It’s one thing to be excited about a graphic novel or anxiously await the day the movie version opens. It’s another to immerse yourself even more into the lore with a game based on the film. But this happens all the time, right? (At least it does in my household — I married a comic book–reading, computer game–lovin’ film nerd.)
But even my husband, Frank, was a little taken aback by this news: According to CNET, Warner Bros, Digital Distribution will release a mobile MMO (massively multiplayer online game) for the iPhone that’s based on the movie Watchmen.** Both game and film are set to drop on Friday.
I ask Frank what he thinks of this, only to get an eye roll back in return. “An MMO? Is it really, or are they just using the term loosely because it’s a cell phone?” he says, looking up in between the action on Left 4 Dead, his time waster of choice these days. “Plus, games based on movies just tend to be lame promos.”
Well, that’s true. But the Watchmen franchise has already been down this road. Its current entry in the App Store right now (simply called “Watchmen”) is basically just a fast and easy delivery vehicle for movie news, pics and other downloads.
The new app, called “Watchmen: Justice is Coming,” however, was developed by Last Legion Games, and word has it that it comes with customizable avatars that engage in combat and trade for gear. According to Massively.com, players start out as normal people who fight crime in basic “Street Fighter” style set against 1975 New York (which is a few years before the timeframe of the movie).
So far, the buzz has been one shrouded in skepticism, at worst, and cautious optimism, at best. Many (like CNET’s Eric Franklin) aren’t even sure whether they’d embrace a game version of their beloved graphic novel. Others can’t wait to get their hands on it, to see how it will play on this platform.
One thing’s for sure: Frank has already scored us tickets for the film this Friday, and I, along with every other iPhone owner at the theater, will probably be playing this game to kill time, waiting for the movie to start.
I’ll let you know how it is. Better yet, since I’m more of a physics and puzzle game freak, I’ll make Frank test drive it as well. We’ll let you know our thoughts on it after Friday.
[Edited to include: Extra, extra! G4TV got an interview with the game designers, so for more info, check the vid below.]
**DON’T KNOW WHAT THE BIG DEAL IS ABOUT WATCHMEN?
The flick is based on a series of graphic novels by writer Alan Moore. Largely considered a landmark work in the comic book genre, the story takes readers on a right turn from fantasy into a pseudo-realistic look at what life would’ve been like for masked superheroes in an alternate United States. Watchmen has been lauded by fans and critics in the comics world as well as the mainstream press.
Why should you care? Because masterworks like this have the power to simultaneously transcend and elevate a much-maligned medium or genre, offering cultural touchstones that offer insights into the modern zeitgeist. (See also Battlestar Galactica/sci fi/Emmy/Peabody Award.) Plus, they’re just incredibly entertaining.