Friday, March 15, 2013

TV shows, choose your tie in game genres carefully

I really should go back into Character analysis, deleted content, and game design soon.  I actually have one planned but it will take time to do right.  Anyway, sorry about the delay, I didn't think of the idea until this morning and then the computer was tied up.

Doctor Who, being a hugely successful and fifty year old property, has released a few video games.  Like most Sci Fi shows, Doctor Who has a large focus on technology, problem solving, and saving the world.  The Doctor is a technical pacifist (Normally) who prefers to out trick his opponents and save the universe with a minimal of casualties.  His Companions are both his moral compass and his muscle.  Especially companions like River. 

And he really likes it when he's clever.
 (The first Doctor is my favorite, though I like the others)

What makes Doctor Who fun is WHEN he's clever and brilliant and his companions get frustrated with him because of how he's acting. 

The perfect fit for this type of show would be a point and click.  Sure, it's  bit out of style (Like the Doctor's clothes.)   but with the Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver as an all purpose tool, and his ability to save the world through rewriting machines the puzzle based format would fit well.  Instead, the developers went for a platforming scenario for when he's doing the "Running through corridors" bit. 

As a result, the game was moderately good and did not make enough money to justify a sequel though it was left on a cliffhanger.  The quality of the models was honestly very good and it is actually Matt Smith and Alex Kingston talking.   But Doctor Who does mix things up even as it follows the general TV formula (see Blink, Midnight, The Doctor Who Movie, and so much more in the "Classic" who)  while the game just repeated puzzles with increasing difficulty.

Companies, use your tie ins well.  Racing games work best for speed based characters, DC and Marvel having fighting games makes sense (and they are great), and a MLP Freemium Farmville Clone does make a certain amount of sense (though an adventure or point and click may work better)

But then we also have SuperMan 64,  Back to the Future on the NES, and Lost: Via Domus.    I don't have to go into Superman: 64, Back to the Future was a dodging side scroller and Lost: Via Domus attempted to be an adventure game.

Lost as a puzzle, RPG, or a climber would have been great.  (Especially if it was based on the new Tomb Raider system.  Just with less fighting.)  Superman 64 should be an action game or possible a side scroller beat em up.  Back to the Future... I don't know.  But not a side scroller like that.  TIME TRAVEL is a critical plot point in the series and you go with that?

So, companies, when deciding what to do, keep the source material in mind.  The genre can turn any property from "Bad" to "Okay" to "good" to "This is freaking awesome."

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