Who Plays The Watchmen?

By Alec Meer on July 24th, 2008 at 10:29 am.

The Comedian is dead. Apart from cameo appearances, presumably

The Superman exists, and he’s on PC. Yes, Watchmen: The Graphic Novel: The Film: The Game is go. The entire internet is possibly clenching every muscle it’s got in anxiety at just how what’s widely-agreed to be the superhero graphic novel could suit an electric videogame. Sadly, it won’t be Dr Manhattan’s Sim Everything or Rorschach’s Inkblot Psycho-Challenge, but instead “visceral superhero combat.” Just like the comic! Grunt. More details and official announcement beneath the cut.

News that it’ll be episodic and focused on Rorschach and Nite Owl’s criminal-duffing-up prior to the events of Watchmen itself is perhaps reassuring. For one because their underworld-hounding is possibly well-suited to the sort of action game that licensed titles tend to be, and for a second because there’s thus no risk of fouling up the graphic novel itself. Though Dr Manhattan in Vietnam would be quite a level.

It’s to be a downloadable title rather than retail by the sound of it, which presumably means it won’t be a triple-AAA super-shiny affair – but perhaps that’s also for the best, as it means there can be more focus on how the thing plays than on its graphic technology. The first episode’s due in just eight months – March 2009, coinciding with the release of the film.

The developer is, reportedly, Deadline Games, best known for Total Overdose. I say this to them: Not even in the face of short-deadline,tight-budget Armageddon. Never compromise.

Absolutely no details other than that. I’d imagine it’s safe to say Alan Moore will not be involved.

Given there’s no imagery yet, here’s the movie trailer, as soundtracked by famous 1985 band The Smashing Pumpkins:

/Me keeps very, very quiet.

And here’s the press release in its entirety:

Burbank, Calif. – July 23, 2008 – Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will publish WATCHMEN, an episodic downloadable game based on the upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures’ film for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PC in 2009.

The game captures the action and intrigue of the “Watchmen” feature film, directed by Zack Snyder, who previously helmed the blockbuster “300.” The screenplay for “Watchmen” is by David Hayter and Alex Tse, based on the award-winning graphic novel illustrated by Dave Gibbons and published by DC Comics. The film is produced by Lawrence Gordon (“Die Hard”), Lloyd Levin (“United 93”) and Deborah Snyder (“300”), with Herbert W. Gains (“The Brave One”) and Thomas Tull (“The Dark Knight”) serving as executive producers. “Watchmen” is a presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures and Paramount Pictures in association with Legendary Pictures.

A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, “Watchmen” will take us to the brink of destruction. In alternate 1985 America – in which costumed superheroes are not only real but have ultimately been outlawed – one former hero goes looking for the truth behind the murder of one of his own, but uncovers a devastating conspiracy to drag the world implacably closer to its own end.

Playing the film’s core group of “masks,” the masked adventurers at the center of the story, are Malin Akerman (“The Heartbreak Kid”), Billy Crudup (“The Good Shepherd”), Matthew Goode (“Match Point”), Carla Gugino (“Night at the Museum”), Oscar nominee Jackie Earle Haley (“Little Children”), Stephen McHattie (“Shoot ‘em Up”), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”), and Patrick Wilson (“Little Children”).

“We’re bringing the Watchmen universe to gamers in a distinct episodic game revealing action and combat for a great overall experience for fans,” said Samantha Ryan, Senior Vice President, Production and Development, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “The filmmakers have been extremely helpful in developing the high-quality game story and we are working to match the outstanding visual style of the film.”

The videogame based on WATCHMEN will go beyond the film and delve into the characters, rivalries and challenges in a mature action-brawler. The game provides gamers with visceral superhero combat as urban vigilantes Rorschach and Nite Owl.

