J.J. Abrams "emotionally hurt" by latest Star Trek game

Director says Digital Extremes' movie tie-in was "obviously a big disappointment"; believes that anything released as an ancillary product "will suck."

Star Trek director J.J. Abrams was none too pleased with Digital Extremes' Star Trek: The Video Game, calling the game in a new interview a "big disappointment" and one that hurt him emotionally.

"The last game, which was obviously a big disappointment to me, was something that we were actually involved in at the very beginning of it and then we sort of realized that it was not going in a place that we were going to get what we wanted, so we dropped out and they continued to do it despite… y'know," Abrams told Gamerhub.tv at the recent Star Trek: Into Darkness DVD and Blu-ray release event.

Abrams said the game could have been a product that "really benefitted the series," but ultimately came up short, potentially damaging the impact of Into Darkness.

"Instead it was not and was something that I think, for me emotionally it hurt, because we were working our asses off making the movie and then this game came out and it got, it's not even my opinion, it got universally panned and I think that it was something without question that didn't help the movie and arguably hurt it," Abrams said.

"I think the thing that we all know, anyone who loves video games and loves movies… very, very rarely does a movie based on a game, or a game based on a movie, really work," he added. "It usually ends up being something that everyone who goes to see or goes to play feels like this was a marketing decision made by a room full of people who wanted to capitalize on a title. That's no way to make a game and no way to make a movie."

Abrams is currently working with Portal and Half-Life studio Valve on a pair of projects and said that the way he is approaching these unannounced endeavors is looking at the properties "from the ground up great, regardless of what's come before."

"And that to me, whether it's a video game or a book or a movie or a song. Anything that is based on something else, it needs to exist on its own terms," Abrams said. "And a lot of times these seem to exist as an ancillary product, in which case it will suck."

In the interview, Abrams reiterated that he is working with Valve on Portal and Half-Life products, though it is unclear if these are games or movies. At the D.I.C.E. Summit in February, Abrams and Valve boss Gabe Newell announced a partnership for a new game and said Portal and Half-Life films are being considered as well.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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448 comments
platinumking320
platinumking320

Still got a 72 to 7.9 on metacritic.  Evidence that its flaws didn't completely derail the film. Ala Lone Ranger, man o' steel etc. Hog tied means like catching a TV show mid season after a lot of important stuff happened. Into Darkness and ST 2009 were far more loose.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

I agree. The game was so crappy, so buggy, so boring that the only thing that can make you go one step forward is the fact that you paid a certain amount of money for this shit.

But that won't stay for long either.

smtgfx
smtgfx

I disagree. Star Trek game is a good game. the reputation of tie inns games are bad. 

Crouteru
Crouteru

The new films are great. Trek was dying from mediocrity and repetition when Enterprise and Nemesis came around. Time to try something new.

PETERAKO
PETERAKO

FINALY someone publicly voices his discontent about shitty movie tie ins!

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

This game looked like a boring, dumbed down, linear cover shooter that's just riding along on the franchise name and movie hype from the very beginning, so as a Star Trek fan myself it was incredibly easy to ignore it entirely.

After release I checked out a few gameplay videos and concluded it's just wasted development resources basically, not even worth getting in a 75% off sale.

No fucks were given, no harm done, I still like Star Trek very much and will simply treat this game as if it never existed.

godzilla_hiper
godzilla_hiper

He is by far the most overrated director of our generation. Lot's of time travel, different dimensions, unsolved mysteries and poor narratives. I'm concerned about Star Wars! If only, if only we could see a script with the shades of grey seen at Knights of the Old Republic...

fzzywarbles
fzzywarbles

Okay Portal or Half Life film you say? I'm all ears Mr. Abrams!!! :)

Kennybob
Kennybob

I dont see why so many people dislike his Star Trek movies, they were awesome to me, here's what I think, the original Star Trek fans will hate his remake movies, but for people who never watched the original Star Trek series will enjoy his movies because they're fun and exciting and don't really care about changes to the original lore, that's my thoughts anyway.

D1N02982
D1N02982

It wasn't your fault J.J.

DrowNoble
DrowNoble

So the director who butchered the lore of Star Trek in 2 films, in favor of just throwing flashy CG at us, is whining how the games "were a big disappointment".

Well Gee Mr Abrams, now you know how all the Trekkies & Trekkers out their felt when they saw your films.

Strange thing is, he does TV series very well.  Yet when it comes to films he consistently botches it.  Cloverfield was a rip-off of a Korean film The Host with awful camera work.  Super 8 was a rip-off of ET, with just a non-friendly alien.  Into Darkness was, again, a rip-off of Wrath of Khan.   I have no doubt he'll screw up the next star wars films as well.

DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

I love how the related game for this article is Portal 2.

telaros
telaros

You took a beloved series about exploration and the unknown, to discover new worlds and reach out to new life. Aaaaand then it became a killfest shoot first ask questions later.

I don't think you could of really asked for anything more of a game based off this new Star Trek. It reflects the core ideals in the new franchise imo. It only came out more apparent in the video games. Retarded and glitchy AI and environments aside.

SubHumanTorch
SubHumanTorch

Kind of torn on the New Star Trek movies, one one hand they are very good Sci FI action movies and on the other hand the only thing that resembles Star Trek about them are the names of people and things.

