Alfred Hitchcock’s face licensed for a Vertigo game

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?


  1. N'Al says:

    Microïds license Alfred Hitchcock’s face for a two-second walk-on cameo, well done.

  2. Shinard says:

    Wow. Erm… wow. Of all the films I thought could be made into games… hell, of all the Hitchcock films I thought could be made into games, this is very low on the list (39 Steps could make an interesting adventure game, though). What’s next?

    Un Chien Andalou – A puzzle game, where you have to place two dead horses on grand pianos, then pull them across the room while vicars sitting on them critique your style. The solution is getting hit on the head with a tennis racket. So, pretty much the same logic as old school adventure games, with additional QTEs (yes, the razor scene).

    The Wicker Man (2006) – A brawler where Nicholas Cage in a bear costume punches endless masked villagers. Includes one particularly difficult boss, loosely inspired by the Pain from MGS3.

    Dunkirk – EA promises they plan to respectfully adapt the recent film into a Battlefield sequel. News that dedicated fans must pay $20 to play as Tom Hardy in multiplayer has left many doubtful.

    • Morat Gurgeh says:

      Wanna grow, up to be, be a debaser.

    • antelpe says:

      There already is a 39 Steps adventure game, although it’s based on the novel instead of Hitchcock’s version.

    • Sic says:

      That was my first thought as well.

      Of all the films, why on earth choose this one?

      • Risingson says:

        Once, around 15 years ago, I dreamt that Micröids and Arxel Tribe adapted into adventure games all the movies by Kieslowski. In the dream I was playing a mobile version of “Bleu”.

        And that was not much more insane than what they were adapting at the time.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Un Chien Andalou has already become The Tender Cut.

    • Turkey says:

      It’s an point and click adventure game. They’ll probably just throw in a bunch of dumb puzzles like distracting a clerk to get some keys or cutting a fence with a bolt cutter or something.

  3. R. Totale says:

    But what IS the Citizen Kane of videogames???????

  4. Kefren says:

    Surely this should be a VR game.
    First time I put a headset on a lot of people, with a high drop scene (top of skyscraper etc), they panicked and wouldn’t move or look down. It’s that visceral. So that could create the feeling of vertigo in some scenes. On a flat screen – no visceral impact (which is different from saying a game isn’t good, of course – I mostly play games on a flat screen too!)

  5. phlebas says:

    “Loosely based on” is good. I like “loosely based on”. Just hoping it turns out better than The Final Cut.

  6. lglethal says:

    Forget what is the citizen kane of video games. What is the Xcom of movies?