Usually movie tie-in video games aren’t the best quality in terms of graphics and gameplay. Major platform video games generally take up a few years to develop and release, but with movie tie-ins, they have to be released around the same time as the movie itself, so they’re rushed and often terrible. Star Trek: The Video Game didn’t earn many fans when it hit shelves this past April, and it turns out that the director of the movie it was tying into wasn’t happy with the end results either.
In an interview with Gamer Hub, Star Trek Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams talks about the disappointment of the 2013 Star Trek video game. He believes the poor quality of the game might have hurt the overall box office of Star Trek Into Darkness because they were released so closely together. The Star Trek video game was released at the end of April, while Star Trek Into Darkness was released a few weeks later, in the middle of May. Abrams added that the video game could have help the overall enjoyment of the film series, but the game fell short of expectations. Abrams says:
[It] was obviously a big disappointment to me. We were actually involved from the very beginning, and then we sort of realized that it was not going in a place where we were going to get what we wanted. So we dropped out, and they continued to do it despite… y’know. Instead it was not and was something that I think, for me emotionally it hurt, because we were working our asses off making the movie and then this game came out and it got, it’s not even my opinion, it got universally panned and I think that it was something without question that didn’t help the movie and arguably hurt it.
It’s true, most video games based on movies and movies based on video games are of poor overall quality. No one has cracked the code to make the transition from the game console to the big screen, or vice versa. Abrams goes on to mention his partnership with Valve Corporation to find a way to bridge the wide gap between video games and movies. According to the blockbuster director, the only way to try to make a good video game and movie is to start “from the ground up great, regardless of what’s come before.” Abrams continues to say, “Anything that is based on something else, it needs to exist on its own terms. And a lot of times these seem to exist as an ancillary product, in which case it will suck.”
A few months ago, Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions partnered with Valve to help elevate and expand the storytelling in the video game and movie medium. This could lead to a potential Half-Life or Portal movie from Bad Robot, or better video games based on Bad Robot properties like Star Trek, Cloverfield, or Mission: Impossible. The partnership was announced at the DICE (Design Innovate Create Entertain) summit with Valve co-founder Gabe Newell in February, mere weeks after Disney announced Abrams would direct Star Wars: Episode VII.