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Franchises, Movies and Ads

Random rambling on what is happening on the world of gaming, including how games are being turned into franchised, game-based movies and what in-game ads are.

Am I the only one who saw the increase in the “franchise-ation” of video games? Big publishers like Electronic Arts or Ubisoft have now reduced the number of new games and started to fall back on “franchises.” And I’m not just talking about the sports and race games. Dragon Age, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect– all these have related books, anime, or movies already released or in production right now. What used to be a “Japanese concept” has now invaded the rest of the world.

But unlike the Japanese companies, the North American/European ones seem to want to dump as many games and books from a franchise on the market as fast as possible. Usually this mean less content per game and more bugs. Although, all companies have different ways of doing this. Electronic Arts has its sports game series where barely anything changes every year, or their BioWare releated franchise with books and announced anime and movies. Ubisoft has been going the way of “name recognition” by creating spinoffs for Heroes of Might and Magic or just plain redoing older games like Prince of Persia. Edios has Lara Croft, etc. I kind of miss the odd game that don’t get a sequel and “novels as lore,” and sometimes too much of something is like not enough, because everything is the same.

Then there are the movies. Like DOOM, Wind Commander, Dungeon Siege, Prince of Persia, etc. Kind of like the comic book industries, except that game-related movies are mostly produced by Uwe Boll, who buys the rights, with disastrous results. Also, Ubisoft is apparently building a movie studio right now. Considering, there was already a strong emphasis between making a game based on a movie (I never bought one of those), now we might get the inverse of making a movie based on a game. Although, I’m not sure if I like game-related movies that much. I do want to see more fantasy themed movies/TV series, but I’m not sure if I want 20 hours of plot shrunk into 90 minutes or to watch D-rated movies based on games I liked.

Or all the dumping of publicity in my games. The “new” fun in game (or old depending on the publishing company): in-game ads. Kind of like product placement in movies and TV shows, but in video games. You get a billboard or poster and the ads on it is determined by where you are on the planet, with a server somewhere that send the appropriate publicity to your game. There is one company that tried it a few years and back and said it was a bad idea, but it’s coming back! I just learned that Deux Ex: Human Revolution is going to support it. I don’t mind, mostly because I don’t care about ads, I always wondering why companies spend millions every year in annoying people with flashy stuff to try to sell their products. I guess I’m not impulsive enough.

One reply on “Franchises, Movies and Ads”

It’s almost a reverse Hollywood marriage–used to be get a film out and then merchandise it to death. Now you already have the product, don’t need to work much on characters and just expand on the stories, and merchandise is already good to go.

It seems cheap and easy, relatively speaking. And yes I did notice the increase of game to movie products. Sometimes some ads confuse me with games looking and sounding so realistic, and pitched as mini stories in their TV ads.

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