Around the turn of the decade, that hot-takin’ video games discourse became consumed by a terrible question: “What is the Citizen Kane of video games?” Perhaps because any sensible intellectual ignored the raging debate in favour of e.g. twatting ghosts with a guitar in Deadly Premonition or doing crimes while dressed as a toilet in Saint Row: The Third, this question was never settled. Some people made Citizen Kane games as jokes but we may never truly know. However, if you’re willing to accept a different prestigious filmmaker, you might be thrilled by today’s news from Microïds.
What is the Vertigo of video games? That’s easy: the upcoming Vertigo game which Microïds have licensed Alfred Hitchcock’s name and likeness for.The French publishers today announced that they have licensed “the name and likeness of legendary director Alfred Hitchcock and elements of his film Vertigo” from the management company Hitchcock’s ghost is signed up with. They say this mysterious game is “loosely based on” Vertigo and will draw on “the themes and aesthetics” of it.
Vertigo the movie is about a gumshoe suffering from a dizzying fear of heights who gets caught up in a trippy and tragic romance and… look, if you haven’t seen it, just wait for the game. It will be better because it’ll let you click things.
“The hero will be forced to deal with both physical and mental vertigo as his obsessions drag him deeper and deeper into the murky confusion between the real and the imaginary,” Microïds say. The game’s being made by Pendulo Studios, the mob behind adventure games including the Runaway series and Yesterday.
Our John points out that Alfred Hitchcock has been digitised before, and he himself reviewed Ubisoft’s The Final Cut back in 2001. Plus ça change and all that.
I’m not dismissing the game with this ‘Citizen Kane of video games’ comparison, by the way. Microïds have nothing substantial to show or tell from the Vertigo game, so I have nothing to show or tell you in turn. We could leave this there, or we could take the opportunity to remember some merry old cinematic japes.
That single question was a front for a several wildly different questions about the technical progression of games and their artistic merit, all arguing at cross-purposes. As arguments based on vague misunderstandings of other mediums often are, it was driven largely by games’ terrible insecurity and desperate longing for mainstream approval. Good job we’re past that now, RIGHT GANG?