In an exclusive interview with MTV Multiplayer, the president of Gameloft sheds like on the “Terminator Salvation” iPhone game and explains why it won’t stink — or include a Christian Bale rant.
We’ve got news tonight that mobile game publisher Gameloft will be releasing a “Terminator Salvation” iPhone game on May 22, the day the new movie launches.
Concept art released to us for the game suggests that “Terminator Salvation” will include cover-based shooting. But Gameloft isn’t revealing much about the gameplay of the iPhone title, emphasizing that the game will be based on the new film. That movie stars Christian Bale as John Connor, fighting against Skynet and the Terminators in 2018. The “Salvation” movie has been in the news more for Bale’s on-set tongue-lashing of a crew member, but those who have seen early clips say it’s also shaping up to be an impressive action movie.
For more on the game, I conducted this e-mail interview with Michel Guillemot, president and CEO of Gameloft:
Multiplayer: It seems that everyone is making iPhone games these days. How did this project come about?
Michel Guillemot. President/CEO, Gameloft: When we negotiated the license, the iPhone was well on its way to becoming a prominent gaming device. The license seemed a natural fit for iPhone given its unique features.
Multiplayer: What kind of gameplay can people expect from the Terminator iPhone game and in what ways does it take advantage of the platform’s unique attributes?
Guillemot : We’re unable to reveal any game play details at this time, but definitely stay tuned since we’ll be releasing assets and info in the upcoming months.
“I understand the skepticism because there have been a lot of movie based games from publishers that do not deliver on content.”
Multiplayer: I heard that the action scenes in the movie are spectacular. Are the film’s assets being incorporated into the game? If so, how?
Guillemot : Absolutely. We wanted to really push the graphics to the limit on this game because of the intensity and power of the action scenes in the film. We worked closely with Halcyon to make sure that the game complemented the film in a way which not only was true to the storyline, but also brought an added value for the player when they bought the game. They provided numerous documents, assets and the scripts that really helped us in developing the game. There isn’t direct footage of the movie, but we do incorporate cut scenes that give a realistic rendering of the movie atmosphere.
Multiplayer: This game is coming out in conjunction with a movie, so it begs the question that should always be asked of licensed games by a wary gaming public: Why shouldn’t gamers look at this as just a licensing cash-in and extension of the film’s marketing budget?
Guillemot : That’s a very fair question. Our production values have always been quite high. This is the 12th movie based game we have done. The majority of those titles have done well for us on the sales end and the games average an 80% or better in reviews. That tells us that gamers trust our production values enough to invest in these titles. I understand the skepticism because there have been a lot of movie based games from publishers that do not deliver on content. At the end of the day, the consumer establishes a relationship with the publisher and you either come to trust their product or not. Gameloft has always been credited with high production values in the media and from our competitors, so I am confident this game will do well. (Note from Stephen: See Gameloft’s roster of movie-based games at their official website.)
Multiplayer: What does an iPhone game like this need to succeed in the crowded marketplace of iPhone games? What kind of lasting-appeal, graphical quality or price make for the ideal package?
Guillemot : There definitely has to be a ‘wow’ factor to the graphics. Especially with a film of this magnitude. Terminator Salvation is a great license which will garner a lot of buzz and coverage. The great thing about the App Store is the instantaneous user feedback, so if a game is bad you’ll know about it. We rely heavily on user comments to drive and push the game to the top. Again, we’re banking on the production values of Terminator Salvation and feel pretty confident that it will do well.
In terms of price point, we have found that the most people are willing to pay for premium games is $7.99-$9.99. The game will be priced with this in mind.
“The creative director … collects a lot of Terminator memorabilia, is part of a fan site, and is quite knowledgeable on the all the films.”
Multiplayer: For better or worse, Terminator Salvation has gotten more press for Christian Bale’s blow-up on the set than for anything else. Is there any way that you can leverage interest in that into interest in this game?
Guillemot : I think that would be more trouble than it’s worth ?
Multiplayer: Does the game tie in to the upcoming console game? If so how?
Guillemot : No, the games are quite different and separate.
Multiplayer: If there’s anything else you think the MTV News audience would be interested in about the game, let me know. Otherwise, thank you for your time and good luck with the game.
Guillemot : The development team working on this title were quite driven and passionate about the license because they all grew up watching the Terminator franchise, so there are quite a few Terminator enthusiasts. For example, the creative director is a huge fan. He collects a lot of Terminator memorabilia, is part of a fan site, and is quite knowledgeable on the all the films. So for him, working on this title was a dream come true. That being said, he has incorporated quite a few surprises for Terminator fans such as exclusives elements that are unique to the game.
(NOTE: The exclusive image we have with this story is concept art supplied by Gameloft. A rep for the game says that the finished game will be in 3D and look richer. Official images will be release at a later date.)