Why Were Shadow of Mordor and Alien Isolation So Good?

Yahtzee Croshaw

New member
Aug 8, 2007
11,049
0
0
Why Were Shadow of Mordor and Alien Isolation So Good?

A few recent movie tie-in video games such as Shadow of Mordor and Alien Isolation were actually pretty good. Let's hope we don't see a rash of them just because they were movie tie-ins.

Read Full Article
 
Jan 12, 2012
2,114
0
0
I've never really seen the point in complaining about the existence of movie theatres. Sometimes it's cool to go experience an Imax movie, or get a hundred people in a room and scare the crap out of them, but more often I prefer to watch stuff at home. Either way, the theatres have a huge amount of money and direct profits straight to the studios, so they're probably not going away anytime soon. Just don't go if you don't like them, and watch any of the literal thousands of movies you can see from your couch.

Also, unless I'm mistaken it also makes things easier for film companies to find out what's profitable by seeing sales for individual movies, rather than allowing Netflix to license their library for a set fee and noticing too late that a certain movie is being watched by everyone, but they can't change the fee now.
 

LenticularHomicide

New member
Oct 24, 2013
127
0
0
It's interesting to note that the article starts out by asking why these two recent tie-in games are actually good, answers the question about a third of the way in ("They're good because they were good game concepts regardless of the IP they're shackled to"), and then goes off on an entire tangent about how cinemas blow goats and Hollywood is a sclerotic mass.

This seems kind of odd, until you notice that the original title of the article (still preserved in the URL and page title) was "The Last Two Movie Tie-In Games Were Good; Don't Keep Making Them".

Kind of a misleading re-title, Escapist Editorial Team :-/
 

TexDangerfield

New member
Jun 11, 2011
13
0
0
Basically you don't like Cinemas because you're a self diagnosed introvert right? Meh, I've always enjoyed film entertainment over videogame entertainment. That might change if I ever go into a cinema and find that I have the option to pay an additional price to see extra content or the movie's ending.
 

J.McMillen

New member
Sep 11, 2008
247
0
0
In the US, many people look down on direct to DVD movies. Without a theatrical release most people won't even consider watching or buying a particular movie.

As for the games being good, I think the fact that they took place in an established universe but told their own story was a good start. Most movie tie in games are just a retelling of the movie which usually have to be rushed to get them released around the same time as the movie. With these two, they didn't have a deadline set by an accompanying movie so there wasn't the same kind of pressure to get it out the door.
 

hermes

New member
Mar 2, 2009
3,865
0
0
...Video games, meanwhile, seem to be a lot friendlier to the concept of new IP...
Come on, Yahtzee... More friendly to new IPs? 3 quarters of the publisher driven industry are sequels, licence or spin off of established franchises. While the movie industry looks with suspicious eyes everything with a number bigger than 3 on the cover, we have franchises that spawned over 14 main games, franchises with the same name every once in a while (Tomb Raider) or even started counting the years, because that is easier than thinking we have over 20 fifa games. That puts us beyond the movie industry... that is almost Sports Illustrated level of established sequelization.

Compare that with the new releases in IMDB, and there are dozens of quality movies with decent budgets being released every month.

Even today's article is about games that, even when good games on their own right, I would not call Alien and Lord of the Rings *new* IP.
 

Ishal

New member
Oct 30, 2012
1,177
0
0
Different strokes for different folks, but I'm firmly in Yahtzee's camp for this one.

To me, movies as a whole, not just theatres, are getting to be archaic and boring.

It isn't just that I have to drive into the city to see the movies since I live in the suburbs. It isn't just all the things that Yahtzee said in his article, it's the genre as a whole. It's boring. Structurally, it bores me to tears. The three act structure or any variation is still limited by the standard run time of a film. It's limiting, and I get tired of seeing the same formulas over again. The most enjoyment I've gotten from films in the recent years have been Harry Potter, LOTR, and recently the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I enjoy these because they're trying to be more like other mediums, at least in the larger picture. They tell larger stories and connect themselves in such a way that allows me to be invested in something, and make my time worth while. It's why I enjoy books, TV series', and games more. Because personally, I get more out those mediums than I do movies.

If I enjoy it, it makes it seem greater being connected to other things. It makes the 40 min trip in out to theatre and back, the waiting through ads for local businesses, the tedious coming attractions, the disgusting floors, the chance that some rude people will ruin the experience entirely, the fact that I can't pause the movie if I have to go to the bathroom, almost... almost seem worth it.
 

Thanatos2k

New member
Aug 12, 2013
820
0
0
I'm willing to bet that the percentage of new IP that was released in movie theaters this year and the amount of new IP released as video games this year is not nearly as different as you think.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

Henchgoat Emperor
May 15, 2010
5,499
0
0
Ishal said:
Different strokes for different folks, but I'm firmly in Yahtzee's camp for this one.

To me, movies as a whole, not just theatres, are getting to be archaic and boring.

