Designing Filmic Games: Designing the Bourne Game

Gamasutra has a great interview up with Paul O'Connor of High Moon Studios, talking about the challenges and pitfalls of designing games based on movie IPs (in this case, a game based on The Bourne Conspiracy; while not directly tied to any of the films, they are using parts of the films in their game). As he succinctly notes early in the interview, the terrible reputation of movies-turned-games is entirely deserved; while I've read a number of interviews tackling this question, this interview is in-depth and a meaty read in a way that most of the others aren't.

The audience is always behind Bourne. Bourne is always thinking two or three levels ahead. He's going to deliberately let himself get captured by holding his hands up, and when somebody gets close to him, he executes a quick reversal and kicks people out.

... So how do we do that with the player? For a long time, we wandered down these alleys, like, "Okay, we'll let the player do a mission plant. We'll sneak into the areas ahead of time, plant weapons, case the joint, and figure out where everything is." We just thought we'd end up with a watered-down version of Splinter Cell. It wouldn't be as good or as interesting as that game. So we decided to go up-tempo with the action.

How we tried to preserve the character's thoughtfulness and his improvisation is in the contextual interactions with the environment. What'll happen is when Bourne is fighting, he executes these takedown moves, and depending on what's in the environment, you get different outcomes. The controls are simple, but the outcomes are a surprising and complex.

The interview is a bit longish, but well worth a read through.

Designing Filmic Games: Paul O'Connor And The Bourne Conspiracy [Gamasutra]


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