Saif Ali Khan has tied up with game creator Sangam Gupta of Trine Animation and Gaming Studio, one of the few Indian companies that create Xbox and PlayStation games. The pre-release promotions for the actor-producer’s next home production, Agent Vinod, will kick off in April 2011 with a PlayStation game and a comic book.
A keen gamer himself, Khan lists his favourite games as Half Life and Quake for PS2 amongst first person shooters, and Age Of Empires and The Mist amongst strategy titles. His new partner, 24-year-old Gupta, has eight-nine games to his credit, including Gothic 3, WiiYoga, and Sony’s soon-to-release Street Cricket.
The Delhi whiz kid has been in talks with the superstar for the last three weeks. He cracked the deal by showing Khan one of his faves — Uncharted 2: Among Thieves — also revolving around a secret service agent on a treasure hunt. "Saif loved it and we’re trying to come up with an action shooter game along those lines. You get to play Agent Vinod and go looking for clues around the country, interacting with other characters, including Kareena’s (Kapoor) along the way," informs Gupta.
For all ages
The game and the comic book will also include characters that are not part of the film. “The idea is to come up with a different medium of expression that will appeal to kids and adults,” says Khan, who is brainstorming with Gupta on the graphic style and visuals in consultation with director Sriram Raghavan, and will do the voiceover himself, along with the other actors.
Earlier, too, Bollywood movies have come up with such games, but not one that reportedly costs over Rs 5 crore. Khan refuses to discuss figures but admits that the “scale is fairly impressive”. Gupta asserts that in terms of platform, technology and hardware, it will be on par with games based on Hollywood movies.
“What will set it apart is that it’s set in India and has a desi feel to it. If you look at the $1 billion gaming markets in China and Korea, the most popular games have local characters and indigenous themes,” he reasons.
Agent Vinod is Gupta’s stepping-stone to Bollywood, which he believes is an untapped market. “Hollywood’s big ticket movies spend $10-15 million on such games that are proven models in the UK and US. And even during the global slowdown, the PS2 and PS3 markets were unaffected because a game offers 30 hours of entertainment for as little as Rs 500. In the US, the gaming market is bigger than that of movies and music put together,” he points out. “Even back home, the consumption numbers have doubled since last year. It’s the right time for Agent Vinod to step in,” he adds.