A Canadian development company has acquired the exclusive rights to make video games based on the works and likenesses of Charlie Chaplin.
Charlie Chaplin is the legendary actor-director of the cinema era. He wrote and directed dozens of films, primarily starring himself. His works, such as The Tramp and The Great Dictator, have made him one of the world’s most respected comedy icons. Chaplin is now widely respected, and old clips and even entire films have found a contemporary audience on YouTube.
The news came via a CBC report from Quebec-based B Df’Rent Games, which, along with Chaplin expert Yves Durand, successfully pitched the idea to the Chaplin family.
The conditions the family wanted were: “No violence. No sexism. No racism. Genuine storytelling.”
How the legendary director’s work will be turned into a video game remains to be seen. If only because it seems that those involved have done little beyond laying the groundwork. The company’s founder envisions the project as a “social impact” video game being developed alongside Indie Asylum, a Montreal “gaming cooperative”.
In fact, contrary to popular belief, Chaplin has already appeared on screens once. In 1988, US Gold released an MS-DOS Charlie Chaplin game. It was a quirky little thing, almost a precursor to Lionhead’s The Movies: you played a well-animated Chaplin in “scenes” in his tramp costume, then edited these together into movies that would, in a good way, please the audience. It was groundbreaking for its time but still a genuine curiosity today.
Unfortunately, however, there is a worrying development. The official website of B Df’Rent has this sentence:
“B Df’Rent Games, a Software Publisher of the Little Tramp Adventure Game for Mobile Devices. Available in the future, a series of NFT based on the IP of the game.”
The intention here seems to be more about bringing the image of such an iconic figure into the blockchain business. Not about actually making a great game based on his work. Violence is probably the last thing the Chaplin family should be worried about.