'Officially Licenced Product'
January 2005. The offices of publisher Vivendi Universal. In a back room on an unimportant floor, three marketing executives are gathered around a table. They're tasked with emulating the Q4 2004 success of Fight Club: a beat "˜em up that, despite having little to do with the film and leaving critics underwhelmed, was a commercial success.
We join them as their meeting has just started.
Lucius 'Luke' Johnting (LJ. 45 YO. Divorced twice. Likes ice cream and little league.): "...such a hit the board have asked other for film-game conversion ideas."
Dong Godown (DG. 40 YO. Studied dance at MIT. Held record for longest time spent waiting for a post-concert Kenny G. autograph.): "So do we get to choose our own films or what?"
LJ: "No, no we don't. The guys in Income Targeting and Audience Captureisation threw together a list of titles. We just need to think about the films, what type of games they'd make and something about special about them."
Toney Knoflicek (TK. 47 YO. Unsure about gender of his personal assistant.): "Like innovative gameplay models? Something that captures the film's essence but melds it to the game with great mechanics and an immersive storyline?"
LJ: "Uh, Yeah. But if you can't think of anything don't sweat it."
DG: "So what's first?"
LJ: "OK, Here we go!"
*He reads from a list and makes a trumpeting sound*
"'Enter the Dragon'. I'm thinking beat 'em up. But also Chinese guys with big hair. That whole 'Hip Hong Kong' 70s vibe. There's gotta be something worth mining there."
TK: "I get you. Kung Fu - but retro. A beat 'em up where... Where Bruce defends Shaolin's honour by kicking ass and getting cool new outfits with each win. We can tap into the martial arts and GQ/FHM markets, easy."
DG: "Great idea. But I'd like to expand on it a bit. Let's leverage the 70s aspect more. Let's bring music in."
LJ: "What're you thinking? Special moves linked to songs? When Bruce pulls a move we get an Earth Wind & Fire sample or something?"
DG: "Sort of. Imagine this,"
*He holds his hands up and moves them apart like a cinema curtain opening*
"'Bruce Lee's Enter The Dragon Dance, Dance Dance Cultural Revolution!' A fighting game where, instead of choosing their own moves, players square off on dance pads and 'fight' to the rhythm of Bruce's squeals."
TK: "Woooh! Awwww!"
DG: "'Zactly. We can even have the "Meester Woper" sound clip, but jazzed up – like Cha-Cha-Chaka Khan." *He scratches an imaginary record*
LJ: "Using Lee's yelps is great, but shouldn't they fight to music?"
DG: "They could do, but how'd that make us different? They fight to squeals, but each round they win gets them a special move and that's..."
LJ: "That's when they hear the Doobie Brothers! Great! Why give them the music when they can work out for it, eh?"
*The trio laugh.*
LJ: "OK, moving on – good work, Dong – the next film is Awakenings. That thing with DeNiro as a 'tard and Mork as a doctor. Any ideas?"
TK: "Well this isn't an easy list, Luke. I mean, Awakenings? That's a tough sell. There's no explosions or tits for us to work with."
DG: "We got nurses though, right? Nurses sell."
LJ: "You're on fire, D!" *They high-five*
TK: "Cool, nurses it is. We change the doctor's sex – he becomes she. And he's got huge tits. I can see the billboards now: 'Feeling Bad? She'll Kiss It Better. Awakenings – XXX.'"
LJ: "Boom, shake the room! We got the marketing campaign wrapped! Now what's the game?"
DG: "Well that movie's full of talking – so let's make it an RPG."
*They all pause for a second. The world seems to slow down. Some deep, dark part of their souls starts thinking about forgetting the marketing bullsh*t and actually making a decent game. An honest game. An important game.
Suddenly the world speeds back up.*
TK: "Let's it make a Lesbian RPG. She's a nurse in a nuthouse. She has to cure her sexy female inmates' sleeping sickness."
DG: "They need Awakening."
TK: "Yeah. That's her quest thing. Wake up the lezzers. Anyway, she does this by having turn-based fights with them."
LJ: "But they're not really fights, right? She's a nurse; she would've taken the hypocritic oath. No, she cures them instead. Yeah, that's the angle. Each time she meets a patient wandering around the mental hospital,"
TK: "A mental hospital full of lesbians. In skimpy gowns."
LJ: "She has to cure them. With meds. And when she does, she gets more and better dope to cure other patients with. That's how she increases her ... RPG stuff. Like her uniform gets smaller. Until it falls off."
DG: "I like the erotica, but where's the danger? What happens if one of these 'cures' goes badly?"
TK: "Well, she's pumping all these babes full of joy juice right? They're hopped up on yam yam. That can't be good for their minds - so let's show the bad trips they have,"
*He rolls his eyes and slowly waves his hands around while speaking in a stupor-like voice*
"We'll throw in a few ins-anity eff-ects, like in Eter-nal Dark-ness."
DG: *Moving an almost imperceptible distance away from TK*
"That's cool, but we need more. How about at the same time as these effects harm the nurse, they make the patient look sexy? So when screen goes purple and wobbly and all that, as a counterpoint, things'll happen like the patient's ass'll get crazy huge for a couple of seconds. Real fill the screen stuff."
TJ: "Yeah! And if the nurse can't select the proper drugs to counter this, she ends up suffocating under it. That'd be game over, man. Game. Over."
LJ: "A demented ass! That's genius. If we use these 'insanity effects' properly, we can add a whole new layer of sexiness to the game. Why stop at the ass? The players will even like the bits in which they're doing badly!"
DG: "We're on a roll guys. I can feel it. We're at the bleeding-edge of gaming creativity."
*The others nod in agreement.*
TJ: "Now we just have to push on. Keep moving forward with new ideas. What's next, Luke?"
LJ: "Let me see..."