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. Jim Rossignol says:

    “as soundtracked by famous 1985 band The Smashing Pumpkins”

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

    Exactly.

  2. Muzman says:

    Zeh says:

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

    He’s not some obtuse nerd about it, no. He’s generally cool and circumspect about the whole thing. But he’s an impassioned sort of fellow about his work and any corruption of it and I’ve heard that Dave Gibbons’ embrace of the film and his implorations for Alan to embrace it too has driven a bit of a wedge between them (so I hear anyway). Al can ignore publishers and Hollywood people and fanboys. When they send his friends to come drag him out he gets mad (I suspect). The same sort of mood surrounded V for Vendetta too.
    When you resist everyone’s delight at celebrating you as much as he does people start to get resentful and suspect someone of being a self important party pooper (even if what’s happening is he’s just minding his own business). Whatever the case I think he’s right to be detached and not be swayed by the hype and, even if the film is good, the game will probably prove that you shouldn’t let the Hollywood machine have an inch.

  3. malkav11 says:

    The 300 trailer made me think the film would be really stupid.

    So it was pretty accurate, really.

    I don’t see any credible way to make a good game out of Watchmen, much less the Watchmen movie (though I’m cautiously optimistic about the latter’s being at least interesting.). But I did think Total Overdose was awesome, so we’ll see.

  4. Alex says:

    That trailer is ghastly. It’s everything the book isn’t.

  5. mathew says:

    I can’t believe people made the text adventure joke I was going to make already!

    I was going to go with

    > LOOK AT DEAD DOG

    Tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.

    > EXAMINE STREETS

    The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood, and when the drains finally scab over all of the vermin will drown.

    Whores and Politicians are looking up at you and shouting “Save us!”

    > NO

  6. Reverend Speed says:

    I’m about as die-hard a fan of Watchmen as it’s possible to be.

    The game tie-ins are a brilliant idea.

    Prequel brawlers out before the movie?

    BRILLIANT.

    Stalk the underworld with NiteOwl and Rorshach!

    Clean up the docks with Ozymandias and The Comedian (as he auto-vocalises the odd little comment on The Silk Spectre (Silk Spectre #01, of course))!

    Thrill as The Hooded Justice deals swift, er, justice to the Malevolent Moloch and revel in the victory of Dollar Bill!

    Anything that enhances the utter gut-punch the film represents to that tacky superhero mindset has my vote.

    A brawler is the perfect set-up and misdirection – an adventure game (which I would normally plumb for here as the ultimate mix of story and gameplay) would only serve to slow and dilute the mythos.

    Execution is, of course, the key here but a) Deadline games made Chille Con Carnage WHICH WAS WONDERFUL, JUST WONDERFUL and b) they’re going to be available on XBLA & PS3, er, ‘Network’(?). This means they’ll be bitesized adventures, more akin to webisodes or viral marketing than spin-offs.

    With good execution, THESE ARE ALL GOOD THINGS.

    Did anybody mention that Dave Gibbons is overseeing the projects? And, as we know, Gibbons is a wonderful person.

    As is Mr. Sir. Alan Moore of Genius.

    And as is John (“HOLY CRAP WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT PALATE! AND THE WAY THE LIGHT CHANGES WITH THE NEON?! FUCK!!! ME!!!”) Higgins.

    Rabid, rabid fanboy here.

  7. iainl says:

    Sid Meier’s Pirates: The Black Freighter.

    You know you’d buy it anyway.

  8. Bruno says:

    [I am an Angry Internet Man]

  9. Solario says:

    Mr. Moore, will you sign my DVD of ‘Watchmen Babies [in V for Vacation]‘? Which of the babies is your favorite?

    To quote Warren Ellis’ impresonation of Alan Moore: “DC phoned to tell me they were making another film and I said: “I don’t want your money, I don’t care about your film.” And then David Lloyd called and said they were making a V for Vendetta film and how much money there was and I cried a little bit. And then Dave bloody Gibbons phoned and said they were making a Watchmen film, I’ve stopped answering the phone.”

