Universal Pictures backs off game publishing - Report

Following poor Wanted: Weapons of Fate performance, film studio said to halt financing production of game tie-ins, licenses rights away.

Last month, Swedish developer GRIN officially closed its doors, having released a string of commercial failures over the preceding 12-month period. One such title was Wanted: Weapons of Fate, a Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment-published tie-in to Universal Pictures' film of the same name. According to industry-tracking NPD Group, Weapons of Fate has through July sold just 130,000 units in the US since its March 2009 launch on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

The game industry is proving a little too cutthroat for Universal.

More than just contributing to the demise of GRIN, Weapons of Fate now apparently has the distinction of souring Universal Pictures on the game-publishing business. The Los Angeles Times reports that Universal has halted financing the production of game tie-ins for its film properties. Instead, Universal has reportedly licensed the rights to make games based on its films to other publishers.

The LA Times notes that Universal still has ambitions to become a fully fledged game publisher. However, according to the newspaper's source, the studio is now approaching the venture with a heightened sense of caution following Weapons of Fate's poor sales performance.

Universal Pictures had not responded to requests for comment on the LA Times report as of press time.

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62 comments
Michformer
Michformer

I have the PS3 version and I love this game. Deserves a bit more attention...when the price tag is lower.

chaos20
chaos20

are you telling me Batman:AA has nothing to do with the new batman films? i dont mean the story, just the fact that batman begins and the dark night did well at the box-office, and a game just happened to be made? i think thats pretty naive

biagio55
biagio55

finally. maybe the big movie companies will start payin the gameing industry the respect it deserves. i cant actually think of a good movie to game tie-in (not including batman:AA coz that wasnt a movie related game in the slightest)

Rummy500
Rummy500

Thank the almighty gaming goddess.

Kfoss
Kfoss

well its rather simple- for a good example of a movie-game franchise- please see Batman Arkham Asylum as an example- other wise its probably not even worth the development costs..

spioraddorcha
spioraddorcha

One of the biggest reasons movie tie-ins are so often bad is because the studios give the developers a very short time frame in which to make the game. Largely because they consider games just more promotional fodder, but also because they usually don't want to risk leaking too much of the film before release.

Desertdback
Desertdback

Totally agree. The big problem is not that there is movie tie-ins but its because these kind of games are more aimed at young children and are very rarely worth 5-10 dollars and definitely not worth 50-60 dollars...

ebonyflame
ebonyflame

Now if we can get other publishers 'looking at you EA' to stop making game/movie tie ins since they rarely are good, the gaming world would be a better place.

x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

Someone should tell Universal that they can't rely on the name of the movie to make the tie-in game successful. Those days ended a long time ago. Now you have to actually make the game good, and even that doesn't guarantee success, it just gives the game a better chance. As a publisher entering a new form of business I think they should accept they aren't going to have huge success from the start. Learn about the game indusrty and study what is successful and try to build on it. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Don't expect to be Activision or Electronic Arts from your very first release. It took those companies over 25 years to get to where they're at today.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

Movie tie-ins suck (well, 95% of the time)... I'm amazed it took them this long to see it that way. I think this is actually a victory for gaming as we might get something other than a tie-in.

Regisland
Regisland

wanted was a great game,but it just didnt have nothing that made people buy it

P8rt
P8rt

The video game industry is an incredibly demanding consumer driven industry that can't be approached half heartedly even by its established players.Hollywood has A LOT that it could bring to the table that would be good for gaming and I'm not talking about IPs especially new unproven ones.Come back when you know you have something worth gambling on.

MrPMPisBeefy
MrPMPisBeefy

Ha! It was only a matter of time. Now maybe other companies will get the hint.

witty-name
witty-name

Is that the faint echoing sound of Justice I hear resounding off the walls? Where were you ten years ago eh!? Damn right they can shut down. Movie-tie-ins are so famously consistently bad, and have been for SO many years, it's something that's always puzzled me why people who are PAID to do this sort of thing can't wake up and realize that hey, a NAME and a license isn't actually going to do all the work. Stop press eh. Now stop ruining good potentials and come back when you're ready to make some GOOD GAMES.

Excedra
Excedra

Is it safe to come out now? It is!!! It is!!!! yay

Excedra
Excedra

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

chaos20
chaos20

i thought this game was average, something to waste a few hours on, good story though. But as far as i remember the only good films-to games was the original die hard trilogy and aliens vs predator 1+2 Batman arkham asylums good too

BatThink
BatThink

Good, we dont want any crappy movie games at all, shouldn't have taken so long for some people to relise that movies to games SUCK!

method115
method115

The game was horrible not surprised at all.

JaguarWarrior
JaguarWarrior

@ athenian29 Actually, they only did the PC port for Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and were going to do a port for the Wii. Though I hate seeing a gaming company shutting its doors due to crappy IP for games, I'm glad at least one movie publisher will keep their greedy hands from the videogame industry.

schesak
schesak

If the studios actually tried to make GOOD games as movie tie-ins they might actually sell some. It's amazing how many completely ignorant executives there are across industry who are incapable of understanding the simple concept that if you want someone to pay for your product you have to make it worth paying for...

education
education

thats funny. stop backin lame games. this aint hollywood.. a lame game wont make you billions.

maaly81
maaly81

I think the idea was good, but wasnt translated well at all. Good for them for knowing when to quit. I wish the others game tie in makers would get the hint

LordAndrew
LordAndrew

Aside from Wanted, I can't even recall any other games based on Universal Pictures films. Can anyone help me out here?

