FireflyBuilding a Better Licensed Game : Firefly
Wednesday 29 March 2006, by Webmaster
Sci-fi fans have been blessed with some great sci-fi television and movies lately. Between shows like Battlestar Galactica, Lost, and Firefly, fans of the genre have been rewarded with some excellent viewing possibilities. How come none of these licenses have been picked up for video gaming? This week, TK-422 takes a look at what would it take to make a good Firefly game.
In our final installment of hypothetical game designs based on good sci-fi TV shows, we take a look at the ill-fated Joss Whedon classic series, Firefly.
Of all the shows discussed so far, Firefly would lend itself to the best videogame conversion. You’re a smuggler, in an open ended universe, take on jobs you want, avoid Reavers, trade, solve an underlying storyline - the show is a game designer’s dream.
My choice for genre would be this: Grand Theft Auto in Space. Add some RPG elements (any game could benefit from some RPG components) and you have a sure-fire hit. But making a hit game isn’t good enough. How can you make the best Firefly game ever? Add one more element. Squad-based mini-game missions a la X-Com! The game would be a Space Trading simulator, in an open ended universe like that of Privateer. You’ll have a general storyline that you can follow, or you can decide to spend your time making money. With money, you can buy better ship components, better weapons and decoys, and better items for the crew.
As a bonus for fans, I would make the game a follow-up to the Serenity movie. Who wouldn’t want to have more Firefly in the form of a video game. Of course, you would need Joss Whedon to write the story for the main plot, and all of the actors would have to lend their voice talents.
Making it a follow-up to Serenity would have the added bonus of... hold on... processing... my spoiler ethics module has just kicked in. According to human custom, I’m supposed to give you some kind of warning that the upcoming paragraphs may contain elements that would ruin the ending of Serenity for those so-called fans of science fiction that haven’t seen it yet. Shame on you! You deserved to get the movie spoiled for yourselves by now. Over-riding spoiler ethics module commands.... Complete.
Well now that Wash is gone, it leaves an opening for another pilot. If you play the game as Malcolm Reynolds, then you need to find the crewmember. This could open up a very interesting dynamic for the game. You can search around for different pilots and different hired hands depending on the missions you take. Some pilots would be better suited for certain tasks compared to others. The same goes with hired guns. You can choose from different specialists with better quality personnel costing more. The problem is, you don’t want to pay too much, because some of your winnings will have to be used to conduct some much needed ship repairs. You’ll also have to worry about food supplies. Better food would mean better crew morale. You’ll have to constantly monitor your crew’s well-being - otherwise they’ll leave for better opportunities - especially Jayne.
Some missions could be straightforward space escort or delivery missions. Others would be planet based. Perhaps you’ll need to rob a train while avoiding enemy patrols. Others might be to wipe out a threat in a certain area. Those missions could be conducted in a turn-based X-Com type strategy format, or as a squad-based shooter format like in Ghost Recon. Either way could work equally well. Depending on the mission, you might need to decide between taking a weapons specialist, or River. River’s psychic abilities would give you certain advantages during the enemy encounters. The aim is to give the player a sense of really being caught up in these missions and having to work hard to earn a living. Some missions could end up paying really well, and those would allow you to get some much needed repairs and upgrades that would let you take on more of the game’s actual story missions.
In addition, the idea of a home base should be established. Those of you who played the wonderful Skies of Arcadia on Dreamcast (or Gamecube) would know what I’m alluding to here. Your home base could be a location on an isolated planet where you can go and stash your winnings and give your crew some much needed shore leave. Remember that the game will constantly monitor crew morale, and that you will have to give them some relax time in-between missions. The better your base, the more time your crew can stay out in space doing missions.
As you can see, there’s a lot that can be done with Serenity and her crew from a videogame standpoint. It’s an awesome universe that Joss Whedon has created, and fans could really enjoy a game representation of the Firefly universe. Perhaps some publisher will be wise enough to pick this license up and create this hypothetical game. The Browncoats would be eternally grateful!