The other night I was up until about 2 in the morning with Nicole and our friend, Jon watching Tombstone, one of my favorite movies of all time. Prior to seeing it I'd never been one for westerns and didn't see the appeal. However, after checking it out for the first time I couldn't stop spouting Doc Holiday quotes for weeks and ever since it's held a high spot on my list of top films. Maybe it's the talk of the forthcoming Red Dead Redemption, but while watching it I realized what a fantastic translation it would make into an open-ended, sandbox style game a la Gun (but much better). So below I will list the top 5 reasons Tombstone would likely make an excellent video game.
1. It'd be a great opportunity to further flesh out the excellent characters and expand the Tombstone universe.
I realize there isn't a Tombstone 'universe' per se, but stay with me. From the outset of the film, Wyatt, Virgil, Doc, and Morgan enjoy an immediate chemistry. They're fantastic performances and given the right voice talent (preferably the original actors), it'd be fantastic if you had the choice of which of the four characters to play from the outset, chronicling exactly what happens before arriving in Tombstone. If you chose Wyatt Earp you could have a prologue exploring your adventures as a U.S. Marshall in Kansas City before making your way out west. More of a Doc Holiday type? Then spend the first hour or so riding from town to town with Kate by your side, cleaning up at poker. While it's rare for developers to put this much replayability into a game, it'd still be a fantastic mechanic fans of the film who want even more of the characters that left such an impact back in 1993.
2. It Wouldn't be the first time an older film is given some new twists
I'm not lobbying for key points in the movie to be redone in the game, but if the developers did choose to do this, it's not like they'd be taking a bold, inexcusable risk. We've already seen these types of liberties taken in games like Scarface, Ghostbusters, and The Godfather, so why not through Tombstone into the mix? What if Wyatt changes his mind and decides to stay in Tombstone? What if a gang more treacherous than the Cowboys roll into town? Sure, some purists might be offended at story modifications, but if handled properly and given enough care, it might open up some surprising new possibilities.
3. The Sandbox Potential is Palpable
Open world games have historically been characterized by a variety of side-quests and mini-games scattered throughout their particular world. This is understandable considering that a large, sprawling landscape devoid of anything to well, DO would be quite boring! That's why Niko Bellick can take a night off once in a while to go bowling or Ezio can just go free running to his heart's content to check out the beautiful views high above Venice.
For the Tombstone treatment, why not have side quests hunting down Cowboys? We already know from the film (and history) that Wyatt ruthlessly hunted down many of these vagrants and that they wore red sashes to identify themselves. Why not make optional Cowboy Hunting a side-quest of sorts where red sashes you retrieve can be used to unlock better firearms, faster horses, or maybe just a few shots of bourbon at the saloon?
More than just hunting down Cowboys as a side quest, with the prevalence of casinos in Tombstone, a variety of gambling mini-games (and subsequent showdowns rising from disputes) would be a given.
4. We Already Know Westerns Can Work
No, I'm not talking about Custer's Revenge
But rather, we've already established that there's at least some desire for Western themed shooters as evidenced by the relative success of games like Gun, Red Dead Revolver, and Call of Juarez. I mean, Red Dead Redemption is already on its way (hopefully
), and if there were no demand whatsoever for these type of games then publishers wouldn't even bother. Sure some of the Western's we've already seen are good, but I would venture to say that none of them have the kind of riveting narrative as Tombstone.
5. A Mutliplayer Component Isn't Completely Out of the Question
Sure, it seems like every game has a multiplayer component tacked onto it now adays with your standard FPS options and a handful of maps, but Tombstone could take this opportunity to set itself apart. Perhaps in a Gears of War co-op style or a mode whereby 4 players take on the roles of the protagonists and in an open-world map where the goal is to return as many Cowboy sashes as possible to the local Sheriff. Or perhaps in Left 4 Dead style you could pit our heroes against wave after wave of Cowboys either AI controlled or manned by an opposing team online.
Maybe it's just my love of the film or my imagination running away with me, but if done properly I think a Tombstone game would be a blast to play. What do you all think? Could it be successful?