn't catch the rest. I had already walked out. I walked to a superstore nearby and bought Max Payne 2 for £14.97 (£5.02 cheaper). Completed it just about an hour or so ago (only had bought it two days ago). It's one of the few games that if I screamed "GERONIMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" Max would probably be seriously hurt or dead.




Hmm I would rather say that the main reason that movie licences are crap is because the games are crap, not because they do not translate well from the film (ie. compare the two different Spiderman 2 games).
If I was hollywood I would use my cash to buy the rights to use another quality game and then graft on the elements from the film. ie. use the splinter cell engine to make a batman game, or a bond game for that matter.
Or for that matter make an engine that has sneaking, car driving, and shooting, and you would prolly have the base elements to translate just about any Bruckheimer film, just make the settings and the characters the differentiator, rather than the gameplay.


Scott - "Hollywood's greatest stories cannot make a great game, such as Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Titanic..."

Oh, I don't know. I'm not sure I'd class it as one of Hollywood's greatest stories, but Titanic could make a great basis for a survival adventure game (a la that Japanese earthquake game I can never remember the title of), with the player trying to make it from steerage to a lifeboat before the ship goes down. Unique selling points? A truly dynamic environment (the ship's tilting and flooding as it goes down), a play against the clock mode (where you only have the time it took the ship to sink in real life, from the decision to abandon ship to the boat snapping in half and going under), and/or non-linear gameplay (recreate the entire ship from bow to stern and give the player multiple ways of getting out). Just think of it as Ico on a boat, with Kate Winslet subbing for Princess whatsherface. Could be interesting. :)

Blake Grant

"I was wondering how you declare the succes and superb gameplay of The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from the Butcher's Bay. It doesn't obviously apply to the factors a movie-license needs to be succesfull as a game, but it succeeded."

Actually, it does fit his criteria.
1) "Focus on movie sequels, because then people are lined up to buy the game almost regardless of quality" - The movie was a sequel, albeit to a fairly unknown movie.
2) "There needs to be a built-in hook that hasn't been seen in the game world" - Riddick does have a unique ability which is (somewhat) exploited: His eye shine
3) "You need a very compleling character that people look up to" - Riddick is pretty damn cool despite the fact that the movies weren't great.
4) "The richer and broader the world that needs to be explored, the better" - If you've seen the Chronicles of Riddick movie you'll notice that there seems to be alot of depth to the universe that hasn't been explained. Whether it ever will be is another question, but the potential is there. The game helped flesh some of that out, as did the tie-in animated movie.

In addition to all that, the game was very well made, fun to play, and in terms of quality far exceeded the movie in my opinion. It also helps that the plot gave more back-info on Riddick rather than trying to duplicate the plot of the movie.

Scott Miller

Good stuff, Blake. I haven't played the game, though I've heard it's good.

Greg Findlay

I think the biggest pitfall a movie made to game has going for it is that it's trying to fit gameplay around a story. Comparitively, alot of the really great games are built with great gameplay in mind and building a story around the gameplay. In other words the story supports the gameplay, it isn't it's crutch. This is pretty much just a rehash of what Scott said though.

Mark Ventura

"Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Titanic, Godfather, The Unforgiven, Kramer Verses Kramer, Citizen Kane, Jaws, To Kill a Mockingbird, Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia, Schindler's List, It's a Wonderful Life, and E.T."

First, you purposefully chose movies that you don't think could become a good game. What about The Godfather, The Matrix, Chinatown, LA Confidential, etc. ?

Second, I think you're wrong. I could see games made of Citizen Kane, Jaws, and The Unforgiven.

"win in the game industry you need to innovate in either tech, design (gameplay) or art, otherwise, you're a copycat and a sure failure."

So what you're saying is that all hit games are innovative?

Scott Miller

-- "So what you're saying is that all hit games are innovative?"

Yes. And no.

But more yes than no.

In fact, mostly yes.

The exceptions are games, like Enter the Matrix, that ride the coattails of a bigger wave, a wave they had no part in causing.

