When Frank Miller’s comic book serial Sin City was authentically and triumphantly adapted to the silver screen in 2005, an Australian game developer tried to jump in on the success with a video game adaptation of its own. Eurogamer breaks down the whole story of Transmission Games’ attempt to re-create Miller’s world in an interactive form, and by the end of the piece, it only makes us think that this game could have been awesome.
The pitch video, shown above, dates back to 2007 and captures the Sin City aesthetic remarkably well. The pitch was presented to Red Mile Entertainment, which held the license for Sin City video games at the time. Based off of this 30-second clip, the project was approved for development.
Narrative-wise, the game was developed as a prequel story, with Marv serving as the leading protagonist. Transmission Games, an Australian company, saw the game as an action-adventure title. The story progression was influenced by the Assassin’s Creed and God of War franchises, and the gameplay nodded to beat-’em-up-style combat. Punches and kicks were designed to chain together as enemies swarmed around you. Marv could even use the environment around him to assist in the carnage, adding an extra bit of depth to combo moves.
The game originally had two other playable characters as well, Miho and Dwight McCarthy. Miho was a Japanese hit woman, and McCarthy was a private detective prone to shortcuts. Miho was implemented to add a stealth dynamic, while McCarthy’s specialty was solving puzzles fit for a private eye.
Transmission Games cobbled together the short demo above, showing off a bit of how the game would run. One notable aspect is small, but important for Sin City: the rain. Transmission games had rendered it beautifully at this early stage. While the gameplay looks a bit rough, the game only ever reached preproduction status.
The project met its demise largely because of creative differences between Flint Dille, the man Miller chose to write and oversee the game, and Transmission Games. Dille and Red Mile conceived the game as a literal comic book adaptation, with players fighting through one panel at a time. Transmission Games desired an authentic adaptation that would add another layer of intrigue to the Sin City universe. It also didn’t help that the Australian dollar had risen past the United States dollar, making the project more expensive than previously estimated.
Red Mile Entertainment was acquired by Silverbirch in July 2008, and Silverbirch shuttered not long after, officially ending hope that the Sin City game would reach completion.
We can only hope that somehow the game rises from the ashes so we can return to Sin City.