Name the last great sci-fi game you played. Mass Effect? Yea, pretty good. Metal Gear Solid 4? Yea, ok, but 19 hours worth of cutscenes put a damper on our need to shoot other in the face. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed? Ok, fun—but placing enemies that somehow nullified our trusty lightsaber was kinda jarring. Fallout 3? Eh, Arguable—not the quality of the game, but if its’ true sci-fi—its closer to The Book of Eli. What else? Exactly, not a whole lot out there.
Singularity? Wolfenstein? Right. Don’t let the controller smack you in the face on the way out.
Now, name the last great sci-fi movie you saw. Avatar? Inception? The Matrix? It’s a long list. Sadly, quite a few of these have never been made into games, and we all know how The Matrix games turned out—a shame there was no “fun gameplay” pill.
It’s a mixed bag at best. But there is awesome potential in a few of these flicks, they just have to be done right. Here’s how we’d do them.
Premise: Harrison Ford faces off against rogue androids in a film noir, futuristic Los Angeles.
The Easy Way: Chapter based gameplay, basic shooting mechanics.
The Actual Way: Rather than produce yet another 3rd person shooter, let’s take a step back. Dekkard is a P.I. who is a normal joe. So, rather than shoehorn him into, oh , I dunno, this:
Let’s place him in Heavy Rain, only with a slight twist on exploration—you can investigate other cases, expanding from beyond the movie into different cases. Think of it as Heavy Rain with a bit of GTA thrown in, all in a dirty future utopia. We can explore his character, along with some great action sequences. Think of the missions you could take—the game would use the same system as Heavy Rain for a more cinematic experience, while giving players freedom to move around and explore of the world, as well as the plot of the movie. Win-win.
Demon with a Glass Hand
No, this isn’t a movie, it’s simply one of the finest Outer Limits episodes ever produced. It is supposed to be a movie, but you know how fast things move in Tinseltown. We think they’re still trying to figure out how Owls can be popular.
Premise: Trent, a man from the future, finds himself in the past, on the run from future humanity-destroying aliens known as the Kyben, with a robotic hand with three missing fingers. As he obtains more fingers from the Kyben (who look like humans with “I threw something at Brock Lesnar” style black eyes), he discovers that he’s carrying the electronic impulses of the human race on a gold circuit on his chest. That’s right, he’s an android, and must live to protect the future. Yet another case of why Harlan Ellison has forgotten stories better than the crap you’ll see on-screen.
The Easy Way: Downloadable title, follow the plot of the episode exactly. Think Uncharted 2 in a building—collapsing floors, QTEs, and some chase sequences.
The Actual Way: The game would be separated into two eras—the future, and the past. The first half of the game would see you play as a soldier assigned to Trent’s Creator, as he sends you on recon missions around the city so he can build the android, all while humanity is getting its ass handed to it on a silver platter (in the episode, the aliens conquered earth in a month). Once Trent is finished and operational, you must lead him to the time mirror, and make sure he makes it in. Switch gears, now you are Trent, lost, alone, and in a murky area of the city. The aliens are following you—you must locate the three fingers for your hand (gaining abilities as you do), and close the time portal to ensure humanity’s safety. Think Deus Ex Meets Call of Duty for the first half, then Max Payne/Bionic Commando for the second half.
Yea, there are Predator games. They sucked. We find it baffling that somehow, no one can make a game about a 7-foot tall beast that has multiple spectrums for vision, can turn invisible, has plasma cannons, throwing discs, wrist blades, and is the most badass hunter in the galaxy. It’s kinda like having gold, and deducing how you can turn it into lead as quickly as possible.
Seriously, this mean fucker:
Has no stellar game where it’s just him? Amazing.
Premise: If you don’t know who the Predator is, or have not seen the original, your balls haven’t dropped yet. Speed up your adolescence by watching this.
The Easy Way: See above.
The Actual Way: So, let’s think back to the movie. Aside from the sheer amount of testosterone on-screen that will have women jumping your bones only 15 minutes into the movie, what do you remember? The hunt. The stalking of prey. The screams. The idea that something was out there, and you couldn’t stop it.
