The Dream Academy: Inception… The Game?

By Kieron Gillen on September 23rd, 2010 at 5:00 pm.

The film isn't a dream, you try too hard twonks.

RPS are in a SEXY MEETING today, so – as the men of RPS gather to my North London Hovel – I’m picking a few quick stories we missed over the last couple of days. For example, a little snippet of gossip Variety broke from a couple of days ago…

“We are looking at doing is developing a videogame based on the world of the film, which has all kinds of ideas that you can’t fit into a feature film,” Nolan said at a packed Rome press conference. “That’s something we’ve been talking about and are looking at doing long term, in a couple of years.”

So there you go. It can only be a hex-based strategy developed by Paradox.

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61 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    Did he get that idea after the Psychonauts/Inception trailer did the rounds?

  2. LewieP says:

    I still think the lack of a Dark Knight game is one of EA’s biggest missed opportunity in a long while. At least we got Arkham Asylum.

    I’m not quite sure what type of game I’d like it to be. Probably something hitman-esque.

  3. airtekh says:

    Initially I’m like :D

    But then I remember that the vast majority of film-to-game adaptions are, well … crap.

    I shall remain skeptical.

    • bob_d says:

      Yeah, could go either way – they could bring fresh new ideas to gaming, or just be clueless about what’s possible with games.
      On the plus side, film-to-game adaptations tend to suck because they’re done on small budgets in very little time, often by developers who get saddled with the property (rather than take it on by choice), aren’t excited about it and don’t really have any particular ideas about what to do with it. I say that’s a plus, as obviously that dynamic wouldn’t be at play here.

    • elyscape says:

      I think it could turn out well. However, they’d need to base it in the world without being a direct adaptation of the movie. That’s what happened with The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay, and that game was absolutely fantastic. If the player either is Cobb sometime before the movie or is one of his competitors, an Inception game could very well be incredible.

    • Dhatz says:

      escape from butcher bay remake was way better then the second one(since it’s a part of the sequel, would you clarify your statement?).

  4. Po0py says:

    Adventure game.

  5. stahlwerk says:

    Ohhhh, Sexy Meetings are the best meetings. On what occasion, if I may inquire so boldly?

    On-topic: they should get the Chronicles of Riddick guys. Also, I’m glad that Ocean isn’t in business anymore.

  6. Seraphim2150 says:

    Hate to be self plugging here but I came up with an idea of a co-op shooter. All my ideas are at my website so click on my name

  7. Lilliput King says:

    If it’s any good, it’ll be a bit like Dystopia.

    But it won’t be any good.

  8. jeremypeel says:

    It should be developed by Irrational, really.

    But they’ve got more important things to do.

  9. Garg says:

    PODCAST.

    I have demanded it.

  10. aDelicateBalance says:

    I’m still waiting for the release on blu-ray so I can watch it again in the comfort of my own home. One of the most enjoyable movies I’ve seen in a long time and well worth the extremely rare visit to the cinema to see. I suppose a game could be awesome, but has the potential to be aweful in so many ways.

  11. TheBlackBandit says:

    Nolan likes games – he could write it. That would make it good…

    … wouldn’t it?

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      It’s conflicting feeling isn’t it? On the one hand, I consider Nolan to be one of the greats at the moment. I’ve really enjoyed all his films and you can tell he is always trying to push what he can do and what a mainstream audience will take.

      Then, on the other hand, can a film director be as good at making games as a game designer?

      His input is definitely something I would want to see from an Inception game and I would be even more interested if he was taking very much a lead role in making the game, but I would also have some slight trepidation as to whether it would all work out as well as it could.

  12. Tacroy says:

    In re: the alt text -

    No geez it’s obviously supposed to plant the idea that you’re dreaming geeze. That’s what the part with the spinning top at the end is all about.

    • Dozer says:

      Which I completely missed. I left thinking that what maybe happened was that in reality Saito was brain-dead and Cobb was about to be arrested, so he bottled out of reality, went into limbo, and built his own ersatz reality there. Not ‘reality is a dream’ or ‘everything is happy in the end’ but ‘Cobb can’t cope with bad things and withdraws himself from Reality instead’.

