October 31, 2002

The X Files Game

I recently met Greg Roach, the founder and CEO of Hyperbole Studios who designed and directed The X Files Game for Fox Interactive. Released in 1998, The X Files is a game which merits further scrutiny, not just for its atmospheric FMV and sound, but also for the way it was marketed and then received by punters.

Despite rave reviews from the mainstream press, some computer game industry reviews were damning.

Four years later, what is so interesting about this title is that its premise was rejected not only by its target audience, gamers, but by the producers themselves, Fox Interactive. One of the questions I put to Greg was why, given the game's extensive catering to non-gamers via an Artificial Intuition help system, was there no way to let the game simply run as a linear passive experience (i.e. an X Files episode in its own right). It turns out that Greg had been explicitly prohibited from including this in the game by Fox who did not want the product labelled an "interactive movie".

With the benefit of hindsight, it would appear as if the label "game" is what detracted the most from the long term success of the product despite many innovative features. The transitions between 1st person interactivity and 3rd person passive Full Motion Video are extremely fluid. One thing that gamers and fans appear to agree on, the "game" captured the atmosphere of the TV series, no mean feat.

Posted by .M. at October 31, 2002 01:07 AM
Post a comment