Friday, August 1, 2008
By Lou Kesten
The director of ‘300’ is bringing ‘Watchmen’ to the big screen.
A few hours at the Comic-Con convention last weekend in San Diego — the annual fanboy-palooza that has become one of the entertainment industry’s biggest events — should have been enough to convince anyone that video games are becoming as much a part of the culture as movies and TV shows.
The cross-pollination was rampant: You had games based on movies (“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “Ghostbusters”); movies based on games (“Prince of Persia,” “Gears of War”); and comics based on games (“Mirror’s Edge”).
And, of course, you had plenty of games based on comic-book or cartoon characters. New titles on display at Comic-Con included Activision’s “Spider-Man: Web of Shadows” and “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2: Fusion”; Midway’s “Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe”; Warner Bros.’ “Lego Batman”; the Cartoon Network’s “FusionFall”; and Telltale Games’ “Wallace Gromit’s Grand Adventure.”
The loudest buzz at Comic-Con surrounded Warner’s forthcoming movie adaptation of the classic graphic novel “Watchmen,” which is being ushered to the screen by “300” director Zack Snyder.
Naturally, there will be an accompanying video game, but Warner is trying something different: The game will be released as an episodic series on Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network and the Internet.
The company describes it as “a mature action-brawler” that “provides gamers with visceral superhero combat as urban vigilantes Rorschach and Nite Owl.”
Still, the most ambitious project at Comic-Con was Sony’s “DC Universe Online.”
The massively multiplayer epic will let you create your own superhero or supervillain from scratch and explore familiar locales like Metropolis, the Batcave and Arkham Asylum. You’ll be able to fight alongside — or against — Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and dozens of other heroes as they take on the likes of the Joker, Lex Luthor and Two-Face.
Stan Lee, the longtime major domo of Marvel Comics, is impressed by the quality of superhero games.
“Now you watch one of these games and it’s like watching the greatest superhero movie, except you’re part of it,” he said at a Comic-Con panel. “It’s indescribable.”