Lucky for us, there’s another game with plenty of stalking and murders…
Hey Ezio. That should be the template for a brand new Predator game.
You start on the Predator homeworld, training your skills, hunting on the “reserve” planet until you’re ready to go out on your own. The game would span three different planets, each with two locations—Earth (Colombia and Los Angeles); the Predator homeworld (continuing the blood feud alluded to in Predator’s), and a Pandora-like world, where you would hunt against the natives; all with a different take on the platforming and weapons seen in Assassin’s Creed, only instead of a hidden gun, you get a fucking plasma cannon and invisibility. We’re sure the trade off would be worth it. Assassin’s Creed meets Metal Gear Solid’s Tech.
Now that Resident Evil has turned into Gears of Evil, we need an actual survival horror game. Well, how about being trapped in a base where you don’t know if your best friend is an alien or not?
Premise: Kurt Russell is part of a scientific expedition at the South Pole, runs into a group of loco Norwegians chasing a dog that ate their homework. However, the dog is not a dog. Instead, it takes over bodies, without notifying the owner, and bites off hands whenever you make it upset. It is still no match for Kurt Russell.
The Easy Way: “Resident Evil” on Antarctica. Hey, wait a second… There was a pretty good game for the Xbox, however, that is pretty much a 3rd person shooter. We’ll be taking this into the realm of Survival Horror.
The Actual Way: What you may not know about this film is that it’s a remake of the 1951 film, The Thing From Another World, and a take on a short story called, “Who Goes There?” Three stories, different eras, this can translate well to a game.
So, let’s have our Silent Hill setting, eerie, dark, and unnerving. 3rd person action would work well for this, only a few weapons, limited ammo, and you play as a human attempting to survive against your friends and the alien. We have three different viewpoints—the original team from the 50’s, the Norwegians, and finally Russell’s crew. You would fight the alien when it possessed your friends, and run like hell when it comes after you. You would determine if your friend had been taken over by a series of dialogue choices, enabling you to get away from the alien quietly, building rapport with your friends, allowing you to get a bit of extra health/ammo, or worst case, having to fight the creature in hopes that you would live. Now, in an extra twist, let’s add the World Notes system from Demon’s Souls, enabling other players to leave clues about hiding places, tendencies, warnings, and tips for a shared experience of being in a crew. The alien would mutate into plenty of HD Nightmare Fuel, each of which would require a different tactic to fight. Silent Hill meets Man Hunt.
Yea, yea, we know what you’re thinking—what’s Justin Hammer doing on the moon? Well, we’ve drove into survival horror, action, open world, and narrative. How the hell do you find gameplay in a movie about a lone astronaut?
Premise: Sam Rockwell plays an astronaut on the moon who’s been up there for 3 years, alone, sending new fuel back to Earth. He has a wife and baby girl that he hasn’t seen, and with two weeks to go, he gets KO’d during an accident, and that’s where I’ll stop. Truthfully, I stopped at 3 years, no chicks. That would drive anyone nuts.
The Easy Way: Ah, that’s the beauty of this one—there is no easy way. No rhythm games here.
The Actual Way: Isolation gives you plenty of time to think. The best way to facilitate this is via puzzles. Not just any puzzles, we’re talking devious, hardcore, mind-breakers, that would only increase in variety and difficulty. The game would take place over 3 years, with 52 puzzles apiece, and would vary, from figuring out how to fit as many minerals into the ship using different containers (shape puzzle) to maintaining the harvesters (Sequential puzzle), and then, more immersive puzzles, such as a mental maze that changes as you lose your grip on sanity. Multiplayer would consist of one-on-one gameplay, with the opposing player as GERTY, the super computer companion, as he challenges you to multiple puzzles types.
Would it sell a lot? No. But it’d be a different take on puzzle games, aimed squarely at those of us who believe in brains over brawn.
So, that sums our thoughts on some sci-fi movies that would make great games—what would yours be?
Guest post by Khan