Watchmen: The End is Nigh

They said Watchmen could never be filmed. Now for something even more improbable: the videogame

Depending on how big and angry a Watchmen fan you are, you could be either throwing up or ordering bullets from the internet by now. Or maybe just writing a really nasty forum post. But bear in mind the circumstances. “The scope of this title befits a downloadable game,” says Lund. “We think that’ll reflect positively in our reviews and should be great for guys who’ve seen the movie or the trailer and can then go online, try the game, and buy it if they enjoy it.”

Sure, Watchmen is a trivial game that would have Alan Moore tearing out his considerable hair – if he played videogames, which we suspect he doesn’t. It’s also a respectful, attractive, and in all likelihood cheap cash-in that doesn’t outstay its welcome. Consultation with Snyder and Alex McDowell, production designer on Watchmen and Fight Club, has given it the same dark, gritty tone as the movie. Consultation with Gibbons, furthermore, means that its cutscenes, rendered in a 2D “motion comic” style, bring the novel’s art style to its newly conceived backstory. Also, actors Patrick Wilson and Jackie Earle Haley (the movie’s Nite Owl and Rorschach) voice the characters.

Furthermore, while Lund insists there’s “no technology for the sake of it”, the straightforward brawling does enlist some advanced physics and heavily motion-captured moves – not great for the flow of a fighting game, perhaps, but a treat for the eyes. Until he stabs someone in the back or throws them to the ground and headbutts them, Rorschach strolls about the levels just as you’d imagine, head down and hands in jacket pockets, his inkblot mask changing with every frame.

“If you look at the Watchmen universe,” says Lund, “there are so many different games you could create. There’s a Comedian game that could be like a shooter or a spy conspiracy game. You could do the detective/noir type of game. But then you’re taking on the entire novel and its complexity. You’ll always have people who react – we even had an email saying, ‘Don’t touch this game or you’re gonna die.’ But everything we’ve done ties into references anchored in the original novel. So from that point of view I’m not worried.”

Jan 12, 2009

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