It's become common for celebrities to collaborate on video games based on their Hollywood work. Robert Downey Jr. spent hours recording dialogue for Sega's "Iron Man" game, and many members of the cast of "Lost" were involved with Ubisoft's recent "Lost: Via Domus."
But Matt Damon is nowhere to be found in next month's "The Bourne Conspiracy," based on his trilogy of high-octane spy thrillers, despite the fact that he was once in talks to appear.
The development team at High Moon Studios approached Damon early on in the making of the game. High Moon's Meelad Sadat told MTV News that his studio never met with the actor one-on-one but that Damon was made aware of the project and was offered a chance to be involved.
Damon turned down the opportunity, but as of press time, his publicist had not returned MTV News' request for comment as to why.
But the answer may lie in a Boston Globe article in which Damon's mother, education professor Nancy Carlsson-Paige, discussed media violence. Damon was interviewed, and he spoke about his lack of involvement with "The Bourne Conspiracy."
"I lobbied hard to not make a first-person-shooter game but to make it more like 'Myst,' which was a great, interesting puzzle you tried to solve — you know, to play with his amnesia or his memory," he told the publication. "They weren't interested. They made the [game] anyway, without my likeness."
Sadat said he was never aware of these suggestions. There was speculation that Damon walked away from the table because he wasn't a fan of the game's violence, but Sadat said Damon never explicitly voiced such reservations.
In the same article, Damon's mother expressed a concern over violent games, without citing specific examples.
"I am very wary of violent video games," she said. "Research shows they desensitize kids to violence, even more because they engage kids in committing violence."
When asked if she approved of her son's violent films, she admitted that the two don't always agree on media issues. "Matt and I don't share the same views about violence in adult films, but we do see eye-to-eye on the importance of protecting children," she said. "We both support regulations to stop the marketing of violence in films to children through violent toys, products and video games."
After Damon made his decision, Sadat's team at High Moon decided to move on. "We got the sense that his interest in games overall was marginal, and we decided to move away from celebrity involvement and take our Bourne into an original direction," he said.
Blindlight — a company that connects game publishers with key Hollywood talent and is responsible for Downey's involvement in the "Iron Man" game — said it has pursued Damon several times without luck.
"We've been doing this for over eight years — we have more experience in this field than any other company — and by now we've made offers to just about every Hollywood name you can think of," Blindlight General Manager Lev Chapelsky said. "When it comes to Damon, we've [made] several game offers to him over the years and have consistently found that he's not interested in working in the field."
Fortunately, from what MTV News has seen, "The Bourne Conspiracy" is shaping up to be an excellent "Bourne" adventure in its own right — even without Damon.
Check out the Multiplayer blog, updated daily, for even more gaming coverage.