Before I begin, I must apologize for the two weeks I didn't write anything. Personal issues was the cause. Let's begin.
What do the movies "Transformers: Dark of the Moon", "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn", "Thor", "Captain America: The First Avenger" and "Jurassic Park" have in common? Don't know? They all have terrible games based on them. And still, silly publishers like Activision believe that money can be made from them and that's why they keep making them. Believe it or not, they are right. But why are they right?
Licensed video games are made on such a small budget, believe it or not. The developers end up (not intentionally (at least I hope not)) making a really bad game, and it's put on the market at the time of a films release. That then could generate a good 100,000 copies sold per week. That doesn't sound like a lot, but £40 for the game times 100,000 copies, and you already have earned £4,000,000. Now consider that the game probably has around a £3,000,000 budget; the developers have already made their money back just from that 1 week of sales. Sure, the publisher may end up being hit hard in the long run, but at least the developers have made profit.
But then it still makes me wonder why on earth people go about buying these licensed games in the first place if all of them are that bad. The proof:
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon game – Metacritic for Xbox 360: 59/100 – Metacritic for Playstation 3: 57/100 – Metacritic for Wii: 34/100 – Believe it or not, but these games actually scored higher than the movie.
- Thor: God of Thunder – Metacritic for Xbox 360: 38/100 – Metacritic for Playstation 3: 39/100 – Metacritic for Wii – 56/100 – The movie itself scored a little bit higher than the game.
- Jurassic Park (the Telltale game) – Metacritic for Xbox 360: 60/100 – Metacritic for Playstation 3: 53/100 – Metacritic for PC – 55/100 – Not directly tied in with the movie, but the game was set moments after the first game.
The list could go on and on. These licensed games get as annoying as those games that keep getting annual release; the same question gets asked: what is the point in them? Developers should stop trying to make these pointless movie tie-ins and focus on what's good… the spin off titles. That means games like Transformers: War for Cybertron. That game was brilliant and by far the best Transformers game ever made (until Fall of Cybertron). The reason that game succeeded is because it was set before the actual movies, had no movie storyline to follow and didn't have limitations as a movie tie-in would. Not only could would you probably get more sales if you went around saying "it has nothing to do with the movies", but you could even go as far as to risk a bigger budget. This is something High Moon Studios (the developers of War for Cybertron) got right.
Perhaps instead of a Jurassic Park game set bang in the timeline of the movies, perhaps we could of had a game set after the movies (perhaps 10 or 20 years later). Then again that didn't do Back to the Future any justice; I suppose it's a hit and miss most times. My point is, stop with the movie tie-ins and focus on something new; something fresh; something that will make us all go "wow".
Read original blog post