Video game tie-ins tend to be a losing prospect. They’re cheap, they’re half-hearted, and tend to exist as simply another piece of merchandise that will end up in a 70% off bin six months later. They’re are exceptions: GoldenEye 007 and Spider-Man 2 come to mind, but quality tie-ins are few and far between. Whether the upcoming Star Trek game will be good as a game remains to be seen, but executive producer and screenwriter Roberto Orci says it will function as canon. Orci goes on to say, “It’s going to be a story that fits into our movies, and fits into between the first two movies.” That’s a dangerous prospect. Hit the jump for quotes from Orci on the game and why I think this could seriously backfire.
Speaking to GamePro [via Bleeding Cool], Orci explains,
We would not allow a game to go out if it was not somehow a part of the continuity.
I thought that was a decision that rested with Paramount, but okay. Orci, and I assume the “we” are co-writers Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof, and director J.J. Abrams, could have that level of control over a video game tie-in. Orci continues:
What’s great about the game is that it gets to show that middle step. You get to see Kirk and Spock in a way you’re not going to in the movie. They’re becoming friends; they’re going on adventures you’re not going to see in the movies. The game is giving you new insight into who they are.
See, this is where I gets problematic. If you’re going to add external media that is also canon, it cannot be crucial to the overall story. Star Trek 2 should be able to exist on its own and other media shouldn’t detract from the movie. If you transplant character development between Kirk and Spock into another medium, does that end up depriving the movie of those elements?
We want to make sure that in a way the game is its own movie. I don’t want to give away who the villains are, but the people in the game might be people who end up in the movie. I like to think of the game as a movie we’ve might have done. We treat the game with the same respect. I can say that the villains are very much in canon.
Again, that’s a problem. Prior to 2009’s Star Trek, there was Star Trek: Countdown, a miniseries of comics that served as a kind of prequel to the film. I spoke to some people who were confused by certain elements of the movie’s story and thought there were some serious plotholes and weak storytelling. Defenders then pointed to Countdown as an explanation. But no one should have to read a comic or play a video game in order to better understand a movie. It should augment the world rather than become a crucial element of understanding the main storyline’s narrative.
We want to make sure that we’re true to what happened in the universe. The things I want to see a lot of the same things that happened in Star Trek, a lot of the same scenarios but I want see them in a new way. In the original series they met the doomsday machine. What would happen if they met it now?
This is where I can get on board. If it’s just another story, something inconsequential but lets the player take a spin in Abrams’ Trek universe but won’t deprive those who skip the game from fully enjoying Star Trek 2. We’ll see how it all comes together when the game comes out next year.