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83 Comments »

  1. Ginger Yellow says:

    “News that it’ll be episodic and focused on Rorschach and Nite Owl’s criminal-duffing-up prior to the events of Watchmen itself is reassuring. ”

    Really? If I want a brawler I’ll play God of War or Devil May Cry. I suspect this is going to be more like Streets of Rage with Watchmen branding. Wouldn’t you rather have a Ron Gilbert/Tim Schaeffer style adventure game? Or an open world crimefighting/apocalypse stopping game? Or even an RPG?

  2. Nilocy says:

    Hmm, I expected some sort of generic film game to come out for Watchmen, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it will be expanding, hopefully, the Watchmen universe not just retelling the story completely.

  3. Alec Meer says:

    I meant reassuring compared to the idea of roundhouse-punching your way through the events of Watchmen itself. I’m not optimistic enough to think a movie spin-off game that’s due in March 2009 and only going into production now would be anything other than a straight combat affair.

  4. Albides says:

    Hear that? It’s a sort of sizzling sound. Oh, it’s Alan Moore’s beard singeing from the fiery rage!

    Okay, okay, I won’t be negative – there’s been too much of that. Someone showed me the trailer recently and I got a thrill out of seeing one of my favourite scenes, Doctor Manhattan and his martian castle…thing. The rest looked all right too. Still, can’t help but be wary about a movie being made about a comic that deconstructs the comic book hero. But we’ll see.

    On the game, I’d agree that basing it on events prior to The Watchmen was a smart move.

  5. cullnean says:

    comming soon THE SANDMAN

    fight your way with kung fu as Dream of the endless and his side kick Death to a stunning conclusion with the kindly ones

    features:

    william shakespear the spear chucker of yester year and quick time events

  6. phuzz says:

    So very, very worried that they’re going to balls the film right up, but at least, as Jim says, the game can’t do *bad things* to my memory of the graphic novel.
    (which if you haven’t read it yet, then the internets are very angry with you. ANGRY)

  7. skillian says:

    Don’t care about the game, but that trailer is awesome :)

  8. Ginger Yellow says:

    “william shakespear the spear chucker of yester year and quick time events”

    Patapon 2: The Two Yaripon of Verona

  9. Andrew says:

    The game will most likely be terrible (or at best mediocre and unrelated to the comic) but I am incredibly optimistic about the film. I have faith they can pull it off.

  10. Muzman says:

    Some people seem to think Moore ought to just let it go and relax each time one of his things gets adapted. It’s always like “This time it’ll be ok. Stop being mr grumpy”. While Watchmen looks like the best job yet, that really isn’t saying much. And really, this sounds like your typical film tie-in game doesn’t it (A brawler? Even if it’s a brilliant brawler, how good can it be? This is Watchmen we’re talking about), which means Al scores another point.

  11. Sucram says:

    Perhaps Moore will kill the people who adapt his material, perhaps they’ll kill him. Perhaps sooner. Perhaps later.

    I just want to know that they’ll make a genuine attempt to talk things over and avert that outcome.

    Just once.

  12. Colinmarc says:

    Yikes! That could be very upsetting. If it’s bad, please, just let us forget about it…

  13. Andrew says:

    Well, with the film, Moore refused to have any dialogue with Snyder because of previous experiences when he did talk to the producers and the adaptations still ended up rather divergent.

    But Snyder is still making all the right noises regarding keeping it the same as the book, and ‘getting the ending right’, and so on. And the attention to detail on sets is incredible.

  14. matte_k says:

    no, no, no, no, NO!!!!!!!!! I SAID NO!!

    *sigh* Why does it have to have a fucking game tie in? Why can’t we just enjoy it as it was meant to be- a graphic novel?
    Call me a purist, but I’m in two minds about the film as it is, although I must admit the trailer looks more promising than I expected.

    But a GAME? Of Watchmen? Oh, please, it’s so obviously a pathetic money grabbing idea dreamt up by those cocksmiths in marketing. I don’t often get riled about stuff on the net, or stuff like this, but I’m tired of dollars being slapped onto almost everything in sight.

    Some things should be left as they are.