If you look at practically any hit game, you'll see a significant innovation or you’ll see that it did something original. Successful games are rarely copycats, and they almost always excel in a new way not seen before in the game industry.

Mark Ventura

Maybe you have a more lax definition of 'innovative' than me.

For example, I don't consider Halo and Warcraft III to be innovative, yet they're both huge hits.


How does Max Payne really differ from a bog-standard Hollywood action film?

Brad Renfro

Is it about Hollywood coming in and selling 8 million copies of their licensed game or is it about Hollywood creating some reliable extra revenue to garnish their toy and t-shirt merchandising sales? Is it that movies and games are so fundamentally incompatible that no one can bridge the gap? I mean, talk to gamers and many will say they play games for their story or theme, right? The Matrix game rode a wave of story and actors, not a wave of gameplay, right?

Of the 50 movies which make up the top ten grossing movies of the last five years, here are a few licenses which could excite gamers: LOTR trilogy, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc, Pirates of the Caribbean, Matrix trilogy, X-Men 1/2, Terminator 3, Spiderman, Star Wars 1/2, Harry Potter 1/2/3, Men in Black 2, Mission Impossible 2, Gladiator, Toy Story 2, Austin Powers 1/2/3, The Mummy 1/2, Blair Witch Project, Tarzan, the Sixth Sense.

It's also asking a question to biased people. Game developers would obviously want Hollywood to stay away, if for the one reason that they don't want their IP to compete with Hollywood IP.

Greg Findlay

Brad, of all of the movies you listed only two don't have games made based off of the movie IP, Blair Witch, and Sixth Sense. Of the ones on your list that did well, all of them follow Scott's rules.

Sixth Sense could have a gameplay hook if you were to say, play as the child who see's dead people and go around helping out lost souls, all the while trying to figure out why he has these abilities (or some other major story line), that could make an interesting game. I don't think a game that followed the story line of the movie would be fun though, there just isn't any substance to it gameplay wise.

Innovation isn't just coming up with new ideas, it's also using old ideas in new ways or expanding on old ideas.

Halo was innovative because it made FPS gaming on a console fun and it was the control system that made it fun.

WarCraft III was innovative in so many tiny ways people didn't even notice. WarCraft also has it's own unique art style, which you can't get anywhere else, and this was the first time it was seen in 3D. That's not so innovative but it does offer something unique and really that's the whole point of being innovative.


Greg - "only two don't have games made based off of the movie IP, Blair Witch, and Sixth Sense"

The Blair Witch spawned a trilogy of prequel games, developed using the Nocturne engine by various members of the Gathering of Developers.

Greg - "Halo was innovative because it made FPS gaming on a console fun and it was the control system that made it fun"

There were plenty of good console shooters before Halo, some of which had decent control systems. I'm not sure you could call Halo "innovative" on either count. All it did was take lots of ideas from other games and combine them into one glorious whole. Well, apart from that awful bit in the middle, anyway. ;)

Scott Miller

Halo is a lot like Duke Nuke 3D, in that it did a lot of little things first, and really well. Plus, Halo was the first good shooter on the Xbox, which is another significant way to be first -- be first for a given market. Similarly, Dell's only innovation was that it was the first significant company to focus on selling PCs over the Net. And Vlasic was the first pickle brand to focus selling their product in the refrigerated area. Domino's didn't have better pizza, but they were the first to focus on delivery. So, it's not just the product that has to be innovated, it can be marketing, distribution, customer base, and other factors.

This is the case with Max Payne. We'd all seen John Woo-style action and bullet-time in movie theaters, but Max was the first to bring these two styles to the game industry.

Prior to Duke, we'd all seen beef-headed ego-drenched action stars in movies, but we'd never seen one brought so richly to life in the game industry until Duke appeared. Duke had many other firsts for the FPS genre, too, such as real world locations (in LA), an all-new level of environmental interactivity, linked level design (well before Half-Life), the most advanced 3D engine FPS engine for its time (first with slopes and first with adjustable resolutions), highly creative weapons, a sense of humor, and several more firsts. None of these on their own might have made Duke a success, but all together they were greater than their sum.