Ivory-Dynamite
Ivory-Dynamite

Make a crap game and wonder why it didn't sell? Must of had studio heads scratching their heads for months on end.

sonic0491
sonic0491

good. so they should go under. thats what you get for making a bad game. wanted.... peh. most developers know when theyre game is going to suck hard and they do nothing to fix it.

newb16
newb16

Woo hoo!!! I am so excited!!!

luciotss
luciotss

It .. THE MOVIE WAS NOT THESE THINGS, THE GAME WAS BAD, BUT, IF IT WERE A multiplayer AND OTHER THINGS WOULD BE NO MORE UGLY.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

I kind of loved the first and last Atari matrix games.

I just wish someone had enough foresight to do it up as a multiplayer First person shooter deathmatch game.

You know with 16 players all rebels versus the occasional agent smith possessed NPCs. And that they allowed the fancy gun disarms and wall running.

Oh well a guy can dream... To some extent this has been done in Mirror's Edge ut there's no multiplayer. I enjoy multiplayer with just bots on a daily basis in Shadowrun.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

lamprey263 Posted Sep 10, 2009 6:14 pm CT The movie wasn't bad, but wasn't great either, and usually the movies are much better than games they make from them, so what else did they expect. People didn't buy it probably because it got abysmal reviews. Besides, even though people are willing to waste their hard earned money on $10 tickets and $15 popcorn-soda combos and willing to sit through 30 minutes of ads before a feature, spending $60 and 10-20 hours of your time (or much more) usually requires we think it out a little before throwing our money away.

I usually go to the first showing...only 6 bucks that way. I usually buy breakfast elsewhere for less than 15 bucks so I save money there too, and bring it with.

Who says you can only eat popcorn at a movie theatre? Its a free country, right?

athenian29
athenian29

Aw man... Didn't GRIN make Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 1 and 2, though? Those were good games. Oh well... Rest in peace, good buddies.

PattonWon
PattonWon

its a great day for gamers every where

NuKkU
NuKkU

thats great man i hate movie games their have only been a handful out of hundreds of games that have been actually decent

colo734
colo734

I typically don't like movie tie-ins anyways, there always very run down and of such a low quality that hearing this story only makes me smile.

PolitickedOut
PolitickedOut

The one redeeming point of W:WoF was the easy points. But that was more of a case of smart renting than valuable purchasing.

Jeff_Boldt
Jeff_Boldt

don't. do. movie. games. for the same reason movies based on games tend to fail miserably. You just can't effectively capture the same feeling cross-medium. .... or maybe game based movies only fail because Uwe Boll always seems to be directing....

m4rkoca
m4rkoca

Yesss, yesss, YEEESS!!! :satan:

lamprey263
lamprey263

The movie wasn't bad, but wasn't great either, and usually the movies are much better than games they make from them, so what else did they expect. People didn't buy it probably because it got abysmal reviews. Besides, even though people are willing to waste their hard earned money on $10 tickets and $15 popcorn-soda combos and willing to sit through 30 minutes of ads before a feature, spending $60 and 10-20 hours of your time (or much more) usually requires we think it out a little before throwing our money away.

jeffv541
jeffv541

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

vectorman88
vectorman88

Things that i liked in Wanted was the fact that some core mechanics were done pretty good. THe graphics and animations were done well and the story did make an attempt to add to both the film and the comic's. The actions and bending bullets was pretty intense. The levels were pretty cool. But there were things that kept it from potential. There was a short single-player with no multiplayer. On normal, it would take you about 6-7 hrs to complete with playing on Hard being about 4-5 hrs. making Only a total of 12 hrs. With no multiplayer or challenge rooms, this lessens value, especially at a full $60 The enemies need improvement. Enemies should've been smarter as well as be different instead of all wearing sweatshirts. Why not assault troopers or acrobatic assassins? If they had put more heart into the game's single player to lengthen to about 20hrs. and improved upon the storytelling, it probably wouldve gone better. Games can do good without a multiplayer in some cases. THrowing it in however couldve helped it too. And having enemy variety as well as challenging boss fights wouldve been beneficial. My opinion: We are starting to see movie/game tie ins break out of the movie/game tie-in curse. I say don't give up. Take what has been learned and improve on it. Listen to the fans & change views. Make a game that introduces the story, keeps players entertained, & place content that adds adds replay value to justify a $60 purchase. I wish the best of luck to Universal.

xialon
xialon

The light turned on! Finally!!

robfield
robfield

They're just not realizing that movie games don't do well? Bad management indeed

360hammer
360hammer

Blaming poor sales on torrents is just stupid. Think about the number of other games found on torrent sites that actually sell. The movie was average at best and given the history of tie in games is what caused lack luster sales, not to mention the 6.0 review it received.