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What if Rockstar Games made a Firefly / Serenity game ?

Thursday 29 March 2007, by Webmaster

What do you get when you cross Westerns and Space?...Well, you get a column idea that is so far out of my league that I didn’t even write it! This week on Silver Screen Games, a special guest writer will write my column for me!

Welcome back to the #1 column to let some random chick have a go at writing it, WORKING TITLE! Jis the Editor here. You may have seen me in some earlier WT columns as the random bolded phrase that occasionally interrupted. Jordan has asked me to fill in for him this week because I might know a thing or two about video games and this week’s topic. (Not only that, the guy could always use a break. I mean that in all seriousness.) I will attempt to follow his pre-existing format as closely as possible; however, I’m more than a little new at this, so please bear with me. This may also be shorter than his usual columns.

Note: As stated in a previous column by Jordan, none of the following ideas are being put into motion—with an exception noted—as far as I’m aware. This column and its corresponding series is a work of fiction and is merely a collection of Jordan’s and my own ideas and opinions regarding how a game should be made.

With that out of the way, let’s get to work!

When Ranchers Meet Rockets

On the final issue of Silver Screen Games, we’ll be covering the gaming potential behind the Firefly/Serenity series. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Firefly/Serenity and who cannot (or will not) hunt up the movie and all fourteen, one-hour episodes on DVD, here’s a summary of what you can expect:

* Cowboys in space who smuggle for a living and sometimes curse in Chinese
* One-liners via Joss Whedon, the mind behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off series Angel
* Post-civil war fall-out against the evil alliance (Would "Damn the bureaucracy!" be appropriate here?)
* Man-eating people who terrorize outlying planets
* An adorable, schizophrenic super-genius

A series that has so many different elements within itself can encompass many a genre. From "cowboys," one can make a first-person shooter with a touch of brawler or fighter. From "in space," one can make a space shooter; throw in the smuggling aspect, and there’s some strategy and micromanaging. From the ragtag cast itself, one could create one of the most comically witty role-playing games this side of Super Mario RPG or Fable.

It is my understanding that a Firefly MMORPG has been announced; however, for the sake of the column, let’s just assume it doesn’t exist.

Anyway, there are so many possibilities that narrowing it down is going to be a challenge. Fortunately, Jordan was kind enough to leave a list of four categories into which just about any movie-game can fit. Taking it from the top:

Prequel? The series itself takes place after a civil war between the outlying planets of the star system and the all-powerful Alliance. A prequel could give fans a more detailed look into what happened during the war and the pasts of the more central characters such as Malcolm Reynolds and Zoe Washburne.

Sequel? The Serenity crew’s future after both Firefly and Serenity is left open-ended. A sequel could focus on the art of smuggling, picking fights in bars, and keeping River, the schizophrenic prodigy girl, away from the scientists who seek to recapture her.

Adaptation? This would be taking events from the series and actually playing through them. Players who are unable or unwilling to pick up the DVDs could pick up a game that plays through in about the same amount of time it would take to actually watch the series itself. Of course, some changes in order of events and meeting characters are to be expected (have to make room for those side missions somehow), but it would serve as a good crash course for those who are new to Firefly/Serenity.

Universal? This is the only one I would have any problem with (sorry, Mr. Upcoming MMORPG that We’re Pretending Doesn’t Exist for Now) because adding a new character in with the cast—or worse, without them—may potentially take away that which made the series so charming and attractive in the first place.

Decisions, decisions...while the easy way out would be to say, "Let’s make a trilogy and milk this cash cow for all it’s worth!", I think an adaptation could benefit both future and current fans alike.

From Reavers to River

With all the different elements and themes that combine to form this unique series, how could it be shaped and molded into a genre that can hold the fans’ attention? Taking a page from Grand Theft Auto could work, as there are many parallels. Both involve committing unlawful acts and sometimes getting into fights. However, instead of focusing on only one character, players could have the opportunity to either play as different characters during key points of the game or at any time they want. Doing this might unlock a co-op or versus mode that would help speed up the progression of the main plot.

Rockstar Games could easily pull off a very realistic and entertaining rendition of Firefly, especially with a preset plot, cast, and genre. They’ve done it with The Warriors, so why not?