Inception Video Game? Excuse Me While I Untuck My Shirt*

This guy is totally on the list.

Oh man oh man oh man oh man! *breathes into paper bag* Okay.  Christopher Nolan, in a recent piece for Entertainment Weekly, talked shop about Bats 3, and (oh man oh man) confirmed an Inception video game.

For anyone hoping that Nolan might plunge deeper into the world he created with Inception in the form of a sequel, the filmmaker says… Maybe? But there will be a videogame: “I always imagined Inception to be a world where a lot of other stories could take place,” says Nolan. “At the moment, the only direction we’re channeling that is by developing a videogame set in the world.” He declined to elaborate on details or time table, only to say that he was developing the game with a team of collaborators and that it was “a longer-term proposition.”

That pretty much means that not a single line of code for the game has been written.  At this point, they probably haven’t even found a studio to develop it yet.  Of course, this certainly isn’t keeping the Nerd Boner Alert level around here from hitting Orange. This idea makes perfect sense, considering Inception is basically a video game movie too good to be based on an actual video game.  (yay, run-on sentences!)  The only thing to do at this point is speculate wildly on what the gameplay will be like.

I’m sorry, but if they try to just slap a good Nolan-scripted story on a clunky third-person shooter or something like that, then no dice.  I see a disturbing trend nowadays where lame gameplay gets a pass because a game has compelling characters or an interesting  universe.  I, for one think this has some interesting potential.  Here is my pitch (spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the movie, in which case, ‘smatter whitchoo? Also, this is going to be in-depth and nerdy as hell):

Genre: Role-Playing, with some very heavy Puzzle, Strategy and Action elements.

Firstly, (and somewhat ironically) the gameplay largely involves executing Extractions, instead of Inceptions, to keep things a little more grounded. You are given an assignment and must plan the job. Now, here’s where it gets interesting.  If you are playing single player, you play all the roles (Extractor, Point Man, Architect, Forger, etc) whenever they are needed, with AI help.   If you are playing co-operative, however, each player gets assigned a role.   Each role has drastically different gameplay varieties.

The job starts off with examining the details of the Mark; the type of information being stolen, the person’s personal and professional life, etc. Using this info, the team determines the number of levels and types that are needed. Enter the Architect.

Using a level design toolset, reminiscent of that in Far Cry or Forge from Halo, the Architect designs the dream levels.  Setting up strategic points for getting past the Mark’s subconscious security and setting places they will put their secrets.  Also, while the rest of the team is in the dream state, the architect can make on-the-fly changes; however, like in the film, these alterations must be kept to a minimum, to prevent the dreamer from catching on.  Picture an in-game meter that fills when they make alterations; if it’s full, it’s like a five-star wanted level in GTA.  Watch the f*ck out. This role is very much like an RTS.

The Forger is essentially playing a variation on Hitman. He looks through the info on the Mark, figuring out who in their life he can imitate for the best outcome.  This might include reading documents or looking at pictures; a better option would be, while the architect plans the levels, the Forger actually shadows the Mark, using disguises and alibis to find the best person to imitate. If you are caught: game over, man. In the dream world, you must not break character or you risk alerting the mark; like in, say, Assassins Creed, where behaving too erratically will alert the guards to you being an assassin.  You might be able to get the Mark to give up the info willingly or get intel on where in the dream it is located.  Like I said, Hitman.

The Extractor and Pointman (or pointmen, as there can be several) work cooperatively in real-time in the dream-state. The Pointmen’s role is essentially a grunt.  Utilizing FPS gameplay and a heavy arsenal to fend off the security and protect the Extractor.  The Extractor is First Person as well. He has a certain amount of weaponry, but also has forensic-type tools similar to those in Condemned: Criminal Origins. Using these and any data given by the Forger, the Extractor finds the Information.


As you can tell I’ve put just a liiittle bit of thought into this (I think I started when I first saw the movie). But, you have to admit: If you can assemble all of these elements correctly, with a graphical veneer that matches the tone of the movie, tell me it wouldn’t kick serious amounts of ass.


*to hide my boner, if that wasn’t clear.  Man, nothing proves the hilarity of a joke like having to explain it.

4 responses to “Inception Video Game? Excuse Me While I Untuck My Shirt*

  1. Blockbuster games are typically sellout games. Movie did decent in theaters and bam out comes a Movie game. Movie games/Game Movies don’t work (except for resident evil).

    • First off, the Resident Evil movies range from god-awful to entertainingly bad. Secondly, the one thing that generally makes a Movie-Game tie in terrible is the need to release it at the same time as the movie. Goldeneye was awesome b/c it came out THREE YEARS after the movie. Inception came out six months before they even announced the game, so there’s no need to rush it out the door. Plus, I don’t see Chris Nolan allowing his name to be put on something that was rushed or unfinished. I am just curious; did you see the movie?

  2. As much as I’d love to play an Inception game, given the plethora of action game story tropes in the movie, I can’t say I actually want it to happen. I agree with you Jeremy that Nolan is not likely to put his name on something that’s a steaming pile (save Insomnia).

    However, being that he’s going to be swamped for the next year or so with The Dark Knight Rises and the reboot of Superman, I doubt he’ll be able to devote much time into making sure the studio is making the game as he’d prefer. Ergo, I fear it’ll become another Avatar or Ghostbusters game. Each had great premises behind them, but were utter shit.

    It doesn’t help that a vast majority of the time these games-based-on-films adaptations are developed by less than talented game studios. But then, how likely is it that any director (even Nolan) could get a studio like Bungie, Valve, or Blizzard to develop a game based on their film property?

    • First of all, the very idea of Valve or Bungie working with Christopher Nolan on anything makes my pants shrink. Secondly, I doubt this will actually come to fruition, and I’ve been burned way too many times to put much hope in it (damn you, Wachowski…er…siblings) . But, I’ve been pleasantly surprised in the past (The Chronicles of Riddick). Who knows? Only time will tell.

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