The death of the tie-in video game

HHow could we forget the days when, whenever we were on the cusp of a big blockbuster movie release, there was always a connection to a video game? In recent years, the connections between video games seem to have completely disappeared for the most part. That sounds a bit odd, considering the number of billion dollar movie franchises currently available. It would seem that the natural step is to create a linked game to capitalize on the popularity of the franchise and intellectual property. But it seems those days are drawing to a close.

There are so many reasons why video game connections are so rare these days. First, developers have continued to find new and exciting ways to breathe new life into established intellectual property to create unique and immersive gaming experiences, displaying much greater creative freedom and more opportunities to develop a feeling. identity and personality. Second, there seems to have been much less interest and demand for them, most likely due to the continued decline in quality due to rushed development and disappointing sales.

Historically, the links between video games have always been a mixed bag and have had varying degrees of quality and success. While there have been some that have real value, there are some that have turned out to be soulless cash grabbers – looking at you, the PSOne version of Independence Day. In the 1980s, licensed films were mostly side-scrolling films. The most famous link of the 80s was HEY on the Atari 2600 which lives in the infamy of being one of the worst video games ever with its poor quality, terrible mechanics, rushed development and, well, the fact that it caused the crash video game from 1983. That’s before we think of all the copies of ET that were buried in a landfill in New Mexico.

During the 1990s, video games became more and more popular and even influential. For example, there were games based on popular Disney animated films, especially Aladdin, The Lion King and Hercules to name a few. These games adopted the side-scrolling platform format with their notorious difficulty and were recently remastered for the previous and current generation consoles. There is still a lot of nostalgia attached to it, just like the movies, as seen by many popular content creators and gamers discovering these games for the first time.

When switching to 3D, Withers 64 has proven to be extremely popular and revolutionized the first-person shooter genre, paving the way for future FPS game franchises, such as Call of Duty. There weren’t many direct references to the film of the same name that had preceded it two years earlier. But the fact that it came out a few years after the film’s release meant that the developers of Rare had a lot more time to polish and make sure it was of the highest quality, especially when it came to functionality. The less durable Die Hard Trilogy offered a very loose adaptation of the three films in the trilogy, providing a variety of different experiences as each film was its own game.

The 2000s also provided plenty of related games, many of which were based on popular Marvel movies including Spider-man 2. There were many more related games based on popular movie franchises such as Harry potter, the Lord of the Rings, Pixar, Die hard, The matrix, ghost hunters, and Aliens, Just to name a few. Spider-man 2, although it is linked to the canon of the 2004 Sam Raimi blockbuster of the same name, which means that there were limits in terms of storytelling, revolutionized the mechanism of traversing the Web and even today its influence is felt in Insomniac’s 2018 Spider Man and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. There was also X-Men Origins: Wolverine, based on the movie of the same name, which many gamers claim to be far superior to the actual movie. Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay has gained the character of Riddick many more fans than the film franchise, and is possibly more durable than the Vin Diesel vehicles themselves.

As we witnessed the birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the late 2000s and early 2010s, there were a lot of related games including Captain America: Super Soldier, Iron Man, Thor, Just to name a few.

Recently, however, related games have been developed for mobile because they are much cheaper to create and easier to access for moviegoers if they don’t have a console. Unfortunately, for the most part, they have just given a makeover to popular mobile games such as candy Crush and Bejeweled.

Over the past few years, licensed games have really taken on their full meaning with an original narrative specifically crafted for the game and crafted specifically for a more visceral and interactive experience, unchecked by the canon of the film universe. In 2009, Rocksteady Studios brought us Batman: Arkham Asylum, the first entry in what would become the critically acclaimed film Arkham trilogy, which turned out to be a breath of fresh air. It was clear that the series drew heavily on decades of lore and many films, shows, and comics, such as the Animated batman Christopher Nolan’s series and trilogy of films, to truly give gamers the chance to “be the Batman”.

In 2018, Insomniac breathed new life into the beloved web head with Spider Man, also with an original tale from renowned comic book authors created specifically for the game, drawing inspiration from Spider Man games, such as Spider-man 2 and Spider Man (2000) by Neversoft, which preceded it, as well as various Spider Man movies and comics. There were some unlockable combinations based on the different iterations of the movie, but that was about it. It was his own thing.

Since the stratospheric popularity of large franchises, this means that for many people today, seeing development studios using popular IPs, such as The Avengers Where guardians of the galaxy, generated a mixed response. Movies have become so entrenched in pop culture and in people’s minds that for them, actors have become synonymous with the characters they have embodied for a decade on the big screen. Robert Downey Jr will always be Iron Man to a lot of people. Seeing the characters in a different light and a different continuity a million miles from the MCU is shocking to some fans.

There was a ton of backlash about how the characters shared no visual or sonic resemblance to the MCU cast, when the character design first appeared in trailers and promotional material. For example, there were people who criticized that Star Lord didn’t look or look like Chris Pratt in the upcoming guardians of the galaxy game and the Avengers in Marvel Avengers Was unlike any of the MCU actors who spent more than a decade portraying the characters on the big screen. It’s different with Batman and Spider Man, because there were already so many iterations of movies.
The scarcity of links between video games can be seen as a positive thing. When game developers get the right to use various licensed IP addresses, it really allows them to take the time to create the best possible game of the highest quality and focus more on the art. There isn’t all the added intense pressure of having to meet movie studio deadlines and meet movie release dates.

They also don’t have the limits of having to stick as closely to the same canon as the film and can get into their own creativity and give IP a stamp of identity. While related games never go away completely, we can expect to experience our favorite franchises in a different light. Or watch with clenched teeth as each movie adds a few characters to Fortnite like skins.

With upcoming licensed titles, such as the Indiana Jones Bethesda game, a James bond interactive IO game, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League by Rocksteady and Knights of Gotham of WB Montreal on the horizon, it’s exciting to see how developers will continue to give their own creative flair to these popular IPs. We have come a long way indeed.

Laura Francis is a freelance writer and occasional contributor to NME.

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