Yash Raj Films (YRF) is working on console game of Dhoom 3 with an as-yet-unnamed big name game development studio to bring it to multiple platforms, Rohit Sobti, Vice President – Licensing & Merchandising, YRF, told MediaNama.
Bollywood studios have been making games based on movies for a while, but almost all of them have been an effort to market the film. This time however, they are trying to build it up as a brand according to Sobti. “Our attempt is to establish Dhoom as a brand like Spiderman. We have zeroed down on a publisher and are in advanced talks with them. We’ll announce more details regarding this title in a few weeks,” he said.
In recent past, a game based on Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra.One was released on PS3, however the reviews it got were not flattering. There have also been several attempts to make AAA games in India based on Bollywood movies such as Ghajini and Love Story 2050. Ghajini was a mediocre PC game filled with bugs and Love Story 2050, intended to be an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online Game), never made it to the market. Dhoom 2 was also supposed to get a PC game and was under development at Mumbai-based FX Labs, but this game too never made it to the market. Unlike these previous attempts, the Dhoom 3 console game is being made for a global audience, Sobti told us.
Yash Raj Films is investing $2 million to develop this “AAA” game, there is a high-chance that it will end up being a mid-tier title. The average cost of developing a AAA title was $23 million in 2010 and GTA V, the best selling action-adventure game of all time, was made at a budget of $285 million including marketing costs. That said, the original Gears of War was allegedly made at a budget of $10 million.
Sobti said that the game will be available on multiple platforms, but he was not clear as to which all consoles it will make its way to. “We’ve been keeping an eye on the market to see when Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will release and now that there is some clarity after GDC. So we are keeping a close watch,” he said.
Multiple-mobile games too
The company has already released a mobile game based on the movie that was released exclusively on Windows platform over the weekend. The freemium game is developed by 99games and will be available on Android and iPhone on November 19. It will also be released on Windows 8 store for people with tablet PCs and touch-enabled PCs.
99Games has signed a revenue sharing deal with YRF and will money by selling cosmetic updates such as costumes for characters apart from powerups and faster bikes. Shilpa R Bhat, Senior Producer at 99Games says that they did not want to reinvent any mechanism or teach people any new mechanism while developing this game. “We wanted the game to be simple enough for people to pick up and play without any instructions. We have added action elements such as helicopters that try to chase you down to add variety. Also, since the part of the game is inspired by a portion of the movie that is set in Chicago, you’ll see a lot of landmarks from the US city through the game,” she said.
Rohith Bhat, Managing Director at 99Games says that they signed a deal with YRF to solve the discoverability problem. “App stores have more than a million app so games tend to get easily lost. By getting into such a deal, we gain a better visibility for our games. In that respect, we are thinking of the movie as a promotional tool for our game,” he said.
In the coming months 99Games will be releasing more games based on the series and each of them might be of a different genre. Such an approach is not very common in gaming except on Nintendo games, where characters from a platform game make an appearance in sports and racing games.
Earlier this year, 99Games’ parent company Robosoft had raised Rs 22 crore investment from Kalaari Capital, after bootstrapping the company for 16 years. The company was planning to use the investment raised to build new products in 99Games and its app subsidiary Global Delight. (Read: Why Did Robosoft Raise Funds After Bootstrapping For 16 Years)
Microsoft has been tying up with several app developers to get their work on Windows Phones exclusively for a limited period. Filmkraft Productions had previously partnered with Hungama and Gameshastra to launch a Krrish 3 game on Windows phone and Windows 8 platforms.
Vineet Durani, Director, Windows Phone category at Microsoft said that the game is optimised for the entry-level Lumia phones. “We believe Bollywood and mythology themed games have great potential on smartphones now, as there are a lot of people who are shifting to it from feature phones in India,” he said.
Our take: While it is good that Indian movie studios are thinking of gaming as more than a promotional tool, they should be able to walk the talk. Starting from Agni to Ghajini we have had too many average games given “AAA” title. Mobile games generally need to be simple with low-poly graphics in comparison to console games. Due to this reason we have had decent mobile games based on movies, but a console game is a different beast altogether.
A budget of $2-3 million might be a little too low for a AAA game considering the fact that it costs more than $1 million to license a game engine such as Unreal or CryEngine. The cost of game engine however won’t be a factor if the game developer has one of their own. It is also possible that YRF is only sharing a part of the cost of developing the game.
While Dhoom might be a big franchise in India, it has no resonance whatsoever in the global market. So this will be a great mode for YRF to make an impression on foreign audience. However, considering how cheesy movies in the franchise have been, they need to pull of something truly remarkable to do so. While sloppy writing filled with PJs might be okay in Indian movies, gamers might not be so accepting.