Scarab83
Scarab83

Great movie, shit game. Not a huge surprise here.

Schreffboyrd
Schreffboyrd

Its a shame J.J. Abrams wasn't physically hurt by this game.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

Well, I was emotionally hurt by Star Trek Into Darkness. Guess we're even now.

your-exhellency
your-exhellency

if a hell of a lot of star wars games can be at a high standard, then i don't see why other games from films/tv series can't do the same. takes tlc from the directors and writers, that's all. if jja left the game at an early stage, just goes to show he didn't give a crap. jja is very hit or miss, never consistent. 'lost' was a huge bag of poo, imo.

nate1222
nate1222

Well, long time Star Trek fans were "emotionally hurt" by JJ Abrams' spin on the series.

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

No worries J.J., bad Star Trek games have been around forever, it's not like this game is an isolated case. I don't think it negatively impacted the movie but it certainly didn't help it based on some of the reviews I read. 

deafwing
deafwing

Short version JJ; Video Games usually suck but don't worry we weren't expecting it to be good anyways.

We are usually, as gamers, just hoping (a very small small small light of hope) for games based on movies to actually do well or turn out good. 

vadagar1
vadagar1

indeed... every time they insult my beloved star trek with mediocre games my brain hurts....

honestly the last good startrek game I played was startrek birth of the federation... and that was 12 years ago 

tightwad34
tightwad34

I thought JJ Abrams would be too busy to give a shit.

jchristenberry
jchristenberry

I think JJ Abrams is the only one suprised the game was crap.  Every gamer knew it would be.  Movie to game tie ins never work.

nick0112
nick0112

the warriors only movie game that was ever any good 

slfmombasa
slfmombasa

@Crouteru No JJ Abrams Star Trek was only fun for brainless teenagers, which is all JJ Abrams can cater for.

slfmombasa
slfmombasa

@Kennybob Some of the old movies and episodes were bad, mainly due to lack of budget, but the new movies are really bad, complete brainless cr@p.

Scarab83
Scarab83

@Kennybob Even the people who watched every Star Trek series and movie enjoyed the new ones. This vocal minority doesn't speak for all of us.

slfmombasa
slfmombasa

@DrowNoble Hmm JJ Abrams is ok when he co-directs, needing another director to hold his hand and guide him away from his dumb ideas.

slfmombasa
slfmombasa

@spoonybard-hahs Was so bad I had to turn it off when I saw the Klingons, embarrassing.

Xatsuna
Xatsuna

@your-exhellency Jedi Academy and Jedi outcast was good games.

The Force Unleashed spinoff story was also good. The second game sucked balls though.

TenraiSenshi
TenraiSenshi

@your-exhellency Most of the best Star Wars games are the ones that aren't based directly on the movies. Movie games, which are made to follow the stories of the movies themselves and that are usually rushed out to meet a deadline near the launch of the movies, rarely work, no matter where you look.

Rickystickyman
Rickystickyman

@nate1222 I'm a long time Star Trek fan and so is my dad along with my mom. They thought it was a great movie and so did I. The people who call themselves "Star Trek Fans" are really just people who don't like change. I mean, only about half of the original TV show was good, and only half of the original movies were good. "Star Trek Fans" have VERY selective memory.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@nick0112 Yeah, well considering the game came like 20 years after the movie you could only hope they would get it right.

DrowNoble
DrowNoble

@Scarab83 @DrowNoble If your sarcasm was directed at Abrams I agree, that was my whole point.  A guy who Trek fans are disappointed with how he handled their franchise, is himself disappointed at how someone handled a game based off his version.  Pot calling the kettle black as it were.

If it was directed at me, I am not the Trekkie that is upset I was merely repeated what a lot of them have been saying.  Basically his Trek films are not for Trek fans, they are for younger audiences that only want Shiney Graphics and could care less about the lore of Trek as a whole.

telaros
telaros

@Rickystickyman @nate1222 Star Trek was good up to Deep Space 9. Never liked Voyager, that was pretty boring, but had a great finale.

You didn't grow up with Star Trek. I liked the first movie, for what it was. They wanted to reintroduce the series without the restrictions and the ideals the first Star Trek series set forth. As usual, we have to modernize and shun such idiot peaceful ideals to make it more 'realistic' and dark.

Into Darkness was an improvement. I liked the villain. Still, I don't think you have a remote grasp as to why a "Star Trek Fan" would be offended.

It isn't change. It's the fundamental change in idealisms between the series like Star Trek and Star Trek Next Generation set, vs what JJ Abrams decided to take Gene Roddenberry's idealistic future, vision, to.

Selective memories? I wasn't a huge fan of the old Star Trek, that had too much Kurt making out with every space chick he could fine, but Next Generation is what I essentially grew up on. I loved all of it. Even now I can randomly pick an episode and watch it without feeling boredom.

Up till the finale of Deep Space Nine which essentially tied the series to an end, and to a lesser degree Voyager, the series was just well written. Believable. And overall, a fantastic show. Only complaint I ever had was that silly Q episode where he gets married or something.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@wavelength121 Huh? What's with the 9/11 remark? And I actually haven't seen the last Star Trek movie.