The Next Big Thing (video game)

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The Next Big Thing
The Next Big Thing 2011 video game box.png
European cover art
Developer(s)Pendulo Studios
Publisher(s)Focus Home Interactive, Crimson Cow, Bulkypix (iOS)
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
iOS
Mac OS X
Release
  • NA: April 21, 2011
  • EU: April 21, 2011 (PC)
  • AU: May 6, 2011 (PC)
iOS (as Hollywood Monsters)
December 6, 2012
Genre(s)Adventure
Mode(s)Single-player

The Next Big Thing[a] is a 2011 graphic adventure game developed by Pendulo Studios and published by Focus Home Interactive. The spiritual successor to Pendulo's earlier Hollywood Monsters (1997), it takes place in an alternate-history, 1950s Hollywood where movie monster roles are played by real monsters. The game stars Dan Murray and Liz Allaire, two reporters who stumble across a conspiracy as they cover the film industry. Assuming control of Dan and Liz, the player navigates the game world, converses with non-player characters and solves puzzles.

Pendulo began developing The Next Big Thing in the late 2000s. The original Hollywood Monsters had been a success for the studio in Southern Europe, and Pendulo reported that requests for a sequel were consistent in the years after its release. Pendulo at first intended to remake Hollywood Monsters, but decided that the original's flaws—both in design and in what the developers retrospectively called its "male chauvinist" outlook—required a greater reimagining of the license.

The Next Big Thing was a commercial bomb upon its initial release for computers, although its later port for iOS saw more success. The game received generally favorable reviews from critics, according to Metacritic.

Gameplay[edit]

The Next Big Thing is a graphic adventure game controlled with a point-and-click interface.[2]

Plot[edit]

Setting and characters[edit]

The Next Big Thing stars reporters Dan Murray and Liz Allaire of The Quill. It takes place in a fantasy version of Hollywood where monsters act in films.[3]

Synopsis[edit]

Development[edit]

During Pendulo Studios' creation of the Runaway trilogy, the company consistently received fan requests for a sequel to its early adventure game Hollywood Monsters.[4][5] The company had hinted at the possibility of a second Hollywood Monsters as early as 1997,[6] and had begun the project only for it to evolve into Runaway: A Road Adventure.[7][8] Further hints of a sequel were dropped during Runaway's development.[9][10] The company's Rafael Latiegui said of the situation, "To each new game that we have been making, the reaction of the Spanish public has been the same: 'When is the next Hollywood Monsters?' "[5] This pressure from fans was one of the primary motivations for The Next Big Thing.[11][12]

Pre-production of The Next Big Thing began in the late 2000s, during the last phase of Runaway: A Twist of Fate's development. At the start, Pendulo conceived the game as a high-definition remake of Hollywood Monsters. According to designer and writer Josué Monchan, the company hoped to shorten its development times and felt that a remake would "lighten pre-production".[13] However, it increasingly drifted from this framework over time.[12] Monchan came to the conclusion that the original game's puzzle design and nonlinear structure did not hold up to modern standards.[14] As a result, Pendulo created something that "is not a second part, nor a remake", Latiegui explained.[15] Rather, the team borrowed heavily from Hollywood Monsters and attempted to take its ideas in new directions.[15][11] Dan Murray and Liz Allaire replaced the original protagonists Sue Bergman and Ron Ashman.[12] As Monchan noted that Hollywood Monsters was "a bit male chauvinist" in retrospect, Pendulo tried to imbue The Next Big Thing with a feminist outlook. The team also opted to tackle issues of racism with the game's story.[14]

Pendulo and publisher Focus Home Interactive announced The Next Big Thing in April 2010.[16][17] Commentators from Adventure Gamers and Jeux Video noted the project's close similarity to Hollywood Monsters;[18][19] Roberto García of MeriStation wrote that Spanish players suspected a connection between the games, but that "from Pendulo Studios the answer was always silence".[2] However, in April 2011, the game was retitled Hollywood Monsters 2 in Spain.[20] The Next Big Thing first launched on April 21, 2011.[21] In late 2012, it received an iOS release under the name Hollywood Monsters.[1] The iOS release was localised in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian.[22]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
PublicationScore
4Players69%[26]
Destructoid7.5/10[23]
Eurogamer7/10[24]
GameSpot6/10[25]
GameStar80/100[28]
Jeuxvideo.com16/20[29]
PC Games8/10[27]
Micromanía93/100[30]
MeriStation8.5/10[2]
Marca Player8.5/10[31]
Gameblog4/5 stars[32]
Gamekult7/10[33]

According to Josué Monchan of Pendulo Studios, The Next Big Thing was financially a "huge failure" upon its initial release for computers. He attributed its underperformance to the limited cultural relevance of its subject matter circa 2011. Its low sales hurt the studio's business opportunities, and Monchan said that Pendulo's publisher lost faith in the team afterward. Pendulo reacted by rethinking its development process and creating its first fully dramatic game, Yesterday.[14] Critically, The Next Big Thing earned "generally favorable reviews", as calculated by Metacritic.[34] HobbyConsolas reported it as one of the highest-rated Spanish-made games on Metacritic by 2017.[35]

