Here at Ars, decades of cheap, poorly made movie-to-game adaptations have made us deeply skeptical of the whole concept. For every or out there, there are hundreds of quick cash-ins that give the whole idea a bad name.
Despite that well-earned skepticism, we’re still at least a little intrigued by .
That’s the new VR-exclusive semi-sequel to the hit 1993 Bill Murray movie being announced today (hey, happy Groundhog Day) by Sony Pictures Virtual Reality. It’s coming “this year” to Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR.
If you’re hoping to see Murray reprise his role as temporally-trapped Phil Connors, be aware that instead puts you in the shoes of “the charming but arrogant Phil Connors Jr.” as the publisher-provided synopsis puts it. Dear old dad appears only in an Instagram-style photo montage in the trailer and in Junior’s mind as a larger-than-life role model. “Living in his shadow was kind of tough,” Junior opines at one point. Still, the press release does promise that “beloved characters from the 1993 film” will be making an appearance, and a slightly off-kilter version of good old Ned “The Head” Ryerson appears in a fever dream during the trailer.
It should be no surprise that the game focuses on Connors Jr. getting trapped in his own endlessly recurring version of Groundhog Day, one he’s “going to have to repeat… over and over, until he learns the true value of friends and family.” Anyone’s who’s played already knows that can make a decent premise for a game. And Sony is promising -style “branching narratives and interactive storytelling… enabling players to choose myriad ways to get to the end.”
The involvement of Madrid-based developer Tequila Works (who worked on the inventive ) gives us some hope this will be more than the usual quick cash-in. Even if this does become the latest addition to that storied list of failed film-to-game titles, though, we’re unduly excited to finally get an “official” follow-up set in the -verse, even if it took 26 years and a move to virtual reality to do it.
Tequila Works had better watch that first step into VR, though. It’s a doo-hoo-zey.