Monday, February 28, 2005

Introducing 'Dirty Harry,' via Video Game, to a New Generation

The New York Times (registration required) reports on a new Clint Eastwood - Dirty Harry Video game:

Pauline Kael described Clint Eastwood's 1971 film, "Dirty Harry," as "cheerfully fascist" and "deeply immoral." One can only imagine what the late film critic would have said about "Dirty Harry," the video game.

The actor will lend his voice and likeness to a new "Dirty Harry" game, which is being produced by Eastwood's Malpaso Productions and overseen by Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment. "There are a lot of fans of the Harry Callahan character," said Warner Brothers' president and chief operating officer, Alan Horn. "And this is Clint's way of bringing it to a new audience and having some fun with it."

In a prepared statement, Mr. Eastwood said the games, "will also introduce this memorable film character to new generations on a medium they appreciate." The game will include characters and settings from the five-film franchise, which began with "Dirty Harry" in 1971 and ended with "The Dead Pool" in 1988. But the storyline will be original. "We are not retelling the stories that have already been told," said Jason Hall, senior vice president of Warner Brothers Interactive.

Mr. Hall would not comment on whether the video game will use a first-person shooter or third-person style of play. But the level of violence will match that seen on the big screen, which was controversial in its day.

"The movies tended to be mature and we are going to be consistent, most likely, with what the films delivered," he said. While Warner Brothers is publishing the title, the game developer has not been announced. The game will not be on shelves until the new Xbox and PlayStation gaming consoles arrive, in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

This is not the fist time Dirty Harry has starred in a video game. In 1990, there was Dirty Harry: The War Against Drugs, a Nintendo Entertainment System title that included sound clips from the movie. And the influence of the Dirty Harry films can also be seen in many recent video games, including Max Payne in 2001, Dead to Rights in 2002, True Crime: Streets of LA in 2003 and the Grand Theft Auto series.

"We have seen plenty of video games over the last decade essentially borrowing from the Dirty Harry franchise to create their own character," said Mr. Hall. "And in our view they are not the real deal."

I always enjoyed the genre.

So, release the games already!

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