    (Ranting over, matte_k scurries back under his stone and waits for the storm to start…)

  15. Phil says:

    @Sucram
    You seem to suggest it is possible to have a rational dialogue with the monsters who adapted the League of Gentlemen and From Hell; frankly I’m not suprised Moore prefers the company of a snake god that lives only in his mind.

    As to the game though, wouldn’t a stealth-em up be more appropriate for both characters, what with Nite Owls gagets and Rorschach’s Splinter Cell style take downs? Then you could have Comedian-in-Nam levels to blow off steam.

  16. Jonas says:

    I actually read The Watchmen for the first time quite recently, and I remember trying to figure out how it could be adapted into a game. I don’t think I really liked any of the options I perceived. But maybe Deadline will do better than me.

  17. Jon says:

    I’ve never read Watchmen, should I?

  18. Meat Circus says:

    @Jon:

    Yes. It’s one of the best comics ever committed into palpable inks.

    @THE GAME:

    Kill me now.

  19. cullnean says:

    should be a point and click detective flash game

  20. cullnean says:

    also can some one clear this up for me….

    dr manhattan states that he and the comidian were the only two “extra normal operatives working for the goverment” in that case did the comedian actually have powers?

  21. Howard says:

    Creating a game of Watchmen is possbily the only thing more stupid than making it into a movie. Both will be appaling beyond measure…

  22. Muzman says:

    Phil says:
    … Rorschach’s Splinter Cell style take downs

    Maybe I haven’t played enough Splinter Cell but I thought that was a game of subtlety. I must have missed the “Bust into local hood haunt and break fingers until someone spills (then steal food out of the fridge)” minigame.
    Not that I’m suggesting that wouldn’t be fun, mind.

  23. houseinrlyeh says:

    Yes! A brawler. It’s obviously the best thing to do with Watchmen.
    I’m now very much looking forward to “Christopher Marlowe vs William Shakespeare”. Although that would really be kind of awesome…

  24. Meat Circus says:

    @cullnean:

    The Comedian has the ability to “see the strings”, IIRC.

  25. sigma83 says:

    @cullnean: Manhattan’s comment simply meant that the only legal exceptions to the Keene Act are himself and the Comedian. Everyone else is technically a vigilante and an outlaw.

    For anyone who HASN’T read the book, you owe it to yourself as a human being to read it.

  26. cullnean says:

    thanks peeps

  27. Okami says:

    Great idea! They should bundle it with the “V for Vendetta” RTS and maybe throw in the “300″ dating sim…

  28. Jonas says:

    houseinrlyeh: Christopher Marlowe vs William Shakespeare, you say? Are you willing to sell the rights to that concept?

  29. houseinrlyeh says:

    Jonas: Since Marley and Shakespeare are way out of copyright, and people hitting each other probably too, I just say: knock yourself out.

    Edit: ’cause I can’t spell.

  30. Albides says:

    Someone should totally photoshop that over an Aliens Vs Predator poster.

  31. Andrew says:

    The game should be a text adventure.

    >use Rorschach on fingers

  32. sigma83 says:

    >get information

  33. ape says:

    I must admit the movie looks quite good and I am a sucker for that particular Pumpkins song.

    My only measure of “fidelity” would be that the movie must be as subversive to the superhero film as Watchmen was to superhero comics. Any other divergence in detail I would consider incidental to the difference in mediums.

  34. ape says:

    Oh but the game really sounds like a rubbish tie-in for the movie.

    Also what the hell is there to expand? Watchmen is a finite piece of literature, it’s narrative is done and complete. I really wish hollywood would just pay for posters advertising actual books and comics and games rather than constantly adapting them to subpar shortcash ventures.

  35. Guy says:

    They can do whatever they like. Nothing will ever make the book less great then it is. It will live on as an amazing piece of art and the movie and the “video game” will be tiny postscripts.

  36. Ginger Yellow says:

    >look at blot

    You see a pretty butterfly.

    >look at blot

    You see a dog’s head split in half.

