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01/30/2004

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clubberjack

It's funny that such a "safe" game would achieve this milestone. LOTR:ROTK isn't really all that innovative in terms of gameplay or even in terms of it's relationship to the movie. It's a hack'n'slash game in which you fight your way through the major battles of the movie. As opposed to the grand designs of Enter the Matrix, which had such potential as an expansion of the transmedia world of the Matrix.

Obviously EA did something right with ROTK; it's a solid game, but I still crave more... Perhaps the next Bond will fill my desires...

Mr. Falcon

I'm not sure if the LOTR games constitute convergence, per se, any more than adapting a book from a movie or producing movie-based action figures. I suspect the term "vertical integration" would be more accurate.

The idea of convergence between a game and a movie is intriguing, though: to have a game that somehow interacts with a movie and vice versa. I'm reminded of the movie "The Wizard" where, if you looked closely, you could see how to get the warp whistes in Super Mario Brothers 3. I think that could be considered a rudimentary form of convergence (of course, the entire movie was a triumph of vertical integration: pay money to see a 2 hour commercial).

Granted, I haven't played the LOTR games, so there may be something I'm missing.

san

"...grand designs of Enter the Matrix..." I think Dave Perry and Shiny aimed very high with that title: and they missed a mile wide. EA picked a target they knew they had much better odds of hitting: and succeeded. EA's title is a mere delineation, a thin trace on the map, while I believe Perry/Shiny deserve commendation for at least trying to push the limits of the connection between games and films.

Next time round EA may again do something "safe" with another convergence project and receive for their efforts a rousing ho-hum; and in the future Shiny may hit that lofty mark with such accuracy and force they forever change the industry.

san

Falcon: You're not missing anything. I'm using the term "convergence" in the interactive entertainment industry hype sense: right now "convergence" is more or less synonymous with "co-marketed" or "tie-in"; but where we are now, even attached as it is to the realm of marketing, is a step on the path toward "convergence" in the boundary eliminating sense. "Tear down that wall, Mr. Gorbachev."

[Did I just quote Reagan? I believe I did. I need a nap.]

Bowler

"while I believe Perry/Shiny deserve commendation for at least trying to push the limits of the connection between games and films."

San, don't give the credit to Perry or Shiny. Give it to the Wachowski Bros. They're the ones who came up with the idea to do Enter the Matrix, and Perry won the bid. While it's innovative to try and give people a game that gives backstory on the movies (again, Wachowski's idea), the game itself is hardly limit-pushing. Perry is a one trick pony. That game is simply run 'n shoot in a linear level map, and even that's done poorly. It's really no different than say, MDK, or any other Shiny game (save EWJ) other than the slow-motion "focus" effect, which was done better in Max Payne.

Sorry; I don't mean to derail the conversation with my hatred for Shiny. I just wanted the credit to go where it was deserved.

ClockworkGrue

There was a talk at... I think it was GDC last year about how game makers needed to stop doing video game versions of movies, and start doing "adaptations," as in adapting the story and world of the film (which was probably adapted itself from the story and world of a book) into things that games do well. I believe that Enter the Matrix was aiming for this more than EA's RotK, although I would say that EA's track record of "timed releases" to run in conjunction with some external event meant that they were more likely to produce a good game with the iron-clad deadlines that working with the movies can require. You can't call up New Line and ask them to delay RotK for a month so you can finish the game, so you have to know how to develop for that.

san

Bowler: "Perry is a one trick pony."

In my very brief correspondence with Perry I was impressed with both his gaming philosophy and his ability to convey it with succinct eloquence. I'm fond of him. One man's opinion.

Grue: Excellent point. Original screenplays often make for good films. Screenplays well adapted from books or other media often make good films. Screenplays that carbon copy books scene by scene, utterance by utterance, make for long, boring films that I'd like to leave. The first Harry Potter film had just such a problem with its adult audience who hadn't also read the novels. They tried to cram in too much of the book for the sake of fidelity -- afraid they would lose the kids by cutting recognizable scenes -- and up came a yawner. Perhaps due to the secure feeling engendered by the success of the first film, perhpas because the creative team just flat did a better job, the second film did not, at least in me, induce coma.

I think EA does certainly deserve credit for making a good game that adhered to the requirements of the film industry. But, I think that when somebody scores the goal "Enter the Matrix" was shooting for, the industry repercussions will be significant, and that game, whatever *that* game is, will be long remembered and cited.

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