      But I’m coming from a Christian/Hebrew culture where the existence of one reality is central and there is no scope for the possibility of direct parallel realities or the idea that everyone you meet is a figment of your imagination (which is what is implied in the idea ‘reality is a dream’). The idea of regarding fellow human beings as being unreal echoes in your mind is abhorrent to me.

    • Lilliput King says:

      It has to be a dream, otherwise the treatment of limbo is inconsistent.

      I’m perfectly willing to accept it isn’t intended to be a dream, though. There needed to be a sense of tension that limbo provides for the combat sequences to work. But then people appear to kill themselves in limbo and return to life. If this were possible, why was everyone so scared of ending up there?

      And why was DiCaprio and his lady friend in danger of going crazy there? Surely you’d arrive, top yourself and wake up again, if it was that simple, and DiCaprio wouldn’t need to poison his wife’s mind. Indeed, this would now seem to be a gross overreaction to a problem that doesn’t exist, which seems slightly weird behaviour.

      I may be missing something, of course.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I couldn’t really make any conclusions. I don’t think I’ve had a real dream in 5-10 years and when I do they are just vague memories of something unclear.

    • Muzman says:

      Yeah, my dreams are infrequent and very patchy and odd. If I was heir to an energy empire in a world where the technology to influence and share dreams existed and I suddenly started dreaming in overblown action thrillers, I’d know something was up.
      Maybe that’s just how tycoons dream and thus where I’ve been going wrong all these years.

    • Jake says:

      @ Lilliput King – I think that in limbo you are unaware you are in limbo, so you’d go there, forget what was happening and where you were, and remain there for years, or even, for ever. I figure it’s kinda like a fugue state, but that’s just my take on it.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Which would make sense, except that on their second arrival DiCaprio + Page seem pretty clued up.

      And on the first time round, DiCaprio changes his wife’s mind in order to help her live with limbo. This motivation isn’t credible if he doesn’t know that he is in limbo.

    • Xercies says:

      Basically Cobb knew he was in Limbo but the Wife increasingly thought after so many years in there that it was reality so Cobb was fighting with her, she wouldn’t kill herself because she thought if she did she would die, so Cobb had to poisen her mind to be willing to kill herself.

      Basically because Limbo can take ages your mind can go, well this is just like real life and forget your dreaming, thats why people don’t like Limbo.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I understand the concept as the film depicts it, but you’re missing the point.

      Limbo ‘takes ages,’ but DiCaprio and co kill themselves to leave. Thus in what sense does it take ages? And why are they so scared? They can leave at any time by killing themselves.

  13. Ian says:

    They should make a movie of it.

  14. Dan K says:

    This has real potential to be something original and fresh. I noticed it’s set “in the world of” not “in the film” If done properly we could have a brilliat title on our hands.
    If they had a three part mission structure where you have to get to someone, knock them out in part one, then get in their head get the info and get out in part two and then exfiltrate in part three. Essentially becoming a two area per mission game. Real and dream.
    They could really work a mechanic aroung the fact that the subconcious fights the invader, making it a hitman style infiltration game. I could envision this being absolutely awesome with teh right devs involved.

  15. Sigma Draconis says:

    Subversion would serve as great groundwork for an Inception game. Particularly because one focus of the gameplay (in its current state, at least) is controlling agents as part of in an large-scale operation.

    Granted, I won’t go without admitting that Inception did remind me of Subversion in that sense.

    • Sigma Draconis says:

      Also, the title of an Inception mod for Subversion would write itself: Subception.
      Make it happen.

  16. sexyresults says:

    SKEPTICAL

  17. CMaster says:

    Well, Inception, for all the hype and excellent execution (and enjoyable over all, I should add), managed to take an exciting premise and turn it into grimy men shooting each other with assault rifles in grimy environments, couple it with some pretty transparent and poor writing and mix that up with a big batch of continuity and logic errors, to produce a film that was well done, fun, bankable, but so much less than it should ave been.

    So I guess would fit in great with the world of games.

    • ynamite says:

      Totally agree with this. It’s a great film considering, but not as excellent as it’s made out to be. The writing had it’s up and downs, but generally it was better than most of the trite they produce nowadays. Speaking of which, does anybody have recommendations for a any especially good and recent, preferably non-romantic unless it’s ridiciulously great, movies?

      I suppose a game in the Inception universe could be really interesting if done right, but yeah, fat chance of that ever happening. Well, we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we.

