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David Poland

By David Poland

One Problem With The Videogame Biz

There are a bunch of movies that don’t have videogame titles…. too much money involved and if the movie stiffs, the game is likely to as well. And of course, it takes years of lead time.
So when Snakes on a Plane, which seems like the most obvious dark horse videogame idea of the summer, arrives in August, don

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8 Responses to “One Problem With The Videogame Biz”

  1. EDouglas says:

    When I interviewed Zak Penn, he told me that part of the point of the game is to explain what happens with Nightcrawler so that he isn’t in the new movie…. there is something that bothered me about the gameplay of Iceman in the game, but that may be a spoiler for the movie.

  2. matro says:

    The money spent on games is often recouped on games based on either kid’s films (specifically CGI animated films) and sci-fi action stuff, though. Even though they’re almost always sub-par games that are rushed through development (a quality game usually requires at least two years to make, with some games clocking in with half-decade development cycles), they do lots of business.
    Some examples: The Madagascar game wound up making revenues of almost 50 million dollars across all platforms, and the Star Wars Episode III game was one of the best-selling games of last year, and made almost 100 million for LucasArts, which is far, far more than it cost to make, as anyone who played it could tell you. The Incredibles game made almost 80 million.
    Obviously those are all for successful films, so your point about the game financials being tied in with film financials is true. Still, though, you can make a tie-in game for a few million bucks and people will buy it, especially for the kid’s films, no matter what the quality level is. It looks like the average game tie-in makes around a quarter of the film’s gross in sales…that’s pretty impressive. I’m pretty sure all of the games I mentioned were released more or less simultaneously with the films, though.

  3. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Video Game successes is the sole reason for the existence of GHOST RIDER.. who wouldn’t want to play some dude with flaming skull on a devil harley. Its greenlight was simply a Need for Speed in Hell.

  4. Krazy Eyes says:

    Hollywood and the game companies get closer every year.
    There are a few examples where the game outshines the film . . . e.g., The Chronicles of Riddick prequel game was fantastic and easily stood on its own.
    The Enter the Matrix game is one of the most notorious for bilking fans by giving them a shoddy gaming experience. Hell, execs even blamed a crappy Tomb Raider game for hurting the box office of the second film.
    The big kick right now seems to be making games based on old film properties. The Thing, From Russia with Love, and The Godfather have already been released. Scarface and Dirty Harry are in development.

  5. brack says:

    yep, older gamers want to play their favorite movies. I buddy of mine has both The Warriors and The Godfather games, and can’t wait for Scarface.

  6. brack says:

    I meant to say “A buddy of mine”

  7. David Poland says:

    The interesting thing about the Matrix game experience is that the studio touted it bigtime and made the game accessible to the press, saying that it was a breakthrough. None of the movie press cared enough to play enough to be dissapointed.

  8. oyun says:

    Very nice article. thanks…

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon