A friend of mine have sent me a link to an article from ComputerAndVideogames.com about the use of film IPs in the game industry. Here is a passage from it:
Fact: licensed property sells. Take a glance at the Top 10, stocked with such hippo poo as Harry Potter and Narnia, while works of genius like Beyond Good & Evil are left convulsing in the gutter.
If licensed games are so likely to sell that much, I wonder why studios don't risk more, implementing creative, original game design into that products and using established franchises as a lab. I guess some of the reasons are time and a conservative position from people holding the rights to the IP (but maybe that's something naive for me to say).
Take the Harry Potter franchise, for instance. Why can't there be a game set in Hogwarts, based on interpersonal relationships between the students? Maybe it could explore the tensions between Harry x Hermione X Weasley. Of course, I haven't read any of those books, so I don't really know what I am talking about...
Or let's take a look at some Batman games, or any super-heroes game, for that matter. Why there are not game modes where they have to protect their secret identities? Why can't we play Bruce Wayne, throwing parties and building a reputation capable of hiding the fact that he fights crime wearing a bat costume? Why not explore the mutual hate between Hulk and his alter-ego, Bruce Banner?
Still on graphic novels, V for Vendetta is a franchise that could have a game a la Republic, with stealth elements, based on it. And maybe the original Alan Moore's story, for its complexity, could be better translated into a game than into the movie they made based on it.
Plus, even more than We ♥ Katamari, I would ♥ to play I ♥ Huckabees. Not that this particular franchise could sell, though.
Of course, there are exceptions (SW:KOTOR, Lego Star Wars, etc.), but franchise-based games are, more often than not, uninspired. Or is this changing already? What do you think?
(thanks Hugh for the link)