  37. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    @ houseinryleh: If someone can make a fighting game out of Les Misérables then I wouldn’t be at all suprised if someone got around to giving Elizabethan playwrights the same treatment (if such a game doesn’t already exist).

    Also, that trailer doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. It’s good to know that the man himself has a sense of humour about the adaptations though (or at least did, going by this interview).

  38. Jonathon Halliwell says:

    “Famous 1985 band”, what?

  39. houseinrlyeh says:

    Man Raised By Puffins: Oh boy. The worst thing is now I actually want to play that.

    Jonathon Halliwell: Watchmen is set in 1985, so the Pumpkins are a strange choice.

  40. Colinmarc says:

    >blow up the troll

  41. Paul Moloney says:

    “Also, that trailer doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.”

    “300″ had possibly the greatest trailer I’ve ever seen, but the resulting movie was a tad meh. So the fact that this trailer didn’t blow me away is a tad worrying. It came across more like a series of snapshots to reassure fanboys that they got the look and feel right. If I hadn’t read the book, I’d imagine my reaction would be “what the ….?”.

    P.

  42. someyoungguy says:

    by “1985″ I assume you mean “1995″

    also, the only reasonably decent thing to be done with the Watchmen fiction outside of the comic is the song “Who Watches the Watchmen” by Prize Fighter Inferno. all else can boil in mucus and bile.

  43. Arsewisely says:

    1988 according to wikipedia…
    Wasn’t that Smashing Pumpkins song used before on one of the shittier Batman movies?

  44. Alec Meer says:

    You assume wrongly, sir. (The answer is up-thread).

  45. Zeh says:

    Muzman: Why do you think Alan Moore cares? I don’t see him posting comments here.

    Moore’s approach is actually quite detached. He considers Watchmen (and the rest of his work) work he has done for someone and that’s it. It doesn’t belong to him anymore. When people ask (on interviews), he says he think it’s going to suck, but that’s about it. He’s not posting entries on his livejournal crying about how there’s no justice in the world. He lets the right owners do whatever they want to do, as long as they agree to not use his name for publicity. THAT’s the only thing that bugs him out. If you read some of his interviews you’ll see – he does state the reasons why he thinks Watchmen wouldn’t translate to movie, but he does so in a nonchalant way. He also refuses any kind of payment, redirecting everything to Dave Gibbons. He just doesn’t want to be tied to the project(s) in any way, and doesn’t want to waste his time complaining either. I think he’s a genius, but people thinking he’s also this uber-nerd who doesn’t get over stuff are missing the point.

  46. Alan Moore says:

    Dear lord its a comic book for kiddies grow up!

    Go buy some Jazz mag’s that what i wanted to write in when i was a lad

  47. cullnean says:

    sorry couldnt help myself

    btw i <3 killing joke (the book not the band)

  48. someyoungguy says:

    “as soundtracked by famous 1985 band The Smashing Pumpkins”

    didn’t exist until 1988. didn’t hit their stride until ’95. just sayin’.

    @arsewisely
    the song is called “the beginning is the end is the beginning”(horrible song title), and, as you say, was produced for Batman and Robin. im pretty sure theyre going for the whole ironic-allusion thing. good marketing.

  49. Citizen Parker says:

    @Ginger

    Come now, who wouldn’t play a Watchmen-branded Streets of Rage?

    I’d empty my money to see Rorshach fight fire-breathing boxing robots in an illegal underground fighting ring accessible only via a secret tunnel from a baseball stadium’s pitcher’s mound, itself only accessible from a nearby pirate ship.

    Man, I miss Streets of Rage

  50. Zeh says:

    You know what could work? A street brawler like that, but made by Veidt Enterprises. Call it Veidt-con. The comics’ arcadey take on itself, but removed from the comics and brought back to life. Like “Macross: Do You Remember Love” was a movie about Macross set INSIDE the Macross universe, creating this meta-world that is completely bogus but wholy entertaining.

    I’m bleeding with nerdness today.