Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What is wrong with this picture?

You have to read this to believe it.

A new would-be game publisher called Brash Entertainment has started talking about its plan to take the gaming world by storm. I must be missing something, because so far they have what seems to me like the perfect recipe for disaster.

To wit:
  • Executive team includes "Thomas Tull, executive producer of the new blockbuster movie "300," and dot-com pioneer Bert Ellis". A 'movie guy' and a 'web guy' does not a killer games executive team make.
  • They plan on "producing 60 to 100 [branded games] over the next five years." Even with 100% outsourcing I have a hard time imaging they'll be able to scale up to that level of project management and find enough solid, consistent development partners.
  • Shovelware is basically written into their manifesto. "Even a bad video game, paired with a good movie, can be very profitable...The safest, most lucrative way to sell a video game is in tandem with some kind of movie that is already heavily marketed". Take everything negative that has been said about our industry in the last 5 years and you'll see two major themes: games are too violent, and sloppy branded fair that is rushed to market to cash in on a license gives the industry a bad name. These guys seem to be building their business plan around one of the most loathed realities of our industry.

In their defense, Gamasutra has posted an update to this initial story that would seem to lend them a little more credibility.

Apparantly, though, I'm not the only one who thinks this whole thing has the potential to become another Phantom. If nothing else I would say Brash should have been more careful in how they chose to first communicate their existance and plans to the public. The MSNBC article is hardly generating the sort of positive buzz that I would imagine they had hoped for.

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Blogger Dmitry Linkov said...

That is interesting. I'm not from the gaming industry, but in general this way of thinking (make games with the movies) seems to be like stretching the brand. In general it can work.

But, if i got it right, these guys just want to blindly use the movie brand. They don't think of making a really great game!


12:49 AM  
Blogger Ninomojo said...

This reminds me a little bit of this story, here on Ron Gilbert's excellent blog: http://grumpygamer.com/5839067

One of the things that sickens me the most, is people outside our industry starting companies right away for the money. Then they of course behave and handle most things like total jerks.

I'm from France, and here the government just decided to help the vg industry with massive tax cuts. This is a very good thing, it will certainly create lots of opportunities but the counterpart is that even more of the wrong people will get in the business, like it all happened before...

8:31 AM  
Blogger Frederick Taillon said...

Maybe it's just a side of the industry we must accept. I'm personally happy the outsiders are the ones jumping on the bandwagon while insiders are kept busy producing the good games.

Some people tried to fix the problem (and failed) by producing better quality movie franchise games. The Chronicle of Riddick comes to mind ; I heard it was a very good (almost perfect) game, yet it didn't sell more than a crappy game.

And BTW, Hollywood is also plagued with all those crappy movie adaptations from games and books. Some just capitalize on it, while the others are busy winning the next prestige award.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Ninomojo said...

But crappy movies adaptations from games aren't making us look any better either. :)

4:57 PM  

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