Hey, guys, Jim Cameron showed up at E3! And to announce a game, no less! It's the tie-in for his upcoming film Avatar, and he says they're sparing no expense to make sure the game is every bit the revolutionary experience the film will be! Holy shit, finally we've got a top-notch film maker to show gaming how it's fucking done.
Oh, hey, they've released screen shots!
Huh. That... sure is an armored space marine. Shooting a machine gun. Alongside a mech.
You know what? Fuck this. We've been burned too many times. It's our fault for getting all worked up when the trailer for that Terminator: Salvation game hit, thinking it looked like a cooler Gears of War. Then we find out the finished game is so short that it's over in less time than it takes to watch the last two movies, yet still costs the full $60.
"You're the only hope for manki--oh, wait. The war's over. Let's go get some lunch."
They've Been Trying Since...
The first movie-licensed game was pooped onto shelves almost exactly 27 years ago, when Raiders of the Lost Ark for the Atari 2600 emerged in May of 1982. And man, did it ever set the tone.
It had no connection to the film other than that the main character seemed to have some hat-shaped pixels on his head. Raiders was almost impossible to beat thanks to a series of utterly illogical and random puzzles. And if you did beat it, the game seemed to get confused, displaying a victory screen that showed Indy standing on a scissor lift under a levitating ark.
Did we mention this is the same thing you saw if you lost?
Steven Spielberg was so impressed he actually got the same designer working on the infamous ET game later that year. And when we say "infamous" we mean "the game that almost single-handedly killed the game industry."
Why we're losing hope:
As bad as you think these games are, trust us, they're worse. Here's Metacritic's list of all XBox 360 games, listed from best to worst-reviewed. In the top 100 games, you find exactly one movie or TV licensed game: Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena. And it's all the way down at #90.
Now scroll to the veeeery bottom of the list, to the tormented seventh circle of video game Hell. In the bottom 100 shittiest games, you find 16 movie or TV licenses.
So the situation ain't getting any better. And that's insane, because they've seen that a good game can not only make money, but can in fact make more freaking money than the movie. The same year the shitty Indiana Jones game came out, they made an arcade game tie-in for the movie Tron. It out-grossed the film, and it did it one freaking quarter at a time.
The N64 game version of Goldeneye sold 8 million copies. That's around $300 million in revenue, triple what the film grossed in the US.
The secret is dick shots
Will Never Get Fixed Because...
Look at the exceptions for a moment. Goldeneye was one of the best games ever made. The first Godfather game was excellent, and there are rumors that the upcoming Ghostbusters game isn't terrible. So what do all of those games have in common?
Easy: They weren't released alongside the movie.
Goldeneye came out about two years after the film. The others came decades later. Unlike the shit games, these weren't released as tie-in merchandise meant to ride the coattails the film. These games were made knowing they would have to stand on their own. Why not make every game with that mindset? Why put a multi-million dollar game in the same category as this: