Okay, so turning a TV series into a video game has never been an easy proposition, at least not on the live action side of things. While we all have fond memories of the licensed titles surrounding shows like Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers, I think that Alias and 24 have shown us that these properties (Even ones that SEEM like good video game ideas) are not likely to ever turn out something overly compelling from a game design point of view.
But, MumboJumbo Games is out to change this perspective with a new perspective: rather than trying to create some sort of high-class experience from a dramatic property, tap into the casual gaming market with a game based on a popular comedy program. And thus, The Office: The Video Game is born.
It plans to turn “The Office” into a humorous game in which players have to handle jobs and play pranks at Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch.
“We were anxious to expand our audience with a property that has broad appeal and works well as a game,” said MumboJumbo VP of product development Mike Suarez. “It will help us to demonstrate that casual games are the true mass videogame market.”
MumboJumbo has likeness rights to the show’s cast, who will be portrayed as bobblehead-type dolls. Game will also feature audio and video clips from the show.
My personal thoughts on this? I wasn’t really clambering for a video game version of Dwight. I mean, I get what they’re trying to do here, appealing to a casual audience, but they will face one rather substantial problem: the audience of The Office is smarter than that. Licensed video games on systems like the Nintendo DS and Sony’s PSP (The two systems the game will appear on) are often crappy, but because they’re appealing to mostly a younger audience parents will buy them because they’re familiar.
In this situation, myself and most Office viewers know better than to pay $30 for a licensed title that likely isn’t very good. These cheap titles are designed to be just that: cheap to make, profitable for their publisher as a result. However, they rely on uninformed buyers purchasing them not knowing their poor quality as a result of that cheap development. And yet, I think that a majority of the possible audience for this title will know better.
But hey, I might be wrong: maybe people want to take on a Bobblehead version of Michael live on their portable system of choice or their PC. They’ll get their chance soon, as the game releases this fall.