I just finished watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and was going to mention my thoughts on it in the movie thread, but I realized I had more to say than just a paragraph or two, so here we are. This is my first ever blog, F:AT or otherwise, so please bear with me.
Re-makes have always been around, but recent years have brought us far more Hollywood versions of foreign films than ever before. After reading about this one year old flick being remade and the upcoming American version of another recent great Scandinavian movie Let the Right One In, my wheels started spinning. Why aren't there more original movies coming out these days, and why does Hollywood keep piggybacking on the success of others? The more I thought of this, the more I saw how this is being mirrored somewhat in the gaming industry.
Ringu was a wildly successful film and some studio exec figured that by purchasing the rights to it, adding some A list actors and American FX they could make a hell of a lot of money. And that exec was dead on. What the hell does this have to do with games you ask? How many times have out of print games or just a great game without a whole lot of bells and whistles been discussed and folks said "What this really needs is the FFG treatment." or something along those lines? Sometimes a good game can be made great, but other times, as we've discussed here recently, we realize that there was nothing wrong with the original and adding all of these bells and whistles can sometimes do more harm than good. A lot of great movies don't need to be remade with top notch acting and special effects; they're perfect as they are.
Let's go back to Ringu for a moment. Based on the success of this movie, dozens of imitations came out in Asia, and many of them were remade in Hollywood. This makes me think of Dominion; an unremarkable game with an amazing and quite innovative mechanic that has spawned shitloads of clones. Ditto with Pandemic albeit without as many imitators. How many movies are there about a haunted cellphone or computer, or videotape, or house, or shower, or whatever the fuck that are essentially the same movie? You get what I'm saying.
I'm not saying this is always a bad thing. I never played the original Arkham Horror, and the FFG version is one of my favorite games. Ditto with Fury of Dracula. I have played quite a bit of Dungeon Quest however, and while it's certainly FFG's right to make it their own through adding their own little tweaks (The Terrinoth setting with it's heroes and creatures, porting the card combat system that's used in so many of their games into this one) it seems like it really takes something away from the original. (I've yet to play the new version, but I've come to trust the opinions around here.)
I'm not trying to ruffle anyone's feathers here, but for me at least, this is a disturbing trend both in film and gaming. It seems like there's a hell of a lot less innovation going on, and when some comes along it's imitated to death. Sometimes it's just re-themed or polished and sold again. (Think Wallenstein/ Shogun and maybe the Austrian then American versions of Funny Games.) I just think it would be nice if the game companies and Hollywood would get back to making great games and not thinking about how to sell us the same shit over and over again with more polish and extras.
That said, Nemo's War sounds like it would be pretty bad ass with the FFG Treatment.