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‘Forget the movies,’ WB Montreal is focused on DC Comics games

Following the runaway success of Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequel Arkham City, don’t look for Warner Bros. Interactive to return to movie tie-ins anytime soon.

Instead, the new Warner Bros. Games Montreal has been given a mandate: to just make good video games. Specifically, good games based on DC Comics properties. “It’s really about make the game what it needs to be and forget the movies,” Reid Schneider, the studio’s head of production, told Canadian Business.

“If you look over the past decade of superhero games, there were two. The first one was when Neversoft made Spider-Man — I think it was back on the PS1. People were like, ‘Wow, this is really good,’ and then a couple of things came out that were okay,” he said. “Then Rocksteady came out with Arkham Asylum and that again changed the expectations. If you look at the similarities between the two, they weren’t based on movies per se. They were just taking that really rich fiction from the comic books and exploring the characters. It’s not about hitting the movie date or some arbitrary date — it was giving the game the time it needs to be successful and really just concentrating on the quality of it.”

To that end, the Montreal studio is collaborating with DC Comics to develop several video games — there’s one set for release next year, in fact — but the details, and even the names, remain a secret.

“We’re definitely working closely with DC on different titles, yet to be announced,” said studio head Martin Carrier. “It’s one of the reasons we talk to Geoff Johns and Jim Lee on a regular basis. It’s interesting for our geeky side to be in touch with those guys, especially now that they’ve relaunched all the 52. It’s a good time to be working with DC. There’s so much energy going on there.”

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Comments

7 Comments

At least SOMEONE gets it, finally…
Yes, you make a game based on a movie and you are usually guaranteed an audience…but the games are always rushed to meet the movie release date, and sales decline rapidly.
You take your time and make a game based on an idea that’s been fleshed out in comics and film…not only do you have an audience built in, but they will respond to the higher quality game and come back for more.

If WB/DC starts making more games at the level of the Arkham games, they are going to dominate. Marvel needs to step it up.

Focus on quality? Totally new fucking concept.

The Arkham games are fantastic,but the inherent problem, though, is how you do gameplay with an established superhero character and not run into issues where the game doesn’t feel right in terms of the character. A core part of game design is a sense of progression, of the character becoming more powerful and able to handle more threats in order to challenge the player. Batman’s easy – Arkham has you upgrade your gadgets and costume to be more effective on both offense and defense, but even completely unarmed, Batman still has his combat skills.

When you bring powers into the mix, that’s different. How do you ‘upgrade’ Superman, or the Flash, without depowering them first in some hokey plot contrivance? Batman can be placed in a maze-like environment and that’s valid – you put Superman in one and the question is why he wouldn’t just punch his way through the walls to the exit.

Superman’s not nearly as powerful in the New 52 incarnation, though, so with a little bit of creativity, that would be doable, and his Action Comics incarnation with the wokboots and jeans would be kind of badass.

To be fair, too, Warner’s was progressive on this – after so many bad games, they put in legalese with their licensing agreements that said if game developers and publishers cranked out quickie tie-ins, it would have financial ramifications based on how well-recieved the games were in terms of reviews. Conversely, Marvel’s signed almost exclusively with Activision, who doesn’t give a damn how good the games are, as long as they sell enough to shore up the bottom line in whatever quarter they’re released.

It took them THIS LONG to realise that rushing out crappy games isn’t a good idea?

Better late than never I suppose.

Did it really take game developers this long to realise that the average gamer skips past the movie tie in games because we all know they are terrible? Do none of them ever read reviews? Am i the only person that reads this article and thinks “My god why the hell have these idiots only just realised this?” I mean c’mon!

Hopefully the new game they’re hinting at is the Suicide Squad one that was announced a while ago.

hope nightwing, or the teen titans get games soon. firestorm could rock.

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