HomeLAN: What playable characters will be in the Stargate SG-1 game?
Ben Lenzo: You'll be able to play as any one of your favourite SG-1 characters, dependant on the mission.
That's something that ate away at the back of my mind for quite a while, and this evening while walking home it clicked as to why.
One of the great things about SG1 is the dynamic between the central characters. Each one is, after eight seasons, very well established and well characterised. I imagine that the script sessions must be pretty easy - they write themselves.
That is why allowing the player to take on the role of any of those central characters will not work. It breaks the character dynamic. If you're playing as O'Neill, say - suddenly (unless they've done something very unusual with the gameplay), no more quips, no tensions between him and Carter, no more seat-of-the-pants socialising with alien races. Chances are the player either can't interact in that way at all, or anything that does happen is scripted. So either you break the character and character dynamics, or you break the immersion. It's lose-lose.
It's far from being the only licensed game to suffer from this dilemma. I tend to avoid that genre purely on the given ratio of good to bad games present, but I'm sure you can think of games, though they've licensed a bad-ass character, don't manage to make him bad-ass in the game.
Consider the small children. When they've been dreaming about superheroes, they don't usually tell you that they dreamt they were Superman or something - more usually, that they could fly too and they flew around the city helping him fight crime. See, that's what I reckon the problem is - we don't want to be those bad-ass characters, we want to hang out with them. It's one thing to be controlling Jack O'Neill, but quite another to be so cool yourself that even Jack O'Neill (Jack frickin' O'Neill, dude!) respects and relies on you.
So that's where I think licensed games should be trying to go. Add the player to the world of the movie, without displacing the central character at the same time.
For the curious, my SG1 game saw you starting out as an Airman on one of the higher-numbered SG teams (SG 25 or something). It featured randomly generated missions and a free roaming system, somewhat like GTA (though in my game you'd be more likely to get shot or arrested if you didn't haul ass and follow orders). You'd be able to wander off in the middle of a mission to go looking for alien technology, if you wanted, though your team leader might not be too happy with you when you got back. The SG1 characters themselves would have appeared occasionally, walking around the base or possibly on missions (for example, you might be assigned to escort Daniel Jackson to a Tokra treaty negotation). And I didn't refer to the game as an SG-1 game; the working title was (and still is) Stargate SGC.