There is a tie-in game coming for The Hunger Games, but you won’t find it on any console, or even your PSP or 3DS. Bucking the trend altogether, this tie-in game is coming only to your iPhone and iPad.
This ain’t your daddy’s movie tie-in video game. Instead of going the usual route — hiring a big-name video game company to churn out a console title that re-hashes the events of the movie — film studio Lionsgate opted to do something highly unusual. They turned to iOS developer Adam Saltsman, who crafted the hit game Canabalt for iPhone and iPad, to create a game for Apple’s popular portables. (His musical collaborator on Canabalt, Danny Baranowsky, who also did the music for Super Meat Boy, is producing the score for this game.) What’s more, you won’t find any of the events from the film in this game; it’s a separate storyline set before the movie (and the book) begins. (There’s also a social game coming to Facebook.) But canon lovers need not despair — Suzanne Collins herself served as a consultant on the game.
It’s called The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire, and it’s a brand new story set in The Hunger Games‘ world. Not much is known about the plot, only that it has something to do with heroine Katniss Everdeen’s frequent trips into the woods for hunting. According to an interview Saltsman gave to Joystiq, the game will utilize things like Katniss’ “talent for archery, her tendency to go for long walks in a forbidden forest area, and her brains-over-brawn approach to solving problems.”
The other significant aspect of this game — as may have noticed from the poster at right — is that it’s being made with a pixelated, 8-bit style of graphics. Saltsman told Joystiq that his design aesthetic is inspired by the style of games made for the old Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis consoles. He made this choice very deliberately, because he thinks a video game based on a film “shouldn’t pretend to be anything else but a video game.” In essence, he wants the game to be able to stand on its own, and not feel like an unneeded retelling of the story from the book and the movie.
It’s an intriguing approach, and it flies in the face of established methodology for this sort of thing. No one can argue that most movie tie-in games are dreadful, but even so, a smaller game with a unique art style that tells a new story is a gamble. A less expensive gamble, for certain, but a gamble nonetheless. I can’t wait to see if it pays off.
The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire is expected to be released day-and-date with the movie, on March 23rd. There’s no word yet on the price.