Reviewers praised its graphics, characters, story and animations, while some criticized the puzzles, depending on the reviewer they were viewed as too easy or too "far-fetched" (Destructoid).[23][24][25]

In Spain, The Next Big Thing was nominated in four categories, including Best Game, at the 2011 annual awards held by the Asociación de Desarrolladores de Ocio Interactivo Digital.[36] It came away with the prizes for Best Sound, Best Graphics and Best Script.[37] The game's four nominations at Spain's National Gamelab Videogame Industry Awards,[38][39] meanwhile, resulted in four losses to Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.[40]

iOS port[edit]

Reception
Review scores
PublicationScore
Pocket Gamer6/10[41]
TouchArcade4/5 stars[1]
Slide to Play2/4 stars[42]
HobbyConsolas88/100[43]

Despite the commercial failure of The Next Big Thing's computer version, Josué Monchan said that Pendulo Studios saw much more success with the game's iOS port, Hollywood Monsters. He called it a "moderate hit" on the platform, and noted that it had out-earned the computer release as of December 2014.[14] Metacritic characterized reviews for the iOS port as "mixed or average".[44] In 2013, the port was nominated for the "Excellence in Storytelling" prize at the International Mobile Gaming Awards,[45][46] but lost to The Walking Dead.[46]

David Wolinsky of TouchArcade praised Hollywood Monsters' production values and called it a "rock-solid and fun adventure", although he found its comedy "hit-or-miss" and encountered crash issues not present in the computer version.[1] Writing for HobbyConsolas, David Alonso Hernández hailed the new touchscreen interface as a "great fit" and arguably a better match than traditional point-and-click controls. He enjoyed the writing, art and puzzles; his biggest complaint was with the loss of the computer version's Spanish-language dub.[43] Conversely, Harry Slater of Pocket Gamer and Brittany Vincent of Slide to Play both called the new touch controls "fidgety" and imprecise, and dubbed the puzzles illogical. The two reviewers saw Hollywood Monsters as a largely missed opportunity, with an interesting premise bogged down by poor execution.[42][41]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Released as Hollywood Monsters 2 in Spain, and on iOS devices worldwide as Hollywood Monsters.[1]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Wolinsky, David (December 17, 2012). "'Hollywood Monsters' Review - Are Drunken Robots the New Three-Headed Monkeys?". Touch Arcade. Archived from the original on December 19, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c García, Roberto (June 16, 2011). "El rejuvenecer de un clásico". MeriStation (in Spanish). Archived from the original on August 18, 2011.
  3. ^ Raha, Shuva (April 21, 2011). "The Next BIG Thing Review". Adventure Gamers. Archived from the original on September 12, 2015.
  4. ^ Bronstring, Marek (July 20, 2003). "Runaway Interview". Adventure Gamers. Archived from the original on September 6, 2003.
  5. ^ a b Fernández, Mireia (May 17, 2011). "Entrevistamos en exclusiva a Pendulo Studios". OnGames (in Spanish). Archived from the original on March 17, 2012.
  6. ^ Espunya, Jordi (December 12, 1997). "Entrevistamos a los creadores de Hollywood Monsters". MeriStation (in Spanish). Archived from the original on January 18, 2001.
  7. ^ Gilbertz, Luc (January 12, 2001). "Interviews; Kai Fiebig". Adventure-Treff (in German). Archived from the original on April 1, 2015.
  8. ^ Staff (November 10, 1999). "Dinamic prepara sus novedades". GameSpot Spain (in Spanish). Archived from the original on July 15, 2001.
  9. ^ Bergerud, John (October 11, 2000). "GA-Source Q&A: Runaway". GA-Source. Archived from the original on February 16, 2001.
  10. ^ Masnou, G. (February 2001). "Avance; Runaway: A Road Adventure". GameLive PC (in Spanish) (4): 62, 63.
  11. ^ a b García, Enrique (May 26, 2011). "Pendulo: 'Hollywood Monsters 2 no es ni un homenaje ni una secuela'". MeriStation (in Spanish). Archived from the original on May 20, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c Marquez, Rubén (July 4, 2011). "'Los Sims han mordido el polvo frente a Hollywood Monsters 2': entrevista a Pendulo Studios". Vida Extra (in Spanish). Archived from the original on July 7, 2011.
  13. ^ Borondo, Sara (December 29, 2019). "Josué Monchán, el creador de historias y traductor de aventuras de videojuegos". Vandal (in Spanish). Archived from the original on January 23, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c d Monchan, Josué (December 6, 2014). Trial, Success, Error, Restart: Twenty Years of Pendulo Studios. AdventureX. London. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  15. ^ a b Navarro, David (July 1, 2011). "Los maestros de la aventura gráfica". MarcaPlayer (in Spanish). Archived from the original on March 5, 2013.
