J.J. Abrams and ChAIR announced today that they are collaborating to develop a new action-strategy PC and mobile game called SPYJINX, set to release in 2016.
Many of the creative collaborations between Hollywood and the video game industry have a history of not going so well. Whether it’s film and TV directors getting involved in making games or shows and movies based on games, it rarely seems to work out.
Director J.J. Abrams is hoping to change all that by partnering with Infinity Blade developer ChAIR. Today, in an interview with Geoff Keighley, Abrams and ChAIR’s founder and creative director Donald Mustard announced that their companies are co-developing a new game called SPYJINX.
SPYJINX is described as a game with “a unique mix of action strategy gameplay, dynamic world building and RPG character development – all set in a thrilling, treacherous world of espionage.” The tagline for the game is “Become the Ultimate Mastermind.” It’s unclear exactly what kind of game SPYJINX is, but Abrams calls it “ambitious” and “not quite like anything” else in the gaming space.
SPYJINX is expected for “initial release” in 2016 on PC and mobile devices, and by saying “initial release,” it sounds as though the game could be dolled out episodically, similar to Telltale’s The Walking Dead series. People interested in the game can sign up for the closed Beta, which will take place at an unannounced time in the future.
Abrams, who calls himself a gamer in the announcement video and says he plays games with his kids, reveals that this partnership is a natural progression for his production company Bad Robot:
“I’ve been a fan of video games for years, envious of the artists and storytellers who have gotten to play in that world. Over two years ago, we met with the geniuses at ChAIR in the hopes of collaborating with them. The result has been something beyond any of our expectations. Since then we have been working closely with them to create something that I cannot wait to get into the hands of gamers all over the world.”
SPYJINX will be made on the Unreal Engine, the same engine that powered ChAIR’s Infinity Blade series, for which the developer is likely most known. Abrams said he has been a fan of ChAIR’s work, and he met with the company to build something from the ground up with Bad Robot Interactive, a branch of his own production company, which created the Action Movie FX app.
ChAIR’s Donal Mustard said he was drawn to a collaboration with Bad Robot because of their prowess in storytelling:
“Bad Robot is uniquely talented at making you deeply care about characters and the trials they experience. As game developers, we knew that if we could apply that knowledge to creating game systems that help players care about the world we build for them and then give them tools that let them shape and exercise agency in that world, then we could create something really special.”
Many gamers are also big fans of J.J. Abrams, so it will be interesting to see what happens with this new project, especially since a few years ago he was in talks with Valve to create content in the Portal or Half-Life universes, but those projects never came to fruition.
What are your thoughts about J.J Abrams getting involved in making games?