It isn't just that I have to drive into the city to see the movies since I live in the suburbs. It isn't just all the things that Yahtzee said in his article, it's the genre as a whole. It's boring. Structurally, it bores me to tears. The three act structure or any variation is still limited by the standard run time of a film. It's limiting, and I get tired of seeing the same formulas over again. The most enjoyment I've gotten from films in the recent years have been Harry Potter, LOTR, and recently the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I enjoy these because they're trying to be more like other mediums, at least in the larger picture. They tell larger stories and connect themselves in such a way that allows me to be invested in something, and make my time worth while. It's why I enjoy books, TV series', and games more. Because personally, I get more out those mediums than I do movies.

If I enjoy it, it makes it seem greater being connected to other things. It makes the 40 min trip in out to theatre and back, the waiting through ads for local businesses, the tedious coming attractions, the disgusting floors, the chance that some rude people will ruin the experience entirely, the fact that I can't pause the movie if I have to go to the bathroom, almost... almost seem worth it.

I can agree with some of this, but only because I've always been a book reader and storyteller myself. I never found that a 1.5-2.5 hour movie could contain great stories as well as a series of films could (Star Wars) unless the story was small and self-contained or a comedy. The MCU is probably my favorite because of the continuity within its films. It makes me feel like I'm able to catch a big glimpse of a world that has life to it. I'm not saying that one film can't tell a story, but it feels like a short story to me. Take for example how TV used to be one-shot stories that rarely had an arc to any of them because the execs had no concept of people ever seeing that particular episode ever again. It took a while but we didn't see continuous story arcs until the 70's/80's and even then it didn't kick in until the late 90's. They had self-contained stories but nothing that spanned seasons or even more than 2 episodes. I think the idea of the mini-series changed the way TV worked.
I still don't want book-level detail in my movies and TV shows though. Some things in literature don't translate well into visual media unless its done subtly. Hollywood doesn't exactly understand subtlety but rather only taps that vein seemingly accidentally before bludgeoning it to death by pure ignorance of nuance.
 

Trishbot

New member
May 10, 2011
1,318
0
0
Didn't Capcom have a rule that over 80% of their output HAD to be sequels, and games like Lost Planet and Dead Rising were practically made in secret as a result?

I don't think the video game industry is nearly as different from films as we'd all like to believe. While it may not be a "franchise", video games chase after Call of Duty and Warcraft and whatever was once successful and copy and copy and copy it until it runs out of copy paper.

And we've remade/rebooted probably just as many games as movies, if not more. Reboots and remakes of Syndicate, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat, Shadowrun, Zelda games, etc. Hell, the VAST majority of titles for current gen systems are mostly last-gen titled dolled up on new machines and released at a premium (Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider, Grand Theft Auto V, Saints Row IV, Injustice, The Last of Us, Diablo III, Minecraft, Metro Redux, etc.)

Microsoft's "big fall/winter release" is just re-releasing the old Halo games with new visuals. Their banking their holiday season heavily on games over a DECADE old because it's a safe, easy, reliable way to make money.

Movies aren't any different, but that's also not fair to the many fantastic, original films that come out that so many people don't bother to go see because Transformers Whatever makes a ton more money. That doesn't diminish the fact that movies like Snowpiercer, Birdman, Fury, or John Wick are amazing in their own right.

Of course I want to see more new (GOOD) IPs. I very much enjoyed that odd "golden year" where EA developed a conscience and gave us new, brilliant IPs like Brutal Legend, Mirror's Edge, Dead Space, Army of Two, Dragon Age: Origins, Bulletstorm, and Shadows of the Damned in short succession. I would love them to keep that up, even as I acknowledge that they have, begrudgingly, done so with Titanfall.

So, yeah, I think video games are becoming more like films in the way their business is handled. Focus groups, market testing, zombies and guns ruling the landscape. I don't think it's going to get "better", but that's what the indies are for.
 

Johnny Novgorod

Bebop Man
Legacy
Apr 10, 2020
16,999
1,069
118
Country
Argentina
Hang on eine minute, Yahtzee is a Generation Y dude? Either he's younger than he claims to be, or I'm older than I thought I was.
 

VoidOfOne

New member
Aug 14, 2013
153
0
0
LenticularHomicide said:
It's interesting to note that the article starts out by asking why these two recent tie-in games are actually good, answers the question about a third of the way in ("They're good because they were good game concepts regardless of the IP they're shackled to"), and then goes off on an entire tangent about how cinemas blow goats and Hollywood is a sclerotic mass.

This seems kind of odd, until you notice that the original title of the article (still preserved in the URL and page title) was "The Last Two Movie Tie-In Games Were Good; Don't Keep Making Them".

Kind of a misleading re-title, Escapist Editorial Team :-/
Agreed. I was questioning what the point of this article was by the fourth paragraph, and then I noticed what the preserved title was. That title, I felt, was much more appropriate for the body of the article, verses the new one...

So I then come in, with expectations from what the title said, only to have them dashed. It was a good article, and I did like it, but not as much as I probably would have if the title matched more with the content.

Things to point out.
 

