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Riding the PR Line: Summer Movie Tie-Ins

The dog days of summer guarantee three things- warm weather,
blockbuster releases, and the inevitable game based on those blockbusters. With
the exceptions of Goldeneye and  The Chronicles
of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
, most games based on a blockbusters are
quick to capitalize on a film’s hype, then quickly become bargain bin fodder
once the lackluster reviews trickle in.

The optimists at Tech-Gaming would like to be wrong about
this worrisome trend. So, we asked four PR representatives of upcoming film-licensed
games the same question: “What makes your game better than the typical movie
tie-in?” Here’s their answers, and our evaluations:

Speed Racer (Wii, DS), May 7, 2008 – Warner Home Video Games
rep Christian, “Speed Racer allows Nintendo Wii and DS players to get behind
the wheel of the Mach 6, and replay some of the amazing action of the movie. No
other game allows that. Players are going to love it.”

Our Take:
Sounds like the typical PR spiel. While we agree, no other game will
have the Mach 6, we doubt players will ‘love it.’

Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (360, PS3, Wii,
PSP, DS, PSP), June 4th, 2008 – LucasArts Entertainment Company rep Margaret
Grohne, “Building on the huge success of our Lego Star Wars games, Lego Indiana
will be fun for everyone in the family. Parents will like the movie
references, while the kids will love the gameplay.”

Our Take:
 Sure, it sounds like the
typical reply, but out of all the summer movie tie-ins, Lego Indy has the best
chance of critical success. Plus critics can’t complain about the requisite ‘mine

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (360, PS3, Ps2,
Wii, DS, PC), May 16th, 2008 – unnamed Disney Interactive rep (via
e-mail), “The game will feature up to 20 playable characters, with different
strengths and abilities, as well as non-linear levels…Go beyond the film with a
special cut scene starring Prince Caspian himself.”

Our Take:
Let’s hope the game isn’t as cookie-cutter as Disney Interactive’s
response.  Still the idea of a children’s
game being ‘non-linear’ sounds good to us, but how far off of the films plot
can games venture?

Kung Fu Panda (360, Ps3, Ps2, Wii, DS, PC), June 4th,
2008 – (name withheld) Activision rep (via e-mail), “Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq:
ATVI) announced today the next installment in the classic vehicular-combat
franchise Vigilante 8®, Vigilante 8: Arcade for Xbox LIVE Arcade…”

Our Take:
Hmm, while we enjoyed V8 for the PS1, our question was about Kung-Fu
Panda. Instead we received a press release of an Xbox Live Marketplace game.
Activision, are you telling us something?

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.


  1. Wow, PR people sound like robots. I think Lego Indy will be the only worthwhile game of the bunch.

  2. Wow, one special cut scene with Prince C? I’m putting my pre-order money down as we type.

  3. Mmm, What about Iron Man? I’d like to see what Sega would have to say about that game.

  4. DesertEagleXIX

    My Sega contact never got back to me on that one. Same with Get Smart: The Mobile Game. Hence, the obvious omissions…

  5. Hahaha, funny stuff with Activision.

  6. Is that a real train? Looks kinda fake

  7. What exactly did you expect from PR people? That they were going to flatly state, “Yes, this game is a piece of crap. We’ve just try to make a quick buck”

  8. I think it was kind of tongue in check SVC, although maybe they thought an actual good licensed game will come out this year.

  9. Only one problem, the Lego Indiana Jomes Game won’t feature anything from the Crystal Skull. It’s the first three films only.

  10. But it’s still LICENSED and tied to the new films hype release dude.

  11. What the hell is V8?!?!

  12. You should state who that Activision person is, I seriously doubt they;d fire someone over a relativly minor error like that.

  13. Welcome aboard the PR Line, next stop BS-ville! ALLL A-BORED!

  14. David, mock-up pic.

    I try to stay as far away as possible from licensed titles. They nearly always suck, as the article mentions.

  15. I’m looking forward to part 2.

  16. Except for Lego Indiana Jones, most true games don’t care about these titles.

  17. Kung Fu Panda looks pretty funny. I’ll see the movie, but skip the game.

  18. What about Segas Hulk game? That could go either way.

  19. Don’t rag on Iron Man, OK game to me.