Hello, and welcome to Friday! As production costs rise with each new console generation, developers are always looking for a way to make some quick cash from movie licenses. The reverse is also true, with film companies trying to persuade gamers to leave their houses with movies based on much loved games franchises.
Watching a bad movie can be an enjoyable experience, especially with friends when the group can derive entertainment from rubbishing the film. The same cannot be said for a bad game. Even a relatively short game still requires an investment of time, and the return will never be as great as watching a bad film. The experience will often leave a gamer angry or confused as to why developers would allow sub-standard games to go to market.
Just because a developer produces a terrible game based on a movie does not mean that it will be a flop at retail. Quite the reverse sometimes, as in May 2008 the PlayStation 2 Iron Man game became the seventh best selling game of the month. Flying around as titular character was fun, but the game itself was boring and broken. A trend can be found through movie tie-ins; often they are rushed to market to coincide with the film itself, thus lacking the polish of similar games. Or they have a too narrow focus
Enter the Matrix was designed to bridge the gap between the first and second movies. With a story written by the Wachowski brothers and an additional hour of footage shot especially for the game, it sold like hot cakes. Sadly, with all the writing talent on board, the gameplay was largely forgotten. Everyone wanted to play as Neo, but were instead given control of the secondary characters Ghost and Niobe. One can only hope that the additional footage shows up on a special edition box set in the future.
Almost all gamers have either played Street Fighter 2 back in the day, or more recently in its HD remake. Not so fondly remembered is the movie made of the game. Bad plot, bad acting, this film almost seemed to go out of its way to be bad. I think Jean-Claude Van Damme would rather forget his role in this entirely. The rest of the cast were largely forgettable unless you happened to be a fan of
Charlene Kylie Minogue.
Hopefully nobody remembers Street Fighter: The Movie, the game based on the movie of the game. A shoddy game that used unnatural-looking sprites based depictions of the characters in the film. The actors reprised their roles for the voice work, but nothing could elevate this game above pure garbage.
Uwe boll has directed many films based on games, including Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne and House of the Dead. The only work of his that I have actually seen is In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, and from what I have seen, I would not go anywhere near the others. Most shocking of all is that these films are actually getting sequels, with the third Dungeon Siege film due for release next year. Why do people still pay this man to make films?
Sadly the trend of bad tie-ins does not look likely to cease any time soon. Much of the DS shovelwear that was available consisted of cheap movie titles. Thankfully the 3DS has not seen the deluge that its predecessor had, though only time will tell if developers take advantage of the system to make gimmicky games.
There are stars to be found among the refuse though. The recent Batman games have done a good job of translating the character from the comics to the small screen. While not strictly based on the films, the did coincide with their release somewhat. Not having to release a game to accompany a film does give developers the opportunity to put the extra time into it that it requires. Just look at the Star Wars franchise. The most loved games were all released independently of the films. Star Wars Episode I: Racer did not have that luxury.
Gamers need to start voting with their wallets. We should not be accepting any games of poor quality, even if we are pulled towards certain franchises. When developers realise that their latest movie tie-in will not sell, maybe they will come to their senses.
Readers, have do you think I have left any bad tie-ins out? Have you got a depressing story of glitchy, bagged games to share with me? Let me know in the comments!