Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas First Look

Capcom shows off its upcoming third-person action game based on Tim Burton's classic film.

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Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas is the upcoming third-person action adventure game from Capcom and Buena Vista Interactive that was first announced at this year's Tokyo Game Show. The title is being developed through a collaboration between both companies and involves input from members of the original motion picture's creative team. Representatives from Capcom and Buena Vista were on hand at an event in San Francisco last night to provide us with a closer look at the upcoming game.

Following a trailer that was similar to the one shown at TGS, Capcom presented several prerecorded interviews with various people who are working on the project. Producer Tatsuya Minami detailed Capcom's lengthy development relationship with Disney and went on to speak about the company's intentions with this new franchise. Of course, the team at Capcom plans to make a game that's both original and consistent with the original film that Tim Burton created. Since fans of the movie have been familiar with the world and characters for 10 years now, there's a tremendous incentive to remain faithful to the source material and to create a new and interesting chapter in the story at the same time.

The video showed concept designs and prototype graphical styles that the team has gone through in its quest to craft a video game worthy of Tim Burton's twisted world. One early version of the game had Jack Skellington and company clothed in a cel-shaded effect, and though this looked impressive enough to us, it was stated that the team had felt a more appropriate look was eluding them. Deane Taylor, the original art director on the film, has since come on board as art director for The Nightmare Before Christmas game to help the team craft a look for the game that's as true to the movie as possible. In a short video missive, Taylor seemed excited about this new opportunity to revisit and (to an extent) reimagine the world that he helped conjure a decade ago.

The game's story is set one year after the classic Tim Burton film, and, of course, it puts you in the role of Jack Skellington. While exact details of the plot are still pretty thin, the game footage shown at the event offered some clues as to what Jack's new adventure is going to involve. From what was on display, it seems that the villainous Oogie Boogie has returned to Halloween Town and laid siege to it with an army of skeletons. Despite the less-than-conventional appearance of the locals, the residents of Halloween Town are nevertheless terrorized by the newcomers. Following the clip of skeletons arriving in town, Jack Skellington then appeared with a green rubberlike whip called the "rubber soul" and began kicking ass and taking names. Apparently, the rubber soul gives Jack all kinds of abilities, though what these abilities are wasn't revealed. The footage went on to reveal Jack's lady love, Sally, being kidnapped and held in a spiderweb, which will surely factor into the plot in some way.

The look of The Nightmare Before Christmas is as eerie as that of the film, and the team has done an impressive job of making the game's 3D world and characters look strikingly similar to the stop-motion animated version seen by moviegoers. Since the game is quite early, few details were revealed about the actual structure of the game. Based on early indications, however, Capcom has fashioned a solid aesthetic base on which to build a quality game. The Nightmare Before Christmas is appropriately slated for a worldwide release on Halloween 2004, and we'll bring you more information on the game in the future.

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