Halo had several small firsts that added up, too. But I'll let others pick these out. But my point is that you don't always need a huge and obvious hook like bullet-time to win the day.

Brad Renfro

"Brad, of all of the movies you listed only two don't have games made based off of the movie IP, Blair Witch, and Sixth Sense. Of the ones on your list that did well, all of them follow Scott's rules."
Well, yeah...that's why I mentioned them. That list made up 30 of the 50 top grossing movies of the past five years. You could argue that most of them follow the mentioned "rules." So given this, why should Hollywood stay away?

Side note: EA, the license powerhouse, is making a Godfather game.

Mark Ventura

"So, it's not just the product that has to be innovated, it can be marketing, distribution, customer base, and other factors."

That wasn't what you originally said. I don't consider those things to be part of the game; I wouldn't call Halo innovative because it's a standard FPS, but on the xbox.

I think people overvalue innovation. Many game designers don't even have a good grasp on the basics.

Gabby Dizon


You could call Halo innovative, but not revolutionary. It's by no means a standard FPS; even on the PC it stood out as a great shooter (framerate problems aside). The AI, use of weapons, integration of vehicles, and seamless levels all led to it being an innovative product.

As for a revolution in the FPS genre, I think the original Half-Life was the last revolutionary product. We'll see soon which the next one is (if there are any).

Mark Ventura


I found it to be a mediocre shooter on the PC. I'm not sure what you mean by "use of weapons," but the AI, while good, didn't seem terribly innovative, and as Scott pointed out above, Duke3D had seamless levels in 1995. The use vehicles was newish, but I'm not sure I would call it integral, except for maybe two parts.

We've gotten way off my point, though. I don't think innovation is necessary, though it is certainly welcome. Other things being equal, as long as you produce a solid, polished, well-designed game, I think people are happy.

However, if by "innovation" we mean, "sprinkle in some cool, uncommon stuff," then I would agree--that certainly helps a game. But calling it innovation is an overstatement.

Gabby Dizon

I understand your point, and though we may be coming from different standpoints I respect your opinion on Halo.

About the use of weapons - Halo is (I think) the first FPS (though I may be wrong here - they might have just popularized it) to limit the player to two weapons at a time, making your choice of weapons very strategic and also helps in the thrill of having to shoot it out when you're running out of ammo. Now more and more shooters are adopting its style.


Personally that weapon limitation annoyed me. You've no real way of knowing which two weapons you're going to need in advance, so a lot of the time it doesn't make your choice of weapons very strategic, it makes it completely random. And if you have the wrong weapon, some bits are much harder than they should be, unless there happens to be one lying around or you waste a lot of time backtracking all the way to the point where you dropped the weapon you now need.

For example, I didn't expect to need a sniper weapon going into the tunnels under the surface, but then at one point you end up in a huge chamber with a chasm in the middle where a sniper rifle would have been extremely useful. How could I have known this was coming without reading a walkthrough?

Limiting you to two weapons just means that half the time you're not going to have the weapon you really need and you'll have to muddle through as best you can without. That doesn't add anything to the strategy of the game IMO.

Brad Renfro

Here's my part in derailing the thread :). Halo did a lot of things that people forget but are nice to have around. There weren't any genre-splitting core mechanics or game-encompassing gimmicks which people sometimes mistakenly label as the only true innovation.

Good controls involve basing your entire game design around the controls. If it was just a matter of picking a control scheme, every console FPS would have great controls. The weapons cater to the less precise analog sticks by either having zoom, homing projectiles, or a wide spread and high rate of fire. The jump has very low gravity to allow time for mid-air combat. The levels are built around avoiding harsh Z-axis combat. Enemies did their part not to wildly move around, especially at long range combat. The two-weapon idea removes the need for multiple buttons for changing weapons.