    • John K. says:

      One thing about inception that I don’t get is why no one was teleporting? As gamers, most of us are willing to jump into the imagination of the creators of what we play and (i think) most of us, were we in inception, would teleport immediately from any danger situation. Not run around with M16′s trying to kill each other (though we might, just for fun). In my dreams I can fly, why I would restrict myself to someone else’s laws in MY dream is just plain ridiculous.

      On a side note on teleportation, I still cry whenever I think of how they messed up Jumper. The concept was awesome, they should have given it to Nolan. Sad about the game itself though, I hear it’s the easiest 1k gamer points to get.

    • aldo_14 says:

      One thing about inception that I don’t get is why no one was teleporting? As gamers, most of us are willing to jump into the imagination of the creators of what we play and (i think) most of us, were we in inception, would teleport immediately from any danger situation. Not run around with M16′s trying to kill each other (though we might, just for fun). In my dreams I can fly, why I would restrict myself to someone else’s laws in MY dream is just plain ridiculous.

      I thought the idea was that if you start teleporting, or changing the world (etc), in someone else’s dream then the more difficult it becomes to remain there – like in the bit where Ellen Page (forget the character name) is playing around with mirrors and ends up getting mobbed.

      That and plot purposes, natch.

    • aldo_14 says:

      oops, misread the bit about being in your own dream there…. but wouldn’t that require lucid dreaming, to actually control the entire dream world?

  18. Theblazeuk says:

    All throughout Inception, and particularly towards the end, I felt like the movie would have lended itself well to a game. The idea of creating the world around you, of multiple levels of reality, of filling roles within someone else’s narrative and trying to subvert that without being noticed – I think Tycho Brahe of Penny Arcade wrote something similar just after it came out.

    • Thants says:

      The main character does mention that they need to hire a level designer.

  19. sexyresults says:

    The game will probably do an Uncharted. Focus way too much on the shooting.

  20. I believe the game will BOMB says:

    Video games turned into movies usually bomb.
    Movies turned into games are usually even worse.

    Look at the game Paradox makes, now look at the games that you might consider playing.

    I submit my vote of no confidence beforehand.

  21. DrGonzo says:

    Yeah lets make a game of a film that’s clearly inspired by games.

  22. Fred Wester CEO of Paradox says:

    You are right!, it wil be a hex-mapped-turn-based grand tactical squad strategy game that takes place in the dreamlands! Or maybe we will make a thurd person shotter, I don’t know yet.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Like that chessboard with multiple levels in Star Trek!

  23. the wiseass says:

    Seeing as the movie (which is quite excellent by the way) almost feels like a video game, this might work well. But then again, I better not get my hopes up.

  24. ynamite says:

    Totally agree with this. It’s a great film considering, but not as excellent as it’s made out to be. The writing had it’s up and downs, but generally it was better than most of the trite they produce nowadays. Speaking of which, does anybody have recommendations for a any especially good and recent, preferably non-romantic unless it’s ridiciulously great, movies?

    I suppose a game in the Inception universe could be really interesting if done right, but yeah, fat chance of that ever happening. Well, we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we.

    • Huggster says:

      A Prophet
      Mesrine
      Ponyo
      Moon

      And some old Guy Pearce, Nolan films:
      Memento
      The Proposition

      Fairly recent:
      Rec
      The Orphanage

    • Rinox says:

      Let The Right One In. The Swedish original, not the up and coming remake.

  25. Minicow says:

    Are you really suggesting that Paradox makes games that no one would consider playing?

    Not that there’s any suggestion that Paradox is actually involved.

  26. Renzatic says:

    HONK HONK

    Press enter to begin inception

    HONK HONK

    Level 1…or is it?

  27. Davie says:

    It would be brilliant if it worked. If it worked. Provided it’s set in the early days of Cobb’s career, or with completely different characters, or something. Also, I must be able to play as an Architect.

    It could work. But, yknow, film-to-game-adaptation. I remain skeptical until it happens.

  28. Impossible says:

    I came out of Inception thinking it was a good movie, but would have been better as a game. If a competent developer picks it up and implements all of the mechanics of Inception in a multiplayer coop shooter it could be amazing, but like everyone else I’m pretty skeptical and am expecting it to be a lame cash in that doesn’t take full advantage of the world.