    I imagine he’s sitting in his Magic Cave conjuring demons beyond our perception to lay fury and wraith upon those who produce those things.

  10. Pidesco says:

    Just like the movie, this game is looking decidedly unimpressive.

  11. Muzman says:

    Solario says:

    To quote Warren Ellis’ impresonation of Alan Moore:…

    I heard him say the exact same thing himself once in an interview with Stewart Lee. (I can’t find the audio anymore, but that’s worth a listen)

    SL: I’m assuming you haven’t seen the film of “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.”

    AM: No, no, no, no. (audience laughs) In fact, I’m getting worse instead of better with regard to the film. That was a spectacular tantrum, even by my standards, I surprised myself.

    I’ve decided I don’t want anything more to do with films at all. After all the stuff with “The League,” there’d been some minor law suit with somebody claiming that I had gotten the idea from an American Hollywood screen writer and you can imagine how I felt about that. So, I felt, if I’m going to react I might as well over react. (audience laughs) So, I said, right, that’s it, no more Hollywood films. And if they do make films of my work, then I want my name taken off them and I want all the money given to the artists. I thought, God, that sounds principled (audience laughs) and almost heroic! (audience laughs) Then I got a phone call from Karen Berger the next Monday, she’s an editor at DC Comics, and she said, “Yeah, we’re going to be sending you a huge amount of money before the end of the year because they’re making this film if your Constantie character with Keanu Reeves.” I said, “Right, OK. (audience laughs) Well, take my name off of it and distribute my money amongst the other artists. I felt, well, that was difficult, but I did it and I feel pretty good about meself. Then I saw David Gibbons who I had done “Watchmen” with and he was saying, “Oh Alan, guess what, they’re making the ‘Watchmen’ film.” And I said, with tears streaming down my face, “Take my name off of it David. (sniffles)” (audience laughs) “You have all the money.” Then I got a check for the “V for Vendetta” film. It was just, this was within three days!

    SL: You must have believed there was some sort of God punishing you.

    AM: Or at least he’s got kind of a sense of humor. (audience laughs) I don’t know what I was thinking, but I’ve said it now so I’ve got to kind of stick with it. But, on the other hand, just for the look on Hollywood producer’s faces, “If he doesn’t want the money, what does he want?” (audience laughs)

  12. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Hey, that’s the (awesome) interview I linked to!

    Audio is here, here and here, by the way.

  13. Muzman says:

    oh, so you did. Cheers! (specially since the transcript there seems to be slightly incomplete)

  14. GeorgeR says:

    I like the idea of using logic to realize that pumping out a full game in time to coisinde with a movie release is bad, and with episodic content you could potentially make a solid product but still cash in.

    But who knows. I won’t have any high hopes but maybe they’ll do it well.

  15. Funky Badger says:

    Dunno how they’ll spin a feature length film out of the book, but that trailer is fantastic.

  16. Thomas Lawrence says:

    Odd thing to say, Funky Badger. There’s easily enough material in Watchmen to do a feature length film. The tricky bit is what to cut.

  17. Solario says:

    Thank you so much for showing me that Chain Reaction on YouTube. I heard it online, when it first came out, but since there’s no achieves, I’d long since lost it.

  18. sbs says:

    Found an mp3 of the interview here in case someone want’s to keep it after Youtube dies.
    Like that’s ever gonna happen, but oh well.

  19. Jonathan says:

    My big problem is that they’re all too young and attractive especially Silk Specter. For me the book read as if everyone was having a midlife crisis with Manhattan quitting work and taking up a hobby, Nite Owl relapses into his old wild youth, Silk Spectre becomes a bored housewife while Rorsarch throws himself into his work because there’s nothing else. For me it made the characters much more relatable. I’m only 20 but I’m already too old for this shit.

    Also the film just seems too slick to me. The Watchmen break all their home made gadgets, the people they rescue resent them and the two main heroes keep getting beaten up by a egotistical gymnast. The settings in the book are resolutely sulky and the combat is anything but showy and choreographed. It should have been directed by young David Lynch is what I’m saying.

