The Thing 2: A Sequel Frozen in the Lost Video Game Wasteland
Since I added The Thing prequel to my Blu-ray collection (read my review here), I've been on a bit of a Thing kick lately. I watched John Carpenter's 1982 movie again, and I've been looking through various Thing fan sites to see if I can learn anything new about this sporadically active franchise. While the poor box office performance of 2011's The Thing precludes another Thing movie any time soon, I was surprised to discover that there was yet another Thing project in the works even before anyone considered a prequel on the silver screen. The project was called The Thing 2, and it was designed by Computer Artworks as a sequel to their 2002 The Thing video game.
From what I've been able to piece together, development of The Thing 2 was discontinued after Computer Artworks shut down in 2004. I've found some conceptual artwork for this game online, which you can see in the picture gallery I've assembled below. Read on....
As video game tie-ins to movies go, The Thing game was a fantastic treat for Thing fans. It had everything that a fan could ask for: bleak settings and situations, flamethrowers, paranoia, blood test kits, and a whole lot of gore. The game featured a team building dynamic where you had to win the trust of other human characters by convincing them that you weren't infected by the Thing; some of these same characters would later reveal themselves to be Things, usually during the most intense and inconvenient moments. You also could only spend limited amounts of time outside of the human bases (which included the charred remains of both Outpost 31 and the Norwegian research station), because your character would freeze to death otherwise due to the harsh conditions of the Antarctic. These details successfully captured the look and feel of Carpenter's movie, and they made for a great survival horror video game as well.
After such an impressive effort behind the first game, it's immensely frustrating to look at what might have been in the concept art for The Thing 2. According to the notes in the art guide pages below, the sequel was supposed to take place in a huge oil refinery (complete with service tunnels, an oil rig, and a settlement of porta-cabins filled with workers) and a Thing-infested aircraft carrier. With vast new environments to explore and deadly new Thing mutations to fight, The Thing 2 would have been a spectacular continuation of what Carpenter started way back in the 80s.