  16. ^ Allin, Jack (April 16, 2010). "Small peek at The Next BIG Thing unveiled by Pendulo Studios". Adventure Gamers. Archived from the original on January 2, 2016.
  17. ^ "Focus Home Interactive and Pendulo Studios Unveil 'The Next Big Thing'" (Press release). Focus Home Interactive. April 16, 2010. Archived from the original on December 16, 2011.
  18. ^ Allin, Jack (March 4, 2011). "The Next BIG Thing hands-on". Adventure Gamers. Archived from the original on October 28, 2014.
  19. ^ Baryton, Antoine (June 2, 2010). "Aperçu; The Next BIG Thing". Jeux Video (in French). Archived from the original on June 5, 2010.
  20. ^ Otero, César (April 14, 2011). "The Next Big Thing cambia su nombre por Hollywood Monsters 2". MeriStation (in Spanish). Archived from the original on January 3, 2019.
  21. ^ Blair, Jason L. (April 21, 2011). "The Next BIG Thing releases right on cue". Adventure Gamers. Archived from the original on November 10, 2016.
  22. ^ emilygera (27 November 2012). "Hollywood Monsters brings adventure gaming to iOS on Dec. 6". Polygon.
  23. ^ a b Tan, Maurice (April 29, 2011). "Review: The Next BIG Thing". Destructoid. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012.
  24. ^ a b Reed, Kristan (April 29, 2011). "Download Games Roundup - Review". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on May 4, 2011.
  25. ^ a b Petit, Carolyn (April 21, 2011). "The Next Big Thing Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on April 25, 2011.
  26. ^ Wöbbeking, Jan (February 4, 2011). "Test: The Next Big Thing". 4Players (in German). Archived from the original on July 10, 2020.
  27. ^ Schmid, Patrick (February 13, 2011). "The Next Big Thing im Test: Ein gelungenes Hollywood-Adventure". PC Games (in German). Archived from the original on July 9, 2019.
  28. ^ Lück, Patrick (January 31, 2011). "The Next Big Thing im Test - Keine große Sache, aber eine gute". GameStar (in German). Archived from the original on July 10, 2020.
  29. ^ Lena (April 7, 2011). "The Next BIG Thing Test - PC". Jeuxvideo.com (in French). Archived from the original on September 2, 2011.
  30. ^ González, Tomás (September 2011). "Hollywood Monsters 2; ¡Vaya pandilla de monstruos!". Micromanía (in Spanish) (198): 40–42.
  31. ^ Navarro, Dave (July 2011). "Cuando los monstruos son 'gente normal'". Marca Player (in Spanish) (34): 90–91.
  32. ^ Trazom (April 8, 2011). "The Next BIG Thing, le test sur PC et Mac". Gameblog (in French). Archived from the original on April 11, 2011.
  33. ^ ALS (April 8, 2011). "Test The Next BIG Thing sur PC". Gamekult (in French). Archived from the original on April 11, 2011.
  34. ^ "The Next Big Thing PC". Metacritic. Archived from the original on August 29, 2011.
  35. ^ Huertos, Alejandro Alcolea (March 30, 2017). "Los mejores juegos españoles según las notas de Metacritic". HobbyConsolas (in Spanish). Archived from the original on June 26, 2019.
  36. ^ García, Enrique (June 21, 2011). "Nominados Premios Desarrollador_ES: Hollywood Monsters 2, Basket Dudes y más". MeriStation (in Spanish). Archived from the original on May 20, 2019.
  37. ^ García, Enrique (July 16, 2011). "Premios Desarrollador_ES: Hollywood Monsters 2, mejor sonido, guión y gráficos". MeriStation (in Spanish). Archived from the original on May 20, 2019.
  38. ^ Rolfe, Pamela (June 29, 2011). "Gamelab 2011 Kicks Off as a Must for Video Game Industry". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 8, 2011.
  39. ^ "Finalistas y premiados" (in Spanish). Gamelab. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011.
  40. ^ Robles, Xavi (July 1, 2011). "Ganadores de los premios del Gamelab". Eurogamer Spain (in Spanish). Archived from the original on July 8, 2020.
  41. ^ a b Slater, Harry (December 10, 2012). "Hollywood Monsters review - iPad reviews". Pocket Gamer. Archived from the original on December 12, 2012.
  42. ^ a b Vincent, Brittany (December 20, 2012). "Hollywood Monsters Review". Slide to Play. Archived from the original on December 23, 2012.
  43. ^ a b Hernández, David Alonso (December 12, 2012). "Análisis de Hollywood Monsters para iOS". HobbyConsolas (in Spanish). Archived from the original on January 7, 2019.
  44. ^ "Hollywood Monsters iOS". Metacritic. Archived from the original on July 10, 2015.
  45. ^ Fernàndez, Salva (January 28, 2013). "Hollywood Monsters de Pendulo Studios, nominado en los IMGAWARDS". MeriStation (in Spanish). Archived from the original on May 30, 2019.
  46. ^ a b "The 9th Annual IMGA Winners". International Mobile Gaming Awards. Archived from the original on August 6, 2013.

External links[edit]