    All that said the flying clockwork does look kinda neat and Ms Jupiter may not look right but it’ll be fun to see the club slags trying to dress up like her.

  20. Anthony Damiani says:

    Of course, for strict adherence to the source material:
    “What I actually said was ‘God exists, and he’s on PC’”

    …. but, then, it sounds too much like a Spore reference.

  21. Dracko says:

    What the fuck next? An FPS prequel tie-in to No Country for Old Men? A V for Vendetta platformer (The Vengeful Venue of V)?

    I don’t think these people could miss the point more if they tried.

  22. James T says:

    I’d love a time-travelling ‘No Country’ shooter where you get to go back in time and shoot Cormac McCarthy before he’d written that bollocks.

    >get information

    How do you want me to get the information?

  23. inle says:

    >HIT DOG WITH CLEAVER

    >X NEUTRINO

    >ASK HAPPY HARRY ABOUT HIMSELF

    >BURN MAP WITH LIGHTER

    >ASK KOVACS ABOUT CHILDHOOD

    >DROP PHOTOGRAPH

    >TIE SHARK TO RAFT

    >THROW PERFUME AT CASTLE

    >PUSH RED BUTTON

  24. Zeh says:

    I’d take the Dr. Manhattan text adventure:

    You are in an abstract anti-matter state. You feel like your half-life has just begun. You do not exist withing the known boundaries of the world. The void is pitch dark. You are likely to be deconstructed by a tachyon.

    > MATERIALIZE
    You cannot materialize yet (requires level 10).

    > MATERIALIZE CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
    You are a walking circulatory system.
    You are in some sort of kitchen.

    > NORTH
    You try walking north. Kitchen workers scream when they see you.
    You cannot keep your materialized state and is turned back into an anti-matter state.

    > MATERIALIZE MUSCLE, SKELETONS
    You are a walking skeletons with muscles.
    You are outdoor, near some kind of military base. There are guards around.

    > SCREAM
    You scream for a while, calling the guards’ attention and making them puke when they see you.
    You are now level 2!
    You cannot keep your materialized state and is turned back into an anti-matter state.

  25. Andrew says:

    I’d love a time-travelling ‘No Country’ shooter where you get to go back in time and shoot Cormac McCarthy before he’d written that bollocks.

    :D

    Sing it, sister.

  26. john says:

    They have a bulletproof way of not ruining the Watchmen mythos with the game. Just say it’s published by Veidt games, then it’s Adrian Veidt shamelessly cashing in with a mediocre tie in, which is utterly in character.

  27. Funky Badger says:

    @Thomas: The thing with Watchmen is, its so much tied to the comic form (symmetrical episodes, overlapping/intercutting juxtap-positioning narratices etc.), some of the techniques just can’t be done on screen – it won’t work like Sin City – which is a far less sophisticated comic and was translated shot-for-shot for screen. Cutting anything out from Watchmen will weaken the whole structure as its all connected (the Pirate story’s a good example of how the hell are they going to do that).

    It’s both easier and harder to make an excellent 3 minute trailer, but difficult to keep that level of choreography going for 90-120 minutes… (cf: short stories and novels)

    I think. Hope it will be great, suspect it’ll be alright…

  28. ape says:

    Young David Lynch…? Really?

    Hmm, as long as it’s not the let’s throw in some midgets for good measure David Lynch.

    “This is a formica table… it’s color is green.”

    Fuck David Lynch. Sorry, had to get that out of my system.

  29. Kavika says:

    Lol at 1985 band SP. Yes, I got the joke ;)

  30. theleif says:

    The only director that could have made it work was Stanley Kubrick.

    Rorshach and Nite Owl as Action Heroes? No, no, no, no, no.
    No

  31. Rathy says:

    hihi yoy=out koi lol

  32. roryok says:

    If there’s one man who can film a famously unfilmable comic like Watchmen, it’s the man who has taken the unfilmable comic 300, and made it into an unfilm. Such unacting! Such untertainment.

    I can’t understand how so many people enjoyed that heap of festering shite. I think I’d rather have been actually kicked in the face by Gerard Butler