Some other smaller things: The instant grenade chuck and a viable instant melee attack added depth to combat. The armor regen helped the game flow better for casual players. It was the first to successfully rip off Starship Troopers. Subtle gameplay mechanics were added by having shields on the Covenant that were weak to plasma guns. The "Hold X to pickup this weapon" control scheme works out really well. The longer you turned, the faster your turn rate. The in-world ammo count display on the assault rifle was neat and useful.

Note for the two weapon thing: the idea is that you should be smart about covering possible bases i.e. don't go Needler+Plasma pistol. The game practically dictated that you should probably keep your bread-and-butter assault rifle. They gave you ammo for it often and it is a viable weapon in most situations. Before you picked up that shiny sniper rifle, you should have made sure you were okay with close range combat.

benjamin graner

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Alice.

Greg Findlay

I think Gabby made a great point by distinguishing innovation and revolution. I think in order to make a great game you need innovation but not revolution. Games do well without the extra polish. I like Bioware but they can't claim their games have that extra polish and they have some very good games that do very well.

Mark, if you never played Halo until the PC version I can understand why you didn't think it very innovative. For me, the best part about Halo was that it played well on a console and really revolutionized the controls systems for console games. The PC version also came quite a bit after the XBox version and a lot of the things that made Halo distinct at the time it was first release were integrated into other games released before the PC version (I've never played the PC version but I was under the impression it was simply a direct port). For example the physics in Halo were amazing and were a step up from a lot of other physics models at the time but that step up in physics was common place by the time Halo PC came out.

Mark Ventura


I did play on it a PC. I avoid console FPSs. I simply can't abide by aiming with a controller when the mouse and keyboard combo is so superior.

How did it revolutionize controls for console games? First to use two-stick aiming?

I wasn't even aware that it had a full physics model; it wasn't integrated, except for a little with the vehicles.

Greg Findlay


I was exactly the same way about FPS's on consoles until I played Halo. As far as I'm aware of they were the first to use the two-stick aiming. Now, I still wouldn't say that Halo comes close to PC FPS's for movement but it was a welcome change.

Ya the physics in Halo wasn't as obvious because they didn't include things like barrels and crates that could be shot out of the way but all players and vehicles had it. The vehicle physics was great though, with full suspension and really great friction on the steering. Driving on the console took a little bit to get used to but once you did it was really easy to get around, unlike some games where the steering can be frustrating.


"Driving on the console took a little bit to get used to"

That's putting it mildly. ;)


A little off topic, but you mentioned that games tied to movie sequels are a good idea but hard to pull off due to the schedule. Why is it that, save perhaps a Waterworld or Sky Captain, Hollywood can more or less set a date of release and stick to it, but the game industry can't? Are movies less complicated than games, or is there less to worry about? Why is it that it's harder for the game design studio to release Spider-Man 2 on the date specified for the movie to release?



movies go through a looong pre-production process. studios don't move forward on movies unless they have all the principle actors lined up along with the director. In games, it would be like having all your technology finished and your game design done and an experienced producer/designer attached to the project. Then, the movies move into production which is a fairly mature process.

The problem for games licensed on movies is that the publisher won't even greenlight pre-production until the movie hits the actual production phase. This gives movies a huge advance. And even then, the game has to get all it's pre-production, technology, design, and staff up. Plus, the game production process is nowhere near as mature as the movie production process.

Mark Ventura

And you generally don't find a fatal bug in a movie a month before the release date.

