Ever wanted to know what goes into making a movie tie-in game? Well we did and here's the result.
Please introduce yourself and talk about your role on the project? What kinds of things do you do on a daily basis? How did you get into the game industry?
Hi, I’m Donna Woo, Associate Producer on Shrek Forever After with Activision.
As an Associate Producer, I have a variety of responsibilities that change from project to project. In general, the Associate Producer is the point person for the developer, the licensor (in this case DreamWorks), outside vendors (such as writers, composers, etc) and internal departments such as Marketing, Public Relations, Legal, Quality Assurance, and Localization. Daily tasks include milestone reviews, submitting the game to ESRB for a rating, licensing fonts for in-game use, payment processing, and managing the game script voice over recording, sound effects creation, and music creation and licensing.
I started in the game industry 7 years ago in QA. Through the years, I’ve worked up the ranks and have been in Production for about two and a half years now.
Can you walk us through the process of creating a game based on a movie? Do you start with the script or are you brought in later in the creative process?
The process usually begins when there is a script or story synopsis available from the movie licensor. This gives the team a starting point for coming up with ideas on what kind of game to make. The developer creates a Game Design Document that outlines their game idea, which is reviewed by Activision and DreamWorks and reworked if necessary to create a plan that everyone is happy with. This becomes the foundation for the game. Often times, the movie story will change while the game is in development. The team works closely with DreamWorks so that any changes are identified as early as possible and the best effort is put in to accommodate the changes. While in development, the game is reviewed at major milestones with DreamWorks to ensure that they are frequently updated with how the game is coming together. Having a good working relationship with the licensor is one of the most important things in creating a movie based game.
What are the key components of making a good movie-tie in game? What are you doing now that you've done differently in the past?
Communication is one of the most important things – making sure that the developer is creating characters and environments that are in line with the licensor’s vision is crucial in creating a game atmosphere that matches the movie. Incorporating many movie characters is something that we did in the Shrek Forever After game to create a true Shrek world experience for the player. It also was nice to have few key voices reprise their movie roles in the game. Fans will recognize the voices of Rumpelstiltskin, Cookie, and many of their favorite Fairy Tale Creatures. In addition to being able to play as the primary characters – Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Puss In Boots – the player will run into familiar characters such as Pinocchio, Gingy, the Three Little Pigs, the Three Blind Mice, the Magic Mirror, and many others! The game will also feature some of the new characters seen in the upcoming film as well as some fun characters from past Shrek films that do not appear in the new film.
We are excited about many new game play features that have been incorporated into the Shrek Forever After game. On the console versions of the game, we have incorporated 4-player drop in/drop out co-op, licensed popular music from the movie, and have two worlds that the player can switch into and out of – the alternate and normal versions of Shrek’s world. The DS version of the game is DSi compatable and uses the camera functionality in the Ogre Artist section of the game. Both games share a musical score that was developed by a composer who also worked on the movie, which made our music both new and right in the spirit of the Shrek franchise.
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