Sat amid a swarm of at best mediocre tie-ins, and at worse soulless cash-grabs, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay stood as a gleaming inverse in a world of film adaptations. Not only was it undeniably good, but it was an adaptation of the small-budget Pitch Black, and even if you consider the at-the-time upcoming bigger-budget blockbuster set in the same universe, it's hard not to feel that the game wouldn't even exist if Vin Diesel hadn't been such a huge fan of both games and the character.
In these heady, three-dimensional times where players are expected to move not just from left to right but also backwards and diagonally and sometimes in strange new directions they may not be comfortable with, level design takes on an all-new meaning. Levels now need to be both playgrounds and delicately constructed pathways. To stop their players wandering around aimlessly like children lost in a supermarket, developers must build their games so as to lead the player with an invisible hand.
It says a lot: sitting with a bunch of journalists that work in the video industry last night, not one of them even knew about The Chronicles Of Riddick, much less that it's the follow-up to Pitch Black, or that it starred Vin Diesel. Given the movie industry's crippling lack of awareness over here, what are the chances of its videogame spin-off having any luck? Suffice to say that too few journalists and magazines are getting excited about the game, and some of them are going to be feeling pretty foolish when the game comes out of nowhere and makes people's eyes pop out of their heads.