Back in July, Warner Bros. announced that they were planning the development of a downloadable Watchmen video game to coincide with the release of the Watchmen movie in 2009.
This month’s EGM magazine gives us an in-depth look into how Denmark developer Deadline Games, with the help of a few big names associated with the comic and the movie, are bringing this episodic video game entitled Watchmen: The End Is Nigh, to life.
Set in 1972 New York City (five year's before the establishment of the graphic novel's Keene Act, which outlawed adventuring by costumed heroes and vigilantes), the video game explores the peak years of Rorschach and Nite Owl's partnership as a crime-fighting duo, fleshing out the backstory briefly touched upon in Alan Moore's original plot.
The game consists of six separate downloadable chapters that can be played solo, with an A.I. partner, or with a friend in splitscreen format (sorry, no co-op online play). Each chapter is built around events and situations referenced in the graphic novel and will include nemeses like Jimmy the Gimmick and Underboss.
The game is basically a brawler with each character having their own individual special attacks and moves with Rorschach having more of a streetwise attack style and Nite Owl relying more on his high-tech gadgets to take down enemies. The game, however, won't be just all punch-and-kick, but will have some cooperative puzzles along the way for players to solve.
Actors Patrick Wilson and Jackie Earle Haley also lend their voices to the game’s soundtrack and will also contain some cut-scenes in the style of the new motion comics – which stylistically mirror the look of the graphic novel.
If the idea of a Watchmen video game has some fans worried (and I know it does) you can take to heart that original Watchmen illustrator and co-creator Dave Gibbons and editor Len Wein are playing a big part in the game’s development. When asked about his involvement in the game's development, Gibbons explained,
I keep an eye on it, and if I see anything I don't really like, I let people know.
Original comic series editor Len Wein has been charged with authoring the Watchmen prequel game and understands that messing with a fan-revered classic such as this is a delicate task...
When you're dealing with anything that's become this iconic, there's always a moment of "Boy, I'd better get this right." But I figured Alan [Moore] has followed my work on a number of different titles over the years, so turnabout is fair play...
Wein also had a message for hardcore fans of the graphic novel who think making a video game based on their beloved comic series is a bad idea...
We love and respect the original graphic novel every bit as much as you do – maybe more, if that's possible. Nothing we've done has been done lightly and without much serious consideration.
Movie adaptation director Zack Snyder also seems to understand that you just don't make a Watchmen video game unless it is deep down at its core a Watchmen game and not just another run-of-the-mill brawler...
No, that can't be the game. That's just... too light. So that's when we really started to explore these storylines and the "why." Like in the "why" of what Rorschach and Nite Owl were trying to accomplish, and also how they were manipulated.
The first episode of The End Is Nigh will arrive as a substantial download on PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and Steam for PC in March 2009, coinciding with the release of the film.
If you can't wait until March to see more, there will be an exclusive preview of the Watchmen video game during the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards, which will air 9 PM EST on December 14, on Spike TV.
Glu Mobile has also recently announced that it will be developing and publishing a Watchmen video game that will be playable on cell phones. Unlike the game Glu developed for the recent Dark Knight movie, the new Watchmen mobile game will be playable to all mobile users and not just those on customers of Verizon wireless services.
Glu representatives also explained that the game will be “supported by a suite of personalization content” which seems to indicate that themes and various other Watchmen-related customization options will accompany the game. The mobile game is also set for a March 2009 release.
12.5.08 Source: EGM Magazine, MTV.com
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