P-89 Scorpion

New member
Sep 25, 2014
466
0
0
Video game companies don't care if a game if good they care if it sells and with the sales of these 2 film tie-ins you have nothing to worry about in regards to a new flood of bad film tie-ins.
 

Rowan93

New member
Aug 25, 2011
485
0
0
Johnny Novgorod said:
Hang on eine minute, Yahtzee is a Generation Y dude? Either he's younger than he claims to be, or I'm older than I thought I was.
Generation Y starts with those born in the 80s, includes people who are now 34.
 

Johnny Novgorod

Bebop Man
Legacy
Apr 10, 2020
16,999
1,069
118
Country
Argentina
Rowan93 said:
Johnny Novgorod said:
Hang on eine minute, Yahtzee is a Generation Y dude? Either he's younger than he claims to be, or I'm older than I thought I was.
Generation Y starts with those born in the 80s, includes people who are now 34.
Still feels weird to me. I'm used to thinking of 30+ year-olds as an older generation than my own. Though I suppose being 25 doesn't make that much of a difference?
 

P-89 Scorpion

New member
Sep 25, 2014
466
0
0
Johnny Novgorod said:
Rowan93 said:
Johnny Novgorod said:
Hang on eine minute, Yahtzee is a Generation Y dude? Either he's younger than he claims to be, or I'm older than I thought I was.
Generation Y starts with those born in the 80s, includes people who are now 34.
Still feels weird to me. I'm used to thinking of 30+ year-olds as an older generation than my own. Though I suppose being 25 doesn't make that much of a difference?

Generations are so ill defined in ranges that Gen X can be any 20 year period between 1960-1985 depending on which university study you look at just as Gen Y can be 1980-2005.
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

Alleged Feather-Rustler
Jun 5, 2013
6,760
0
0
I know I'm in the minority here, but I found Alien Isolation to be very dull. Dull, repetitive, un-intuitive, dull, annoying, obtuse, dull, cheap, boring, dull and most importantly dul-I mean not scary. I could forgive the dull dullness if it was scary, but its not. I found Bioshock to scarier and more subtle and that has literally glowing eyed possessed little girls draining blood from corpses.

I'm still shocked Yatzhee liked this one. I found that progress was achieved not through clever thinking, quick wits and constant situational awareness, but through endlessly grinding and random chance that sees the Alien go into a vent for 1min instead of endlessly walking up and down a hallway like he did in the previous 23 attempts.

I like challenging games. But the difference between difficulty and challenge is that challenging games dangle success in front of you, daring you to be more creative, faster, smarter, better, and then reward you with attainable, reasonable rewards that advance your progress if you do well. Alien Isolation is just obtuse, with no benefits to progress except more of the same. With an AI that learns from the player's actions, something like new ways to get around the alien would be awesome. As it stands the game slowly takes away options until progress really is just random numbers generated in a scripted subroutine that sees the alien turn left instead of right, and I find I can't take any sense of satisfaction from that.

And don't talk to me about the motion tracker making noise, sneaking around or using items. Fucking spare me; I know all that. Its still utterly useless. I've never been able to throw a noise maker down one hallway and then sneak through another because why? Why the teleporting alien, that's why. Yes, I know its not REALLY teleporting, but try telling that to my patience. Or asking the terrible save system to give me a freebie because the plot hasn't gotten around to explaining why the game sucks yet. I just love how people use 'oh the plot explains it!' as an excuse for crappy game design. Reminds me of those reviews of FF13 that said it gets good 30hrs in.

Yatzhee, you're going soft! The you on 2012 or 2011 would have crucified this game on rusted, Ebola and aids covered metal beams. Seriously, Bioshock 2 wasn't good enough but Alien Isolation is?!
For shame!

(No comment on MOOOORRRRDOOOOR. Haven't play it.)
 

Impossibilium

New member
Jun 27, 2013
19
0
0
Interesting opinions from Yahtzee, as always. Though I agree with other commenters that they seem a little unfocused. I have a couple of respectful criticisms:

- Movie tie-ins have existed almost as long as the home video game industry itself, mostly resulting in a lot of garbage, with a few gems here and there. A couple of recent successes isn't gonna change the frequency of licensed-IP games because they never went away. They've mostly these days been regulated to small downloadable or mobile games, because publishers realized they could make those games quicker and cheaper and still reach a wide audience - unlike years past where they had to have a retail game to move units. If anything, Isolation and Mordor show that publishers are finally starting to learn how to make good licensed games, which they should have learned long ago thanks to games like Spider-Man 2 and Arkham Asylum.

- With regards to movie cinemas, I mostly avoid them as well, except when the latest Marvel movie comes out and I want to see it it IMAX. What I've learned to do is be patient; it's still gonna be the same movie when it comes out on Blu-ray a few months later. Much the same as buying games these days: wait a few months or a year and you'll get the same game cheaper and/or with more content. I don't see it as "holding movies hostage" in theatres, just cinemas getting their money from impatient people, while us patient folk get to watch stuff in the comfort of our own homes.