Lionsgate taps indie developer for official 'Hunger Games' game

What does Katniss Everdeen look like as an 8-bit character? You'll find out in Girl on Fire for iOS, which might not be the "Hunger Games" tie-in you're expecting.

The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire is coming soon to an iOS device near you.
The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire is coming soon to an iOS device near you. Semi Serious Software

These days, mega-hot movie properties almost always get the app treatment, whether it's a game or some "interactive companion." And right now, there's no hotter property than "The Hunger Games."

Thus, you'd expect that any tie-in app would come from a big developer: EA, Gameloft, or even the studio's own label.

Surprise! The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire for iOS is in development by Adam Saltsman, an indie developer best known for the browser-based games Canabalt and Gravity Hook (both of which have recently been adapted for iOS).

So, what will the official "Hunger Games" game look like? That remains to be seen, but there are some very interesting clues to be found in Saltsman's earlier efforts. Canabalt and Gravity Hook are simplistic high-score challenges that employ 8-bit graphics (a popular trend in recent years).

And, sure enough, the title screen (currently the only publicly released artwork) for Girl on Fire suggests something quite similar--a game that looks like it might have originated on a Commodore 64.

Saltsman hasn't shared any details about the gameplay, other than to say it won't simply be a Canabalt rehash starring Katniss as the runner. Instead, he pitched Lionsgate, the studio behind the movie, an "original touch-based action game," one that "does feature a running character, but the focus of the game is more on marksmanship and strategy."

What I find particularly interesting is the story of how Saltsman ended up with this gig, which he chronicles on his blog.

He also mentions that he's working with an indie "dream team," whose members include veterans of such games as Tap Tap Dance, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter, and Super Meat Boy.

I'll admit that although I'm neither a girl nor a teenager, I loved all three "Hunger Games" books. I'll also admit that I'm not a big fan of the 8-bit stuff, even superpopular titles like Tiny Tower (which CNET named one of the best free iPad games ). So I'm very interested to see The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire as a finished product.

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