Why We Need a Revival of Movie-Based Video Games

Have we lost the movie-inspired video games to time, or the recent success hint at a hopeful future.

Do We Need More of Movie-Based Video games
Do We Need More of Movie-Based Video Games

It has been a long-running fact that Movies and Video games do not mix well. We have had movies or shows based on video games and also the other way around. However, the success has greatly varied and it still comes as a surprise to people whenever the adaption gets things right.

We have recently seen two equally amazing shows, The Last of Us and Fallout, which have somehow captured the lightning in a bottle with these shows. However, in this article, I want to focus a bit more on Video games that take inspiration from movies or shows.

Key Takeaways
  • Movie-based video games have a troubled past, often seen as rushed cash grabs with mediocre gameplay.
  • However, there have been hidden gems in the past, which offered compelling gameplay experiences inspired by the films.
  • Successful movie-inspired games, respect the source material, and offer unique and engaging gameplay mechanics.
  • A revival is possible with a focus on innovative gameplay, creative freedom for developers, and exploration of diverse genres.
  • The future of movie-inspired games is promising, with the potential to become a powerful form of interactive storytelling.

With the release of the recent Avatar: The Frontiers of Pandora, I wanted to revisit some of the rare successes and what made them special. 

The Golden Age 

The early 2000s saw a significant rise in video games based on films. This was also the time we saw some underrated gems that hit our consoles. Most of these movie studios were trying to experiment and get their footing in this new video game industry. As a result, most of these titles were developed for the early Playstation and Xbox consoles.

Scarface The World is Yours
Scarface: The World is Yours

However, the early 2000s introduced us to games like Scarface: The World is Yours, The Matrix: Path of Neo, and even The Wolverine Origins game. Surprisingly all three of these games have good gameplay. These games took direct inspiration from movies, going as far as to follow the same stories.

Even more surprisingly The Wolverine Origins game is far better than its movie counterpart. Not only does it allow players to go berserk as Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, but also has some incredibly cool moments straight from the comics. In the video game, the players are also allowed to take on comic-accurate Sentinels.

The Matrix Path of Neo Gamepay
The Matrix: Path of Neo Gameplay

Similarly, The Matrix: Path of Neo even though is directly inspired by the Matrix Trilogy serves up some amazing gameplay. Players are allowed to fulfill all of their power fantasies as Neo. Players can also improve their skills with an in-depth skill tree system. It is an incredibly nostalgic trip for the series fans with incredible set pieces and fun combat mechanics. 

Some of the More Recent Renditions

Avatar The Frontiers of Pandora
Avatar: The Frontiers of Pandora

While movie-based games have had a troubled past, there have been recent glimmers of hope. Games like Mad Max and Avatar: The Frontiers of Pandora have garnered critical acclaim for staying true to the source material while offering innovative gameplay experiences.

Mad Max captured the desolate beauty and brutal combat of the film franchise. The combat of this game is heavily focused on vehicles and their upgrades, which stays true to the story. Moreover, the game shows a more bleak and up-close look at the post-apocalyptic future.

Mad Max Video game
Mad Max Video Game

Similarly, the Frontiers of Pandora allowed players to feel what it’s like to live on Pandora. It allowed players to play as Na’vi and take on the humans exploiting their planet for resources. The gameplay stays true to the abilities of both humans and Na’vi. Een though the game presents a fresh new story, it stays true to a world built by James Cameron.

Here I would also like to give an Honorable Mention to John Wick: Hex. A game based on the John Wick franchise and released in 2019. This game focuses more on the tactical role-playing aspects of the game, where clever planning is required to clear levels and eliminate all enemies.

What The Future Needs

There’s a compelling argument to be made for a revival of movie-based video games. Films, by their nature, are constrained by time and budget. Video games, however, offer an expansive canvas. A movie adaptation of a sprawling fantasy epic like Avatar can only hint at the richness of the world.

A video game, however, can allow players to explore the vibrant landscapes of Pandora. Players can interact with its diverse inhabitants, and truly immerse themselves in the world created by James Cameron.

Yakuza Like A Dragon
Yakuza: Like A Dragon

Or think about a John Wick open-world video game that is a mix of Hitman and Yukaza. You should play as a new up-and-coming assassin who slowly moves up the criminal underworld. This game would show the ins and outs of the rich world of John Wick, but, also give it a fresh new story in a completely new medium.

Furthermore, movies often prioritize spectacle over character development. A video game based on a film can delve deeper into the motivations and backstories of characters, fostering a stronger connection between players and the narrative. 

Imagine that allows players to inhabit the psyche of a villain like Loki from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The possibilities for enriching existing stories are vast. Moreover, due to the flexibility and advancement of the video game medium, the genres are endless.

The Hope Lives On.

While the history of movie-based games is checkered, recent successes demonstrate the immense potential for this genre. By embracing innovative gameplay, respecting source material, and exploring diverse genres, movie-based games can evolve into an interactive storytelling powerhouse.

They could offer players the chance to not only experience beloved films in a new way but also delve deeper into their worlds and characters. The future of movie-inspired games is bright, and with a focus on quality and creativity, the hope for a golden age of interactive adaptations lives on.

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