I Am Number Four: Turning Superpowers and Teen Love Into A Video Game

Posted on February 2, 2011

I Am Number Four

The Steven Spielberg / Michael Bay produced I Am Number Four opens in theaters this weekend, and represents the first in what Touchstone Pictures hopes is a long series of these films, based on the book of the same name, which is meant to be the first in a series of six. The novel is written by James Frey (of A Million Little Pieces fame), and Jobie Hughes. It was first published last August, and the second novel The Power of Six is due out later this year.

The film represents your prototypical story of a strange with powers struggling to discover his own identity, while also falling in love and struggling against authority and/or repression. In this case, it’s one of the last survivors of an alien race struggling against genocide, while trying to unlock the secrets buried within that could help save them. Remarkably, the film is ripe for a video game adaptation, but of course given the problems that such projects seem to have, Disney/Touchstone (who doesn’t have the best game/movie record) has stayed away from that territory.

Here, we delve into I Am Number Four, and talk about why this movie would make a good game. Oh, and beware. There are a few spoilers in here.


The film revolves around a stranger, the titular Number Four, with mysterious powers having to hide himself from the public eye so as not to reveal himself, which has him and his warrior guardian (played by Justified’s Timothy Olyphant) living a nomadic existence while trying to stay off the grid. A task that involves multiple computers scrubbing Number Four’s images off of the internet constantly. If he shows up in a YouTube video or a Facebook photo, it gets zapped.

As the film opens, a young boy is pursued by unseen creatures, and brutally murdered. Simultaneously, tousled-hair Number Four screams in agony, as a third glyph-like tattoo burns into his skin. When he returns to his protector, he tells him “Number Three is dead.” As the film unspools, you’ll find out that Number Four, or John Smith as he’s known under his new alias, was part of of a group of nine infant aliens from the planet Lorien with the power to defend their race. But, before they could mature, their planet was wiped out.

Now these nine have been raised on Earth along with their guardians, and only six of them remain. As they grow, they discover “Legacies” that they have. Individual powers that can help them defeat the Mogadorians, a race intent on wiping them out. Number Four has to discover his legacies, while keeping his identity hidden, and try to blend in with the humans.

I Am Number Six


Number Four: Four or “John,” is a good-looking, blonde-haired surfer wannabe who has to keep his head down, or else he risks murder at the hands of the overpowered Mogadorians. He carries with him a metal box that was passed down to him by his father, and may unlock the secrets of his own abilities. Early on, he develops the ability to shoot rays of light from his hands, and becomes faster and stronger than a normal human.

Henri: John’s guardian from Lorien who has been tasked with keeping John safe. He’s a stickler for secrecy, checks in with John via cell phone every hour, and keeps tabs on his activities via the internet while keeping them a secret. He’s highly trained in combat, and carries a Lorien power dagger.

Sam Goode: Sam is John’s lone male friend at his new school, and he’s the outcast science geek. His father went missing while searching for aliens, and Sam hopes to continue his legacy. When he discovers John’s extraterrestrial secrets, he joins the team and uses his knowledge and his father’s research to help him.

Sarah Hart: Sarah Hart plays the dead weight, er, I mean love interest to Number Four, which really means something after his guardian tells him that when they fall in love with someone, it’s for life. John spends an inordinate amount of time pining for Sarah and protecting her. She’s a photography buff with ties to the school’s quarterback, who isn’t too keen on John.

Mark James: The local quarterback who still has the hots for Sarah, Mark doesn’t take too kindly to John encroaching on his territory. After numerous pranks and scuffles with John, he eventually fights alongside him helps him out.

Bernie Kosar: A small lizard that stows away in the Jeep of Four’s Guardian at the beginning of the film later shapeshifts into a beagle, which they adopt and name Bernie Kosar. Later, during a climactic fight, Bernie shapeshifts into an enormous beast who aids Four and Six in their fight against the Mogadorians.

Number Six: The mysterious Number Six tracks John down throughout the story, ultimately revealing herself during the climactic fight. She has the ability to shield herself and others, and can turn invisible and teleport at short range. She’s a vicious fighter, and we learn that her own guardian was killed in battle. Also, she’s extremely hot.

The Mogadorians: A tattoo-headed race of aliens who breathe through gill-like slits around their nose, and hunger for the destruction of everyone from the planet Lorien. They are hunting down the Nine and killing them in numerical order, which leads them to Number Four. They use power weapons, knives, and enormous creatures to pursue and kill their prey.

I Am Number Sarah


As with Prototype or inFamous, you play as Number Four, discovering how to control your powers while developing new ones in the process. However, you have the added task of having to appear normal while in high school. This means keeping your abilities under wraps during encounters with Mark James and his football cronies. Additionally, you’ll develop your friendship with Sam Goode, learning about his father and his research into aliens, and find out more about Sarah.

Side quests and missions will take you all over the town of Paradise, Ohio, where you’ll meet everyone from Mark’s suspicious Sheriff father, to Sam’s abusive stepfather. Slowly you’ll unlock some of your own basic abilities, while struggling to maintain your identity as a normal teenager. You and Henri will have brief encounters with Mogadorian scouts, and will have to work hard to stay off the radar of the conspiracy website They Walk Among Us.

Inevitably, John is discovered, leading to the climax at the high school. Thankfully, through the intervention of Bernie and Number Six, and with the help of Sam, Sarah, and Mark, you can eventually make your way through this final boss battle, before ending the story on a cliffhanger.


With both John and Number Six, there’s a ripe opportunity for some Legacy-powered co-op gameplay. Toss in the ability to play as Sam, avoiding bullies and continuing your father’s research, or as Sarah, photographing the world through your lenses and experiencing the flipside of falling in love with a superpowered alien, and there are several game experiences buried in here.

If I Am Number Four performs well at the box office, we’ll no doubt see a string of sequels exploring the lives of the other Lorien teens on our planet. With Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay behind it, would you play a game like this? It combines superpowers and angsty love, which seem to be extremely popular right now.

Go to Source (G4TV.com)

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Categories: Game News

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