There have been numerous discussions about whether game adaptations of movies work or not. Traditionally, the game releases are part of a wider merchandising strategy that is supposed to attract loyal fans of movies such as Star Wars. But are these games also capable of convincing more experienced gamers – or even gamers that have not been ecstatic, and are therefore biased, because of movies that were previously released as games?
As the gaming community is waiting for the Star Trek game, these questions will sooner or later be discussed by game developer and strategists. At the moment, the game is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2013. According to what is known, the game will revolve around Kirk and Spock who arrive at a colony with inhabitants mistakenly assuming that both our protagonists came to poison their planet. The first test reviews, such as this German one reveal a problem that many games that are based on films face – it does not really offer anything really new in terms of gaming. Another question that remains is rather related to the relationship between the movie and the game. How much of a movie’s flair or style can a game actually capture? And when does the commitment towards a certain style of the movie rather hurt the quality of a game?
The makers of the upcoming Star Trek game seem to have responded to these questions by deliberately developing a game that differs substantially from the movie. As Nowgamer highlights correctly, this step had to be taken in order to attract a wide circle of gamers. While viewers do not know Star Trek as a series that heavily relies on action scenes, the game centres around battles that the main figures have to go through. The article is right in stressing that nowadays a strategy game – which might rather correspond to Star Trek’s character – would be very unlikely to achieve sales figures comparable to those of action or rpg games.
Is there a general lesson that we can learn from the way the developers of the upcoming Star Trek game approached their project? It would be unfair to draw any conclusions on the game’s current lack of gaming-related innovations as development is still ongoing. What we can learn though is that it is smart to look at what the aim of the project is – is it to produce a game that is as much of a copy of the movie as possible? Or is it smarter to maybe disappoint hard-core TV series and movie-fans by giving the game an entirely new character and aim at its success in the wider gaming community? The developers of the new Star Trek game went for the second option – and possibly made a better move towards the commercial success of their game. It remains to be seen how this bold move is accepted by the hard core fans.