The Hunger Games is currently plastered everywhere. I’ve seen it twice in theaters (not even ashamed to admit it), and as a fan of the books, I’d willingly throw out some cash for things that relate to the story. It’s dark, gritty, and scary, especially to the people that believe that we live in a society that would sincerely enjoy watching a real life show of The Hunger Games.
Movies are constantly shelling out games, most (that I’ve played) tend to fall below the mark of enjoyable, but if developers got their hands around The Hunger Games and transformed it into an original and new experience for gamers… it could be amazing!
There’s an article on Kotaku (damn you for stealing my ideas before I’ve thought of them!) that focuses on a possibility of a Hunger Games video game, and I agree with the majority of the article. But I think there’s an array of possibilities that could be developed for such a game.
1) Do not focus on the main characters. Katniss, Peeta, and Gale have their stories told in the books (and future movies). Instead, give the gamer his/her own experience. Katniss was involved in the 74th Hunger Games. Place the gamer in one of the previous games. We don’t know much about the past (pertaining to the games specifically). It would be easy and creative to design a whole new arena complete with horrifying challenges and characters that have their own personalities and abilities. Which brings me to my next point…
2) Design enemy tributes with a face. What I mean is, give them their own personalities, their own special abilities. Give them feelings and emotions. These kids are being forced into an atmosphere where it’s kill or be killed. Unless they’re Careers that are anxious to create a bloodbath, this detail shouldn’t be taken lightly. If a character is going to be forced to slay another tribute, then it should be something that causes major conflict (depending on the type of character).
3) Gamers should be able to create a first-person type character that reflects their own image (or any other image they choose). The character should have a voice, a personality that reflects their decisions and actions in the game. It should be heavily based on consequences (I’m thinking primarily about Dragon Age). If you have a character that refuses to kill, then that character needs to struggle with that decision. And if that character is forced into a situation where they have to kill another tribute, then they should dwell on that event. Give them one of many backstories: A Career trained for the games, a starving kid that has taken tesserae to help feed his or her family. There should be a backstory that alludes to their personality and skills.
4) Stay away from action-centered, first person shooter type gaming. The Hunger Games is a story about survival. Plain and simple. Search for water, cautiously build fires, make weapons and traps, hunt for food, focus on your strengths whether that be camouflage, hunting, or even killing. If you’re a bloodthirsty tribute determined to wipe out the others, then you should be allowed to do just that with the knowledge that there may be other tributes that are smarter and stronger than you.
5) Be allowed to make allies with the knowledge that you may have to betray them later on to stay alive. This goes for the tributes you ally yourself with as well. Make it difficult to trust others, but make it easy to relate and become attached to their characters as well. They are, after all, simply unfortunate kids in the same boat as you (except for those pesky Careers).
6) Let your character interact with the arena. Tracker Jackers and other muttations should dwell in areas. The Gamemakers should be able to trick and attempt to kill your character. Allow sponsors to send in things you may desperately need. Make the experience change depending on your actions and decisions.
7) Allow some romance in! As long as it doesn’t take away from the main story. This isn’t the story of Katniss and Peeta. If your character happens to ignite something resembling a relationship with another character, then your character should know that you may lose that love interest at any time (unless the Gamemakers decide otherwise. Creativity here would go a long way).
8) I would tentatively play with the idea of multiplayer as long as it (again) stayed away from the popular first person shooter trend. It’s not strictly a story of deathmatch (or team deathmatch depending on if you have allies or not). Once again, it’s a story of survival, and it should stick to that concept. But if developers can’t make a genuine multiplayer experience, then they should stick to a single player Hunger Games with lots of detail. If a multiplayer experience took away from the single player experience, then I’d prefer just having a one player game.
The idea of a video game of The Hunger Games could be explosive IF the developers can create a layered, well-thought game that focuses on character development, story, and action that doesn’t focus solely on the brutal slaying of other kids. The only major problem I can see hindering such a game would be the sensitivity and controversy that would no doubt accompany the idea of seeing kids killing other kids. And the budget, but I won’t get into that.
Thoughts? Ideas? I would love to hear them!