Star Trek: The Video Game was not very good (read our review). What initially showed promise as the continuing adventures of the Nu-Trek crew, quickly turned out to be nothing more than a half-baked and underwhelming franchise tie-in. Even with the early guidance of the team behind the movies and extensive voice work from the cast, the project turned out to be somewhat of a mess when it hit shelves earlier this year.
As it turns out Star Trek Into Darkness director, J.J. Abrams was also disappointed.
In a video interview with Gamer Hub, Abrams was pretty candid about his opinion on the game that was put together by Digital Extremes. Abrams spoke of his involvement with Star Trek: The Video Game and how it came to be a disappointment to him:
The last game, which was obviously a big disappointment to me, was something that we were actually involved in from the very beginning and then we sort of realised 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.”
Abrams explained that he had once had high hopes from the game and thought it could have been very beneficial to the franchise, but instead it went south and ended up being “something without question that didn’t help the movie and arguably hurt it.” Abrams is being blunt in the interview but it’s not all that shocking. He is a director who cares deeply for the universe he has helped reboot, and having another group of creatives come in and produce something that he perceives tarnishes that vision, isn’t going to please a Hollywood director too much. He even went as far as to say, “for me emotionally, it hurt.“
It is refreshing to see a film director come out and show that they genuinely care about the game tie-in for their movie, and Abrams, clearly having a fascination with games, hasn’t been dissuaded from the idea of game and movie interplay. Abrams, along with Gabe Newell, announced a few months ago that Bad Robot and Valve would be looking to adapt some of Valve’s properties to movies.
In the interview, Abrams also outlined his process of taking these properties and transferring them to film.
The dream is — we’re working with Valve right now on a couple of projects — is to say okay, despite its existence as a game, despite its existence as a movie, what makes this great? And starting from scratch, let’s make this from the ground up great, regardless of what’s come before.
Abrams went on to explain that the film needs to exist “on its own terms.” This process seems essential in bringing titles like Portal and Half Life to the big screen. These are films that are intrinsically designed as games and express their stories and locations through gameplay. Getting to the core of what is great about these properties and then building them up from there will be essential to their big screen success, as it may be hard to base a feature length movie around a voiceless protagonist who has little to no personality.
Follow Patrick Dane on Twitter at @PatrickDane