Scripting for Tie-in

When was the last time you saw a movie that was blatantly written with an eventual game tie in in mind?

For me, it was Riddick. I saw the new entry in the dystopian sci-fi franchise last Friday, and I already expect a tie-in video game where you play the eponymous/infamous murderer and escaped convict on an unnamed planet.

I also expect that I can accurately predict a few early game Quick Time Events, based on the movie. For example, I’m sure that Riddick holding his breath in a fetid pool of water will require either repeated tapping of a given button, or holding it down, possibly both. The scene in which he acquires immunity to the poison of one of the planet’s denizens will likely be translated similarly, and I’m sure that the first “boss battle” will be with this large puddle-dweller and require a precisely timed button press to slide beneath it, after fighting a smaller specimen of the same creature with Quick Time Event to hack its head off.

The question is whether or not this is problematic.

On the movie end, it breaks immersion when you spot a scene that you can so clearly see being put into an eventual video game in the exact same form. Mark my words, the first area of the next game, assuming an adaptation of this movie, will be passed by allowing the alien creature to bite you, hitting a button to chop one side of the neck, then another button to chop the other side. Then you’ll have to hit a button to grab your puppy companion, and another to slide under the larger creature while slicing along its underside.

On the game side… I’m honestly not sure. For one thing, it’s doing some work for the designers, but then adaptations are already relatively easy. For the players, it affects immersion in the game, whether or not they feel they are actually taking on the role of the character. Even if you’re playing an accountant, there’s a difference between mashing buttons for add and subtract functions, than just seeing a prompt to hit circle or Y and seeing the character complete a line of calculations.

Whether Quick Time Events help or hinder this immersion is a debate beyond the limitations of this column. I personally like them, mostly because I am, as I’ve previously mentioned, a fan of God of War, and I can’t imagine the franchise’s bloody and awe-inspiring acts of dismemberment being present in a more standard, Hack and Slash control scheme.

While I’m fine with licensed games and such, and am amused by the blatant-ness of the aforementioned example, I do think that all parties are better served if the designers’ work is not done for them.

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