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Cats: The Game

January 13th, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 16 Comments · Design, Industry, Music

I love Broadway musicals.

And I still think this is the stupidest thing I’ve heard all month.

But today the word has come out that Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Really Useful Group, the company responsible for handling Webber’s various projects, is currently in talks with multiple video game publishers with the goal of bringing Webber’s musicals into the world of video games.

I can see Phantom of the Opera work as a rhythm/Diner Dash combo game. You sing and match notes to become the Phantom’s new musical protege. Maybe throw in some quick time events to keep chandeliers from falling on patrons. Sing well, make the Opera Populaire a success, etc.

Sunset Boulevard could be an adventure or mystery game, I suppose. Evita could work as a city builder or Tropico-lite.

But Cats? Jesus Christ Superstar? By Jeeves?


16 Comments so far ↓

  • Scott

    That’s the craziest thing I’ve seen this year.

    Will they end up being CSI or Law&Order type games? I always see those at Best Buy and wonder how much they stink.

  • Alan Au

    I see this as the evolution of musical theater rather than the evolution of games. Really though, I wonder who the target audience is supposed to be. That is, I would expect Final Fantasy VII the musical before Cats the game.

  • Bruce

    “That is, I would expect Final Fantasy VII the musical before Cats the game.”

    I don’t think I agree with you.

  • steve

    “That is, I would expect Final Fantasy VII the musical before Cats the game.”

    I’m thinking there are more people who would play a game based on Cats, i.e. a huge percentage of those women who play Diner Dash and their ilk, versus gamers who’d go see a musical.

    As usual, I’m disappointed—not in you specifically, Alan—that gamers can’t even conceive of people who don’t share their exact tastes playing games. For all of the talk of “getting more people into gaming,” they sure do want to cut people off from every new entry point.

  • Vic Davis

    Cat’s The CRPG
    I use my + 1 Cat Litter Scooper and roll a natural 20. Wheew, didn’t spill a grain.

    Cat’s the TBS
    I complete the Super Cat Tree secret project. Awesome! +20% to all feline climbing units.

    Cat’s the FPS
    The catnip gun keeps jamming and I have to keep doing missions for the Vet to get my cat scratch fever pills. The respawning pit bull checkpoints are really starting to annoy me as well. If I didn’t hate the water so much I’d take the boat to get to the next mission.

    Cat’s the Experimental Art Game
    Meow! Meow! Game Over.

  • Jason

    “Citing the growth of the female gamer demographic and the popularity of music based games like Rock Band, SingStar, Lips, and Karaoke Revolution, the group is looking to bring the Webber library to players by letting them sing along as characters from the shows and effectively “audition” for a role in the musicals.”

    That actually doesn’t sound so crazy. You know there’s got to be a mid-sized market for something like that, especially when you think of all the poor fools who were suckered into spending $60 a ticket on those terrible shows. I still curse Andrew Lloyd Webber for the hundreds of dollars I blew trying to impress a certain young lady back in my late teens.

    “Cat’s The CRPG
    I use my + 1 Cat Litter Scooper and roll a natural 20. Wheew, didn’t spill a grain.”
    Sorry, but cats will not perform menial labor. They expect to be the Chosen One right from level 1.

  • Troy

    60 dollars a ticket? Those were the days…

    Anyway, yeah, the basic game idea of “Sing to Webber” is no more ridiculous than “Sing to Aerosmith” or “American Idol The Game”, but the big problem is reaching this audience. Except for the ongoing Phantom, Webber hasn’t had a cultural phenomenon in years, and the drama kids of the gaming generation became Rent heads.

    I think my Phantom idea is better.

  • Jason Lefkowitz

    Forget Webber. Today’s gamer wants Urinetown: The Game!

  • Justin Fletcher

    You beat me to it, Troy; why isn’t this “RENT: The Game?” Cats may be forever, but it certainly isn’t now.

    “Because it’s a Really Useful Group game.”

    Fine, then why limit it to one show? Non-gaming drama geeks would probably line up for a greatest hits sing-a-long from Phantom, Evita, JCS, etc. And kids all over the nation are at least marginally familiar with the oeuvre thanks to last year’s Andrew Lloyd Weber night on American Idol.

  • steve

    “but the big problem is reaching this audience.”

    One commercial during “American Idol” should do it. Maybe hit “The View” once or twice too.

  • Scott R. Krol

    Would non-gamers though respond to commercials? It seems to me that the biggest hurdle the market has with getting the non-gamer into gaming is getting them to make the effort. I’m not sure if said Webber loving Soccer Mom watching American Idol would see a commercial for “Sing to Webber” and then either (a) jump online to purchase the downloadable version or (b) drive down to EB Games the next day to pick up a physical copy.

    I have a feeling the reason the casual market is so successful is because they tend to market on mainstream sites, and the effort required to seek them out is minimal since Soccer Mom can just click on the ad.

  • Justin Fletcher

    “Would non-gamers though respond to commercials?”

    Nintendo is banking on it with their high-wattage DS commercials.

  • steve

    None of that explains the success of the Wii, which required people to not only go to the store, but to wait in line again and again to get one of the bloody things. And they also buy the Guitar Hero and Rock Bands of the world, as those games extend well beyond the gamer demographic.

    (Those two products are by far the biggest “bridge” games between the casual and the hardcore.)

    I’m not sure why games would be different from movies or music or any other consumer good advertised on television. People see a commercial for something that interests them, they buy it at the store.

    The key is to stop thinking of EB Games as their destination. They’ll see the Webber game at Wal-Mart and Target.

  • Scott R. Krol

    Good points, Justin and Steve. Hadn’t really thought about Nintendo’s success.

    Penny Arcade actually did a comic on this subject today that’s somewhat amusing..

  • Alan Au

    So yes, perhaps I’m underestimating the appeal of Cats, but that factors into my assumption that the intersection of Cats fans and game players is limited, even taking the casual market into account. More likely I’m just willfully refusing to admit the appeal of throwing a brand name onto a product. Hmmm, now I’m wondering why nobody has made a MacGyver RPG yet…

  • Bruce

    Putting a brand name onto a product is a legitimate marketing strategy. It’s also something that many people respond favorably to. Of course, we know they are all dumb ……..