Paramount Global’s decision to transform the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into a God of War-styled game takes the franchise in a new direction. We speak to comic book fans and gamers to gauge expectations
A panel from The Last Ronin
Since their debut, the quartet of Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michaelangelo have been part of millennial nostalgia around the globe. Created in May 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, the story of four mutated turtles from New York, named after Renaissance masters and trained in the ninja arts, was definitive of the ’90s. From their love for pizza to the catchphrase of Cowabunga, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) franchise stood out for teen humour, pop-culture and the visual style. Now, it is time for a transition.
Screengrab from the game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. Pic Courtesy/Dotemu.com
In a recent revelation, Doug Rosen, senior VP for games and emerging media at Paramount Global, shared that the franchise will be adapting the comic into a God Of War-styled game for Playstation, Xbox and PC gamers. The game will be based on Eastman’s 2020 arc, The Last Ronin, built around the last of the mutant turtles seeking a battle finale with the arch-enemy, Shredder. Darker, grittier and more mature in its theme, it is a far cry from the fun, campy Saturday morning cartoons. We speak to TMNT fans and gamers to get to grips on the possible makeover.
Keep the humour alive
Tejas Menon, 34, musician and comic fan
I was born in the generation when TMNT was a big deal. The comic was quite random, appealing and a colourful gateway to American, specifically New York, culture. I remember my brother hated pizza, till he saw the TMNT cartoons. I do know that Kevin Eastman conceptualised the Last Ronin arc quite like he wrote the original comic — a dark Japanese manga. Perhaps, now is the time to explore it because the audience has matured. But I still feel that the best version of the TMNT is when they are goofy. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles only works as a premise when they are teenagers — awkward, funny and quirky. I like the Ronin arc with its darkness, but they will need to find a balance. The game is a very cool idea, but it is not the reason why I love TMNT. The humour is where they shine, in my opinion.
Focus on the action
Raghu Muralidharan, 33, delivery head – IT and avid gamer
My best memories of the franchise date back to the TMNT console games from Nintendo. It was a fantastic two-player game with the promise of more to come. I particularly loved Leonardo, with his blue bandana — he was my favourite pick whenever I was playing. The idea of translating this ‘ninja’ arc into a God of War style-game is welcome. The God of War games have a mysterious undertone that offers a chance to explore the story. If they are building a game where you can be the hero exploring the TMNT universe, it would be fantastic. As a gamer, I would prefer that the focus remains on the action. For any gamer, the fights have to be the centrepiece along with animation, sound and the immersive experience.
A panel from The Last Ronin. Pics Courtesy/IDWPublishing
The perfect take
Devesh Chhabria, 37, founder, Superhero Toy Store and comic book fan
I am excited because these are some of my favourite characters of all time. Being a fan of the comic series, I think it is a great take because the background story [of The Last Ronin] is brilliant. The gaming industry caters to an older age group. You need an on-the-edge thriller for such games. I understand the inhibitions of TMNT being a lighter comic in its tonality, but the Last Ronin has also done phenomenally well as a series. By that measure, the storyline is perfect. I loved that it gives Mikey a little more character beyond the light-headed guy. It is a comic about him growing up after experiencing loss. So, it is quite relatable as a fan of the genre.