Movies And Shows That Deserve A Video Game
Many times there are movies and TV shows in the pantheon of geekdom that for many gamers would seem to be a ‘sure thing’ as a video game hit. Many times games are made yet the game is released during a time long after the game’s release. Other times the game accompanies the movie but the quality of the game is unacceptable due to bugs or just plain lack of inspiration. As a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, it is commonplace to see large passionate followings of many of the good and great movies and TV shows of recent day. See the success of shows like The Walking Dead and movies like The Avengers often times spur fans into such a frenzy that all they want to do is immerse themselves in the story. This is typically the case in the downtime in between sequels or seasons.
For example, the Star Wars franchise went through a downward spiral of mediocre games that many believed would never end. Long after the end of the original trilogy and around the time when the prequels were rumored and anticipated, Star Wars featured a wealth of games hit the entire spectrum of classic to dreadful. Games like the Rogue Squadron and Battlefront franchises stepped in and restored hope during those dark times of the force. Since then, classic games in alternate genres than shooters or space combat sims have shown developers that the so called obvious choice for the genre of a film or show isn’t always the best choice. Classics like Knights of the Old Republic have changed how many developers approach many franchises.
Many times, movies are released and money making scams are published in the guise of games which typically irk the fans to no end. There are a few exceptions to this trend like the short run of quality Lord Of The Rings movie based games for the previous console generation. But what happens where there are wildly popular shows or big time movies that only receive half-hearted MMO’s or half-baked movie adaptations? What is stopping them from trying again and getting it right as a sequel?
I’ve already covered how many ways Black Panther could be a great video game, so let’s visit a few other popular franchises that are ripe for the picking.
The Matrix Franchise
The anime flavored martial artistry and gunplay in the Matrix movies were legendary. Neo’s mastery of the Matrix gave him near superhero-like powers in the virtual AND real world. As the war against the machines raged on, those that were freed from the Matrix were typically depicted as hackers. In a way, this storyline allowed for a lot of imaginative ways to build a thrilling and action packed virtual world that gamers could leap into. As this trilogy played out, fans were hungry for more and more, even after the last movie. A couple of games were made in Enter The Matrix and Path of Neo yet neither really seemed to make the video game splash that many seemed to desire.
Enter The Matrix seemed to be the best received of the two since its vision was a tad bit more ambitious. The concept of the game was meant to fill in the storyline between the second and third movies. This was a brilliant strategy in theory and provided the buzz that is typically need to garner interest in movie adaptation games. Meanwhile Path of Neo was a straight up control-Neo-and-beat-things-up-like-the-movie-fest. Not that these games were bad but they did have a pretty magnificent canvas to work from in both the story potential and the known elements of action in the movies.
A part of me would’ve wanted to see a Devil May Cry styled game re-skinned as a Matrix game with crazy combos, great bosses, and great cinematics. Even better, how about a mech based mini-game focused on the defense of Zion? If you really want to get deep, how about a strategy-RPG based game where you must train and deploy teams of ‘hackers’ about the real world and into the Matrix to extract more members, execute missions, and protect Zion?
While Helldivers was essentially the unofficial licensed version of the movie, Starship Troopers has yet to see a video game appearance. This is surprising because it’s highly generic military vs alien threat story seemed ripe for a simple game.
Where this movie initially did well (before its awkward sequels) was that it showed the dynamics between soldiers training with each other as well as how it translated out in the battlefield. You got a look at how they had to use tactics and planning to get them to translate on the battlefield. Helldivers at least had a progressive online campaign against alien threats along with a focus on coop (with friendly fire of course). While the top down shooter did have a solid difficulty level, there just seemed as if a more FPS or even third person shooter still adventure could have translated a bit better.
Imagine taking a game like PUBG or Fortnite and modding it to fit the Starship Troopers mold with ‘bugs’ as you main enemy and the push to attack and defend bases and areas about a fictional galaxy. I know. In a way this sounds like every other Halo or Planetside game on the market, but I’m sure there are ways to make it stand out.
Now I know that Robotech had a slight hey day in the PS2 and Xbox age where we were gifted the likes of Robotech: Battlecry and Invasion. While these weren’t bad games, I honestly don’t remember them doing particularly well. Battlecry sticks out in my mind playing out almost like a strange hybrid of a third person shooter and Star Fox. Regardless, the franchise could use a shot in the arm with an updated game (or games) in a few different genres. Featuring large transforming mechs with pilots that have unearthly reaction times, Robotech has the chops to certainly be more popular than my personal fav, Battletech (aka MechWarrior games). The stylistic retro anime TV show is a legend that early anime lovers remember and adore even though the story was a bit soap opera-like.
Robotech could certainly use the talents of Titanfall developer Respawn. The movement of the Titans could certainly be used and enhanced by the agility of the Veritech fighters found in the Robotech show. Slap some cell shaded graphics and a host of different weapon systems and transformable mechs and you have an evolution of the Titanfall game as well as new life for Robotech. Honestly, I wonder why I didn’t think of this marriage made in heaven sooner!
Kill Bill is one of the greatest action movie franchises of all time. Quentin Tarantino knocked it out of the park with this modernized homage to classic samurai, kung-fu, and anime movies. It is very hard to take any kind of liberty with the source material of this movie. This classic revenge story of the Bride had everything you could ever want in a martial arts film. You had the classic boss style battles and the difficult training motif with the sensai. With each moment in the movie from The Bride’s awakening from her coma until her Five Finger Death Punch finale, these movies featured countless sequences of great martial arts action. Armed or unarmed, The Bride was deadly! Still, once the movies concluded, there was NO attempt at a video game and even now, no desire to continue the story.
