VuePoint: Adaptation Part One: Could Arrow Make A Good MMO?

So all this week I’ve been thinking about adaptations. I went to see the new Star Trek movie, and thought about that god-awful game, I’ve been playing some Resident Evil, and started thinking about those god-awful movies, and then I saw about an American Horror Story VR in development and a potential Life Is Strange movie in the works. So it got me thinking about things that would – in theory – translate well into another medium. This is the first of a two-part article (that’s right! We’re going TV Special style!).

This first article will look at how movies and TV shows could translate into a gaming medium. I’m no games developer, so there may very well be technical (or licensing) reasons why these games don’t exist, but come with me anyway! We’ll take a look at what would be awesome to play, and reflect on those that didn’t do very well.

There does seem to be something of a curse around movie licensed games. Aside from a few exceptions, such as Spiderman 2 on the PS2, most tend to fall flat. Hellboy: The Science of Evil – flew pretty under most people’s radars (and disappointed those who found it), Star Trek: The Game had more bugs than a bushtucker trial, and The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct – despite coming off a hugely successful show/graphic novel, and using some of the best loved characters – was downright terrible.

Most movie games are rushed through development, so that their release can coincide with their movie counterpart, hereby riding the hype wave and maximising profits. The idea works on paper but the rushed schedule means many of the games are rushed, and at times even unfinished. Admittedly this wasn’t an excuse that TWD:SI could use, but hey, maybe that was just a bad game.

I mentioned this point a while ago, in my article about superhero games. The way I see it, a developer has two options – make a polished game but slightly miss the movie/series release, which shouldn’t matter if the game is good enough, or (and this one seems more obvious than a slap in the face) BEGIN PRODUCTION EARLIER! Remember in school when you’re rushing around getting all your stuff together in the morning, and your parents just shake their heads and say “Should have done it the night before.” Why don’t game devs just take that lesson and bring it to later life? *sigh*.

ANYWAY! Onwards with the main chewy bit. I’ve been thinking about some movies or TV shows that I’d love to see adapted, and the first one that springs to mind is Arrow and co. The CW’s DC-verse has built up four separate but interconnected worlds in Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and now Supergirl. Four worlds each with a distinct style and theme, with a general sci-fi genre running throughout. Arrow is your dark, vigilante action, Flash has your superheroes with superpowers, Legends has time-travelling sci-fi, and Supergirl brings the intergalactic element.

Picture this, and MMORPG, not dissimilar to DC Universe Online, set entirely in the CW Arrowverse. You start off as a brand new meta-human. You choose your look and your abilities, and make your way through a bunch of distinct zones, each based on one of the four shows. Start off in Star City where the threat is uncovered, make your way over to Central City to call in help from Cisco, Caitlin and Star Labs, realise the threat is not from this earth, so you head over to the DEO for some alien expertise, and finish up in the Waverider with Rip Hunter and the rest of the Legends. It writes itself!

Open worlds based on the settings of each show, with hub areas such as the Oliver’s Lair beneath the Mayor’s office, Star Labs etc, and information and side quests given by all your favourite characters. Y’know what, I’m trademarking this. The date today is the 2nd of August 2016. You heard it here first folks, if anyone wants to make this, get in touch, we’ll get coffee.

Don’t worry, I’m obviously not going to write out a whole game for each idea I have, that one just kinda went on and on in my head and I know it’d bug me if I didn’t get it all out. But this is just one example of a million that could work, given the due time and attention. If a game dev is worried about not getting a game out in time for something’s release, keep working on it, schedule the game for release AFTER the show has ended or film has come out. Set the game AFTER the events of it’s counterpart. Continue the story, rather than trying to tie in with it. C’mon guys! It’s not rocket science!

Well maybe it’s more complicated than that, but taking the extra time to think about stuff like this, and iron out the creases could be the difference between being the latest victim of the curse of the video-game tie in, and making an entertaining title, that’s faithful to its source material yet still offers something new.

It definitely seems doable to me, so maybe soon the curse of licensed video games will be broken. That’s all from me this week, but check back next time for part 2, where I’ll be looking at things from the other side. Find out what games could make good TV shows right here next week!

…That was this week’s VuePoint!!! Check back tomorrow for a brand new BearSleuth Opinion piece!!!

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