Just back from E3. While I was gone The Hollywood Reporter ran this interview with me, where I discuss why our industry would be better off making original brands, versus turning to licenses so darn often, as if we do not have a creative mind of our own.
In the interview I was asked:
THR: What about "King Kong?" That did well as both a movie and game.
Miller: If you release a licensed game when the movie comes out, you'll probably do okay because you have that synergy working for you. That's why the "Enter The Matrix" game worked even though it was rated really low by the game reviewers. But when you do that, you can run into other problems because you're trying to rush the game out which usually results in a lower-quality game. UbiSoft really pulled off a miracle with "King Kong" and made a decent game around it. But those are few and far between.
I didn't add that if it weren't for the synergistic release with the mega-anticipated movie, I wouldn't have bothered with the Kong license. And I would not expect further Kong games to do well. (And yeah, Kong is dead, but if the license had inherent value to the game industry, you could easily have Son of Kong or whatever.)
While here, E3 thoughts. Here's what I wrote in another forum:
Supreme Commander looked sweet. Might be the game that gets me RTS'n again.
Saw the trailer for Resistance: Fall of Man (typical dumb name, like Halo: Combat Evolved) and I love the idea, and the brief look of the game I saw. Hard to believe this is coming from Insomniac.
Saw the Turok demo, and WTF? It was a 3 minute slide show! Doesn't even star a Native American -- they've gone the nameless soldier route. Guaranteed failure.
Overall impressions. There are a LOT of games that I would not have green-lit. A lot of followers, rather that leaders out there. A lot of clueless publishers thinking their little me-too game with a few changes here and there are going to carry the day. Um... no. Money down the drain. And way too many fantasy MMOs with interfaces that pretty much clone WoW's!
Eidos is one big failure of a publisher. Saw several of their lackluster games at the Nvidia booth, and they all looked last generation. The generically named Rouge Trooper is a big loser. Tomb Raider looked like a big pile of meh (yeah, I know it's been out, but been too busy to see it). And Hitman needs to be "Quickly Executed," because no one cares. The Eidos games were being played by Eidos reps only, as the world walked by. Oh how far Lara has fallen. And deservedly so given the lack of innovation.
Bioshock looks beautiful, but a little too slow paced for my liking. I'm sure it'll be a System Shock sized hit, though. Which is basically a mild hit, not a mega-hit.
Good grief the Japanese can't name a game to save their lives. Everything comes right out of the Official Manual of Generic Fantasy Words Names, like Dynasty, Final, Shadow, Dark, Legend, Sword, on and on and endlessly on. They're not the only game name lamers -- there are so many poorly named games at the show I laughed out loud more than a few times.
Didn't see Gears of War, but heard good things. Overall, was not an impressive E3 as far as finding unknown nuggets. All the top candidates going in emerged unscathed by surprises.
Oh, and heard a LOT of negative comments about the Wii controller from developers who messed with it. Be very worried, Nintendo. Didn't get to see it myself because I didn't have 2+ hours to wait in line. What a dumb way to run a booth, meanwhile the open booths of Sony and Microsoft I explored fully.