If a game was done, a movie adaptation wouldn’t be much of a stretch as a beat ‘em up Double Dragon or Final Fight (old school games) kind of game. Back in the days of 8-bit and 16-bit gaming, the transition to video games would be quite similar to the very satisfying pixelization of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. On the flip side of just a carbon copy of the movies, one could take the prequel route. Individual stories of the different members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad could be fleshed out where you show the origins of each.
Of course, the best fit genre for this movie would certainly be a fighting game a la Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. That way, the story portion of the game could be very light and inputting characters would be quite easy.
My level of fanboy-ism when it comes to Farscape is well documented. Enhanced by my affinity for most things ‘Jim Henson’, Farscape was a late blooming masterpiece that remains to this day one of my all time favorite shows. The lore is rich with tons of interesting races, factions, and tech that screams for a decent video game.
Farscape had countless memorable characters both fringe and main. Focused about the hodge-podge circumstantial crew of the living ship Moya, Farscape lived off of the drama of different races and species coming together to learn about each other, survive, and hopefully return ‘home’. All the while, the villainous Peacekeepers and the powerful Scarrens chased them all throughout the galaxy for knowledge of wormhole technology known by one crewmember. Always fleeing and always arguing amongst themselves, the series held grand designs cut short by loss of viewership due to unpopular story arc changes.
While I must resist the urge to suggest an MMO is the best genre to fill the void for exploration in this game, it is hard to argue against. With the right team and writers and graphic artists that are true fans of the series, one could easily see characters zipping around in mock ‘Moya’ ships evading the Scarrans and/or the Peacekeepers.
If you wanted to stretch things a bit for Farscape, a strategy game based on the Peacekeeper/Scarren war could be done. Even better, a space combat sim of the same war with mercenaries thrown in the mix could work as well. Oh, the possibilities.
Firefly was that classic space pirate kind of fantasy storyline. It was an inventive mix of a sci-fi and western motifs led by an enjoyable sense of light-hearted back and forth between crewmembers. It was funny, exciting, and mysterious all in the same breath. The revelation of the Alliance’s experiments with child prodigies (such as River) leading to telepathic abilities was interesting. The neverending scare of encountering Reavers provided the terror and gravity necessary to keep all factions in the Firefly universe in check. The result was a universe that was ripe with possible storylines for both main and fringe characters and villains.
In a way, this game screams the likes of a game like FTL, Rebel Galaxy, or even the classic PC game Space Rangers. The key to whatever genre it would be would hinge upon the ability to have your own space pirate ship, unarmed, and kept flying by crafty decisions to avoid the likes of the savage Reavers and the Alliance (as a kind of space police). The difficulty would be in providing an endgame scenario. Would you ‘oppose’ the Alliance and their mission to ‘civilize’ the known galaxies, or would you simply try to see how long your crew could survive/stay together as you manage resources as a smuggler? Either way, fan fic vets or those more versed in the lore of Firefly could debate on the best course of action there.
This franchise has seen great success on TV in 2 different generations which is quite rare. The original series is a sci-fi classic and the reboot that the Sy-Fy channel featured is repeatedly debated as one of the greatest sci-fi shows ever. So why haven’t there been ANY games facing the Cylon menace? A simple answer could be because there are already a bit too many clones in the market already. Not to mention the target genre (space combat sim) seems to have disappeared from the console (and even PC) market to a degree.
We’ve seen the license go from arcade-y Xbox360 shooter (which was garbage), to clunky MMO (which was also garbage), and finally to the recent real time strategy simulation (which seems to be pretty good but just not satisfying). All three games have released and had little to no buzz which essentially kills the desire for future titles.
In a way, Mass Effect is an epic mesh of Star Trek and BSG and has effectively dashed many opportunities to have a truly successful BSG game. Even Wing Commander was a bit of a clone of the BSG universe to a degree. Flying constant missions to save, protect, and scout for various reasons was done so well in those games that the opportunity for a great BSG pretty much played itself out in these games and many of the like. In a way, Star Citizen is the current overly ambitious model that champions the space combat sim genre. Oddly enough, I’ve yet to meet more than a couple of people that are interested or even passionate about that game. Tie a similar model (with less lofty pay to play entry points than Star Citizen) and I bet you’d have a superb turnout from the BSG community!
Maybe since the genre has yet to see a quality or even ambitious space combat sim for the current gen of consoles we may be due for a good one. Come on… who wouldn’t want to fly as or with Starbuck?!
In a way, you could almost take any B-level TV show (The 4400, Dark Matter, Colony) and see a possibility for a solid game. These shows have a wealth of storylines and lore that fans of the series’ could easily sink themselves into if given a quality opportunity. This doesn’t mean we need another crap ton of licensed MMOs on the market either. We’ve already seen how DC Universe (which is mediocre) and Marvel Heroes (which was equally mediocre) have clogged up the gaming works. Experiences like Sony’s Spiderman as well as various Telltale games have shown that story can be the core of the game and easily craft a unique project that fans will respond to. Now if only we could keep quality game studios open to take on these projects…