    Personally I’d like to see Valve’s take on Inception, I think they’d nail it.

    • jackshandy says:

      This will work if they actually make a game BASED ON INCEPTION- not just an inception-themed shooter. If you actually had to design dream-levels and work through them in such a way as to con a series of targets into revealing their innermost secrets, it would be amazing. If they make it a cover-based shooter with a nice story- which it almost definetly will be- I’ll be deeply disappointed.

    • CMaster says:

      I’d argue that the film was more of an “inception themed shooter” than a film about inception too though, so…

  29. Huggster says:

    It will never happen.

    No one is going to back a game which is all about metaphysics and existentialism – its too risky.
    Not a mainstream game anyway.

    Also these film crossovers never work. You are far better starting from scratch so you are not restricted.

    • Lilliput King says:

      No-one is going to back a game based on a triple-A critically and commercially successful high grossing feature film?

      It’s… too risky?

    • Rinox says:

      I think he means to say that the studios/executives will never allow a game based on a critically acclaimed AAA film to take any real creative risks. So that it’ll either never be made or be a bland and undeserving adaption aimed as the masses as so many “film games”.

      He’s probably right. Only really good movie-based game I ever played was Riddick. But then that was more of Vin Diesel’s pet project than an actual studio decision, iirc?

    • sexyresults says:

      As if they wouldn’t? I could see them easily making a third person shooter that barely touched on those subjects.

  30. Dude says:

    Won’t work. If your canvas is dreamland–where basically anything goes–you’ll have to compromise on content because you can’t provide everything imaginable.

    Unless it’s all focused and linear and shit like that. In which case I got my Rogue Spear and my old time cronie SWAT 3.

  31. KillahMate says:

    Like I’ve been saying, Inception is the best video game movie ever made, even if it doesn’t know it. But that may be because it wasn’t limited by specific game mechanics, but played with general concepts. Level design, combat, character selection, story cutscenes… It was good because it was free to cherry-pick from the gaming culture. Any particular game based on it might be to disjointed to actually work.

    HOWEVER, if it were to happen…

  32. KillahMate says:

    It has to be an asymmetric multiplayer game. One player is The Mark, a team of others attempts a heist or inception. Class-based: you have an Extractor, a Point Man, an Architect, etc. with different specialties, each with gameplay dedicated to them. Point Man is a tank, and his game is Uncharted 2: Modern Warfare. Architect is the puny wizard, and her game is the fun part of the Sims, where you build an entire neighborhood, except she can then go in it with the equivalents of the Gravity Gun and Portal Gun and Time Manipulation Device and others. The Extractor is playing Splinter SWAT 4: Deadly Shadows (he gets to plan the heist in the map the Architect just made). The Forger is TF2′s Spy – he is the one right in front of The Mark’s nose, jumping from one body to another, risking a headshot in order to confuse and distract him. The Tourist is a jack-of-all-trades; he’s good in a pinch, but not necessary, and can even be a liability. He’s playing Deus Ex. The Shade is the griefer. A wild card with no allegiance, her goal is to disrupt the team in whatever way possible – she can sense the team members and manipulate the map (to an extent), and will attempt to kill them all. She is playing the L4D Infected team, and the Black Phantom from Demon’s Souls – every multiplayer game in progress has a slot open for the Shade, and any player on the Net (subject to balancing) can come in and play against the team.

    The Mark is playing a kind of action adventure game, one in which he is a detective. Think Spy Party; some of all these people are not AI and not on his side, and he needs to find out who they are, what they want, and how to best stop them. The entire world is against him, but he’s not nearly helpless – especially once the game has advanced enough that he knows he’s in a dream. Lots of conversation, but not actually adventure game lots; conversations we have in dreams are weird, and the dialog system is brief and modular to reflect that. Procedurally generated sentences, if well done, could be quite Lynchian, and are much more flexible than dialog trees. It’s a mini game that the Mark and the Forger are best at – but all team members might be called upon to play it. Just remember – act like a Projection, ’cause if a Mark makes you…

    Dream layers? Whew. Not sure yet. The game might require everyone to descend, but that’s sort of lame. Lower layers would probably be visited only in brief excursions – they’re unstable, after all. Everyone else on top gets bullet time.

    Whaddya think guys?