Gaming: The Genre of Transmedia Used Within Star Wars

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  1. 1. Gaming: The Genre of Transmedia used within STAR WARS 1977 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. TM & 1977 Lucasfilm Ltd. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK TM & 1980 Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL) All rights reserved. RETURN OF THE JEDI TM & 1983 Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL) All rights reserved. "Twentieth Century Fox", "Fox" and their associated logos are property of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. Since the release of the first Star Wars movie in 1977, Lucasfilm has official licensed the production of over 170 games, all of which are set within the fictitious universe established across the 6 films within the series. Each game traverses through the Star Wars Expanded Universe by unlocking access to a variety of locations, and establishing character context, by providing content of continuity that helps build a more content rich world across an assortment of entertainment mediums. In this instance, the Star Wars games are conveying further messages within the fictitious universe in order to build to the existent larger conversation. The difference between Star Wars games in relation to the franchise is that the term transmedia storytelling facilitates multiple avenues of input that flow both ways, over a linear course of produced content.
  3. 3. MAPITOUT
  4. 4. For that reason, the Star Wars games emerged as a pillar of transmedia technique utilisation within the franchise, as transmedia is a subset of cross- media in the sense that the story itself is distributed across a variety of media. Each piece of the story feels at least somewhat complete and adds to the audience's concept of the characters and story world. According to transmedia consultant, Jeff Gomez, when done well, audience members engagement deepens with the narrative, accessing it whenever they want, where ever they want.
  5. 5. PRATTENSTAKE Copyright 2011 Robert Pratten
  6. 6. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO GOMEZ The problem faced by corporations and big media is that many are communicating through old broadcast models, where the narrative is linear, the medium is isolated and the narrative is only running one way. New techniques are necessary to engage mass audiences, who have become users and participants. Your story needs to be accessible through an array of media, and the narrative must be designed to play to the strengths of the platform at hand. Instead of broadcast, there is a pressing necessity for dialog.
  7. 7. THE GAMES All six movies possess a number of standalone games deriving from the original feature films, all of which offer deeper character context and further universe exploration to players. For example, according to the Star Wars Encyclopaedia, Wookiepedia, the movie Episode II: Attack of the Clones facilitated the development of three independent games, across four consoles. One of these games, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2002), is described as a vehicular combat game and involves character play with some of the franchises most recognisable characters, however the nature of the game involves engaging exploration of recognisable planets and unseen areas within the movies. This particular game was released across the three most popular digital gaming platforms; PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and Xbox, subsequently ensuring that player engagement was maximised and not hindered by console preference. Copyright & TM Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  8. 8. This intertwined narrative approach has been replicated across the remaining five feature films, along with a gaming series deriving from Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) animated television series. Furthermore, the Star Wars gaming franchise encompasses a whole host of other independent series across genres, including first-person shooters (FPSs), flight simulators and racing games, real-time strategy (RTSs) games, role- playing games (RPGs), and massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) just to name a few. STAR WARS 1977 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. TM & 1977 Lucasfilm Ltd. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK TM & 1980 Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL) All rights reserved. RETURN OF THE JEDI TM & 1983 Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL) All rights reserved. "Twentieth Century Fox", "Fox" and their associated logos are property of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. Each of those series possesses several full-length digital games that explore the rich history of Jedi Knights, the knights of the Old Republic, and interplanetary and intergalactic exploration, all of which bring their own puzzle piece to the Star Wars Expanded Universe Jigsaw. Transmedia practitioner, Robert Pratten, references a theory describing the role types adopted by digital game players, all of which are catered towards across one out of 170 Star Wars Games, which, again, maximises engagement. Copyright 2011 Robert Pratten
  10. 10. PRATTENS PIN UPS Copyright 2011 Robert Pratten
  11. 11. The success of the Star Wars Expanded Universes overall transmedia engagement approach is made evident by statistics posted by Wired in 2014 estimated that the fictional universe franchise has generated revenue of $37 billion across 40 years, dating back to the first film Star Wars: Episode IV - A new hope, the budget for which sat at a modest $11 million. The success of the franchise is as a result of the variety of content and mediums, however their production would equally have not been feasible if it werent for the shift in cultural fandom upon which transmedia is built. HOW EXACTLY HAS STAR WARS MADE $37 BILLION?
  12. 12. ENGAGEMENT The official mediums established by LucasArts include movies, books, comics, graphic novels, video games, toys, Lego characters, collectable action figurines, and animated shows. Unofficially, texts established by actively participating producers and consumers (prosumers) include Wookiepedia, Star Wars Kid, prosumer production of Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), and Family Guy Star Wars episodes. These unofficial mediums do not necessarily build upon the produced fictitious universe, but they do aid the establishment and maintenance of a sense of community and fandom amongst prosumers that choose to immerse themselves within the content. This form of participatory self- expression provides the necessary drive for universe expansion, whether this is done through direct participatory production, or indirectly securing the drive for demand and supply, if you create a large enough universe, people will fill it with their imagination. That philosophy is the foundation upon which the genre of transmedia games is built.
  13. 13. Robert Pratten states that the term engagement over immersion is crucial within transmedia terminology, as it requires each text to be compelling and rewarding through the processes of discovery, experience and exploration. This cultural shift of consumption proves to be a force that evoked the birth of transmedia as a technique, a philosophy of communications, and brand extension that enriches and broadens the life cycle of creative content, in this case through the medium of digital games.
  14. 14. A Relevant & Lengthy Ending? In her book An Introduction to New Media, Larissa Hjorth states that as gaming becomes increasingly mainstream as it consecutively fosters innovative forms of new media practices that merge media art and game art for the purpose of engagement. This is displayed through a shift in the term new media gaming to encompass both interactive and non- interactive genres. These parameters can be extended to overshadow transmedia storytelling as a new media technique for gaming genres. However, the notion of transmedia games can be extended as a form of genre, whereby interconnectivity to a larger media entity is what assimilates one game from the next, and not traditionally the style of design of gameplay, as Star Wars proves that merging of alternating genre styles does not deter from engagement. The nature of interwoven transmedia highlights the state of entertainment media as it currently stands, and facilitates feasible predictions surrounding the future of digital gaming production. Transmedia as a philosophy and a creative style can heavily influence production and consumption style, by binding all genres and styles of games together through narrative and storytelling.
  15. 15. MORE INFORMATION? Wookiepedias Game List: Wireds Financial Statistics: empire/ Jeff Gomez Interview: intelligence/2014/03/18/jeff-gomez-discusses-legos-star- wars-and-transmedia-campaigns Robert Prattens Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling: Larissa Hjorths An Introduction to New Media: ader.action?docID=10439515