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GCG Feature: 'Design in Film to Game Crossovers'

When Batman lands in the hands of Electronic Arts, what unique design strategies are used for a successful conversion from film to game? In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, Bret Wardle
April 24, 2007
When Batman lands in the hands of Electronic Arts, what unique design strategies are used for a successful conversion from film to game? In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, Bret Wardle addresses key character and gameplay tactics employed by game companies. In this excerpt, Wardle looks at another key question when creating a licensed film to game crossover -- when and how to use footage from the film itself in your game: "The use of film footage in game development is a somewhat debatable topic. I spoke with some developers that believed it is a great way to slice time from things like cinematic and/or cut scenes and focus more on the game element. I also spoke with developers that believe footage should be used only in an "unlockables" aspect, and that using recycled footage for in game scenes only detracts from the originality of a game. I believe that the overlaying factor here is an argument of the classic Chicken vs. The Egg. Do people see the movie, and in turn are drawn to the game? Or do they play the game, leading them to see the movie? I think the numbers heavily weigh on the side of the movie coming first, with an occasional game player being drawn out of the dark to see a movie. I believe there is a hefty amount of players that intend to see a movie and play the game (without the influence of one or the other). In speaking with some avid players many of them plan on both seeing and playing 2007's spring/summer blockbusters. These include TMNT and Spiderman 3. The real issue at hand is how and when it is advantageous to use recycled footage in your game design. When working under these sorts of publishers you are usually given a less generous deadline for milestones. This makes it easy to substitute film footage for things like cinematic. When facing a decision of fine-tuning gameplay or creating original cut scenes, I believe any good designer knows which side to choose. But what if you are not faced with that sort of choice. " You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature, with more from Wardle on creating film to game crossovers, including the successes of Chronicles of Riddick's character development (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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