The developers of the Mad Max game surely can’t believe their luck. Which other film franchise has come back so successfully after 30 years away, transforming a game that could have been seen as a risky punt into something approaching a sure thing?
The brand is popular and vital again – people want to play this game. Interest would no doubt be much lower if the movie had stunk and sunk without trace at the box office. Weirdly, that now means the pressure’s on. There’s a level of expectation – better not blow it.
We had a 20 minute hands-on session at gaming convention E3 in Los Angeles last week. Well, 40 minutes, actually – there were two of us playing, both of us unleashed into the open world of the wasteland to forge our own adventures.
There were two guideline quests that affected where we were dropped into the game – one where we had to track then take down a convoy in your car (the Magnum Opus), the other where you sacked an enemy outpost to weaken the hold primary villain Scabrous Scrotus (son of the film’s Peter Stringfellow-faced bad guy Immortan Joe) has on the area.
This is a Warner Brothers game, so on-foot combat will be second nature to you if you’ve played the Batman Arkham games or Shadow Of Mordor. Hit, hit, hit, triangle for counter when prompted, try to keep you combo ticking upwards. But it’s no less engaging for its familiarity – there’s a reason your Twitter feed is full of people eagerly stating "This is my evening" with a picture of the Arkham Knight case. (Hint: it’s because people really like it.) You take it over by fighting your way through the enemies then igniting explosive barrels, filling your screen with impressive explosions.
But – importantly, because he’s the ROAD warrior – it’s driving where Mad Max makes its distinction from its WB brethren. And that’s despite everyone being able to zip around in the Batmobile for the first time. The wasteland is vast, open and the Magnum Opus is a customisable monster of a vehicle. When you reach the convoy an intense and chaotic firefight ensues – you verses roughly eight enemy vehicles. We were too busy trying not to die to count exactly.
Currently, exact plot details aren’t being revealed. But maybe they aren’t important – explosions, big car, huge desert to explore. Everything you’d hope for seems to be place. What a game. What a lovely game.
Mad Max will be released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on 4 September