Basically the games industry is where the movie industry was in the 30's.



there was a titanic game for the PC. it was one of the first games i bought for a computer, making it about six or seven years old. of all the elements you listed it had them all. i should note that it wasn't based on the movie, although, come on, someone who liked the movie and saw the title on the shelves would check it out, no? in other words, i highly doubt it was a coincidence that there just happened to be this movie called 'titanic' which just happened to be the biggest cinematic cash cow in history and, gasp, someone trying to sponge off that without having to pay for the rights to the movie.

it was a fairly fun game for a point-and-click mystery, running around the ship performing tasks, solving puzzles, and doing some spy stuff. there was even a fighting system and varying endings (which really didn't vary that much). cliched now, fun then.

thought i'd chime in with that since you took the time to consider the possibilities, in which you were practically dead-on.

it illustrates, though, how a successful movie can *influence* what kind of game a game-making dude will make. i have to wonder if 'the wizard of wor' would exist were it not for 'alien.' it may be extreme to consider, but i'd venture to say that the guy who make 'robotron' loved those 'dawn of the dead' movies.

seriously, how can someone screw-up a movie called 'resident evil'? though i've never seen it, supposedly 'mario bros.' is one of the worst movies ever. even that would be easy to write a script for. what it amounts to is hacks in hollywood going for the cheap cash money-grab, hacks in developing doing the same. they say strike while the iron is hot. they also say once bitten, twice shy. with the price of pixels these daze, how much of your business are you willing to risk relying on public gullibility?

who's up for 'mortal kombat III' in theatres after that embarassing mess 'mk II: annihilation'?


I must admit that i loved the multiplayer of Halo PC version and was pretty annoyed that there was no co-op integrated into the code..... I hate console ports...

I always thought that "Another World / Out of this World" would have made a brilliant movie.... lots of unexplained stuff and great atmosphere and setting. Perfect sci-fi. Would be nice if it was updated and re-released..... Plus it had a very open ending.... Classic game!

Michael Samyn

I think game developers limit the evolution of their craft and trade if they put "gameplay" above everything else. Gameplay is only one of the many things that you can do with interactive media. And it firmly puts games in the toys category by focussing on what the user does rather than on what he or she thinks or feels (which is what more mature media do).
I agree with the majority of posters in this thread that it is perfectly possible to make a good game out of any subject matter, including that of Hollywood movies. All it takes is some creative thinking and the willingness of IP-owners and publishers to allow this creative thinking to take place. But obsessively holding on to the gameplay fetish is needlessly conservative.

Greg Findlay

I'd tend to disagree with you Michael. The thing that seperates games from other forms of media is the interactivity, with is essentially gameplay. The reason a person would play a game rather then watch a movie is because they can interact with the game and effect the outcome of the story. Take away gameplay and you've got a movie. Now all that being said there are ways that you can use gameplay to manipulate what the user thinks or feels, which hasn't even really begun to be exploited and that is the road games are bound to go down in the future.

Scott Miller

With regard to stories:

o Movies are primarily a visual medium.
o Plays rely mostly on dialog and are therefore audio focused.
o Novels rely on imagination.
o Games rely on participation. We hate it when we're not participating, such as when watching a cut-scene. BTW, the most important breakthrough of Half-Life is that the story was 100% participatory. And even though the story itself was shallow, players swear it was better than it was simply because they were involved with it the entire time.

Movies have stories that are prioritized for spectacle and visual enjoyment. Games have a different priority in terms of story, and for the most part, movie stories do not make for good game stories. Which is why so, so few have successfully crossed the chasm.


i like the way you said that. at the same time, give me nearly any popular video game and i aver that i can make a decent movie out of it given that it has human characters to exploit. modern games are simple: there's so much story to derive a plot out of, it blows my mind that these guys can't pull it all together. all it honestly takes is sitting down and applying a little thought to it. and games like 'splinter cell' and 'max payne' are virtually written for them. i wish hollywood would give me a lot of money to come up with a 'thief' script. if it took me a month, that would only be because i was being lazy. and it would *still* be a kick ass movie.

i think hollywood approaches certain movies the same way some game makers might approach a game. hollywood might say, 'okay, we've got a big budget and lots of digital f/x making crap laying around. what do we do with it?' 'let's make 'catwoman'!' i imagine a lot of game makers sit around and think, 'okay, i want to make a FPS because that's what's hot right now. all i need is a flimsy premise and a half-ass reason for my hero to kill as many people/things/creatures as possible.' ideally, i think that today you should have the idea/plot/premise *first*, then figger out which f/x/game style will best serve that story.

