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Rejected movie-to-video game titles

By Karl Seton Schaefer

karl@fortwaynereader

Fort Wayne Reader

2006-07-10


As the new writer of Button Masher, I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what game to review. There hasn’t been too many games in the pipeline worth reviewing, much less playing. I’m sure this is because we’re between console generations and all the quality titles are being developed for next-gen equipment. This is fine, I suppose, but it presents a dilemma for me.

So during my research I happened upon an article about the new Sopranos video game. Nothing about this game looked good, including the screenshot. I’m not a Sopranos fan like the editor of this paper, but if I was it occurred to me that the game probably bastardizes what fans love about the show (check the screenshot above and tell me you can't judge this game early). These types of games generally rely on the good will of the fan and their knowledge of the universe in place of a quality development cycle.

This is when I realized that my first column will not be a review, but a retrospective of games based on movies that were never made, but someone, somewhere pitched them as the next “great” idea. As it turns out, movie companies rarely turn down a movie-to-game idea. But occasionally they do (especially with older titles), and here are some of the more outrageous pitched ideas…

1.) Battle Beyond the Stars — This non-cult sci-fi non-classic starring Richard “John Boy” Thomas was almost a go, but Thomas refused to do the voice-over due to quality concerns. How bad was the idea that the non-working Thomas refused to do this?

2.) The Waltons (No, really) — Ok, so this isn’t movie, but it was pitched as a farming simulator with a touch of The Sims, ala Harvest Moon. In the end, execs thought the lack of name recognition for The Waltons to the under 20 farming-sim community was enough to nix this one. I’m sensing a Richard Thomas theme here.

3.) The China Syndrome — You’re an elite soldier with the mission of destroying aliens that have attacked a nuclear power plant. Apparently, Jane Fonda was interested in doing the voice over and this game went into pre-production. She later pulled out resulting in the scrapping of the entire project.

4.) Casablanca — This one may still happen and plot details are thin. But think about it, there’re Nazi’s, a little romance, wimpy French police and guys who wear those funny little hats. Think Medal of Honor meets Beyond Good and Evil. This one might work.

5.) On Golden Pond: Return of the Loons — Norman and Ethyl return to the lake to find their property has been run over by Loons. Norman gets his shot gun and goes hunting, ala Big Game Deer Hunter or Duck Hunt.

6.) Brokeback Mountain — The details are sketchy on what they were thinking, but apparently this was going to a game about horse back riding and tolerance.

7.) L.A. Confidential — As a crooked detective, you would take on various Grand Theft Auto type missions in 1940s Los Angeles. Danny DeVito was reportedly developing this.

8.) The DaVinci Code — You play that guy in that crazy popular novel solving the last mysteries of Jesus. This one wasn’t made because…oh wait, they did make this one. If you’re the guy who bought the one copy of this game, write me, I’m interested to know how bad it is.

If you’re interested in having me review a title or have some comment for me, please write me at karl@fortwaynereader. By the way, I made up number 5. Tell me it’s not a great idea, though!

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