Film director Peter Jackson practically handpicked Ubisoft's Michel Ansel to make the game of his film, having spent a week captivated by the gameplay of Beyond Good & Evil. His support for the game as an extension of the film has therefore been unprecedented.
Primordial beasts such as giant bats and land crabs have flapped and crept in, designed for but dropped from the film due to time constraints. Jackson also suggested modification of the film plot to help solve game problems. This unusual flexibility and understanding for Jackson's first game project has, for instance, allowed Ansel to supply ammo in the jungle via seaplane parachute drops that won't be seen in the film.
Ansel has recreated the rocky jungle, caves and waterways of deadly Skull Island in leaf-dripping detail that literally shines on Xbox 360. Although essentially the same game that you'll play on other consoles, on Xbox 360 the high-definition reality gap closes significantly, making the world-shaking roar of a T-Rex that much more terrifying, the effects of fire and water absolutely real, and the animation of man, bird and beast a very real extension of the film world.
But more than anything it is Ansel's innovative approach to game-making that has helped King Kong tower above more lacklustre film-to-game projects: ditching conventional heads-up displays for ammo and health; pacing gameplay between puny human and the mighty Kong; and urging the player to really think about using the gorgeously detailed environment to survive the film-expanding experience.
With the game out this November during the expected Xbox 360 launch window, you'll even get to visit Skull Island before you see the film in December! Check back soon for an update on the New York levels that make up the last 15 per cent of this 29-level monster mash...