Tom Henderson

My company recently finished developing the latest in the most successful movie franchised games ever made, which is of course Spider-man. From my perspective I would agree with Scott in a general sense with the caveat that not all ips are created equal. For instance Spider-man is an excellent game license and the movie only acts to enhance this. Other ips are of course not so strong (imagine trying to make a game about "The Crying Game").

Several people have made statments that boil down to "I could make a game about any movie". This is true, but is not Scott's point. You could make a game it just would either a) suck or b) not deliver the core experience of the movie or (most likely) c) both.

Action movies convert best for reasons that should be obvious. The single point of view equates to the players. Action in the movie cn be more or less directly reflected in game-play. Finally the general thinness of the plot and characters lends itself to games.

Heavily plotted games with engrossing character studies are rarely successful. For instance Max Payne 2 was an extreme disapointment in spite of a massive unprecedented Movie style marketing campaign. In fact, Max Payne 2 is the perfect example of "the Game that want so be a movie". Please refrain from coming back at me with all kinds of points about how excellent Max Payne 2 was as thats not really the point. The point is that it took s straight up linear story and combined it with extremely heavy plot and character elements and did not generate the commercial success that was desired.

Spider-man is of course a strong license. The first Spider-man game was ok for its time but it was a very linear game with fairly standard level construction. Frankly, the ip is strong enough that we could have made a similar game with better graphics and production values and done ok. Instead we went for a full open city with many non-linear play elements. As our first open city game it has its rough spots, but its still better then a more polished strictly level based game would have been.

Is it innovative? Innovative is a slippery term. It has an open city, but GTA had that first...or did it? What about some of the Ultima's where you could roam at will? What about Elder Scrolls? Well, GTA was the first Open environment where you drove cars and were a criminal! Well by that measure are game is the first open environment where you are a superhero that can swing, climb and crawl anywhere. What's innovative is in the eye of the beholder.

So to finish this long winded message. I agree with Scott in general but I think good games that do well can be made from some movie IPs. The game must stand on its own and have strong gameplay. this means that the ip must be one that has themes and elements that can be succesfully translated to a game format.

Tom Henderson

Opps. So I just read the interview and you already listed Spider-man as "the exception that proves the rule".

Mark W.

"As far as I'm aware of they were the first to use the two-stick aiming."

Two sticks is basically the same as the (sometimes alternate) control scheme used in most N64 FPSes. The stick used for running could just as easily be replicated using a D-Pad or four face buttons as there's no need for analog input for movement in most action-oriented FPSes, which is what happened on the N64 (and, to a lesser extent, the Dreamcast. Most developers threw in mouse/keyboard support for the DC, though).

I didn't play many FPSes on PSX, but I know Medal of Honour also used two sticks for movement and aiming (it was basically a D-Pad performing both here, though, considering how crap the Dual Shock's sticks were).

Michael Samyn

I think game developers limit the evolution of their craft and trade if they put "story" above everything else. Story is only one of the many things that you can do with interactive media. Obsessively holding on to the story fetish is needlessly conservative.

Simon Hibbs

Putting Cassablanca in your list of films focused my attention, because I've actualy played in a game based largely on Cassablanca, and it's one of the best gaes I've ever played. Of course it wasn't a computer game, it was a roleplaying freeform/LARP game played in a hotel over a weekend.

There are two elements that I think are important here - who the characters are and what they do. Computer games naturaly focus on what the player does rather than who they (or their character in an RPG or FPS with roleplaying elements) are because they don't handle human emotional interaction very well. It's one of those cases where a great subject for some kinds of game turns out to be impossible to use effectively for other kinds of games. E.g. how would you design a Cassablanca board game?

Eventualy it migh be able to overcome these problems, perhaps a Cassablanca based MMORPG?

Simon Hibbs

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