The Vicious Cycle of Movie Based Games

Editor: Brady Ruiters

Movie-based videogames; we’ve all played at least one of them during our time as gamers. These film tie-ins are generally a method of cashing in on the popularity of a certain film. Novel tie-ins have the same purpose, often sporting a cover that is similar to the movie poster. Some of them are okay-ish and some of them are just borderline terrible. More often than not, encountering a mainly lacklustre game is more probable than finding a bit of a hidden gem. So why then, do developers still entertain the prospect of film tie-ins? It’s a little strange.

Spider-Man 2

I remember playing one or two movie-based games and, aside from a number of hiccups here and there, the titles were actually rather entertaining. The two games that really stood out for me were Spider-Man 2 and X-Men Origins Wolverine Uncaged Edition. The former was enjoyable; it was open-world and allowed players to web swing around New York City. Players were able to progress through the story, enjoy some side missions and even deal with some random petty crimes. There was also an upgrade system that enabled players to make Spidey stronger and much faster. It was definitely a fun Spider-Man experience.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Uncaged Edition functioned as a hack ‘n slash title with controls very similar to the God of War Series. It gave players the ability to have an authentic Wolverine experience. Combat was fast and the finishing manoeuvres were just downright brutal; very much like the adamantium-infused hero. Hell, the game was actually ballsier when compared to the actual film.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

So given that an enjoyable film tie-in comes along every once in a while, why would developers take such a risk?

I understand that the audiences differ between the actual film and a game based on it but the goal should be the same; to make a quality product that the audience will enjoy. The game tends to follow the plot of the film but with some added sections so as to extend the play time. This can go one of two ways; either the added sections will improve on what the film offered, which is pretty rare, or it will suffer from repetition. The latter case is more common as gameplay doesn’t tend to change much after the first hour. Due to this issue, film tie-ins tend to get some horrific reviews, which in turn can greatly affect the sales of the title.

I can only imagine that because of the less than stellar sales, developers tend to get the short end of the stick and most likely get little to no profits for their work. The publishers that initiate these projects seem as if they only care about the possible money being brought in from a game and not about their consumers who have to play the game.

Capitalist Fat Cat

It’s a possibility that the makers of movie-based games might sign onto these projects due to the amount of positive hype surrounding a particular title and think that maybe another medium of it will yield similar success. This is why developers of the game need to be fans of the film to begin with, so as to create a game that they can be proud of. It helps with finding the right direction early on. Being a fan of the franchise also helps with identifying how fellow fans will feel about the game.

How do you feel about movie-based games? Let us know in the comments.

Known as Brady Ruiters by day and GuitarDemon by night (Well, on the PSN mostly…) Professional, creative and frank, a self-proclaimed gaming journalist moulded by a passion and fascination for gaming and music, and in turn, taking a crack at shaping the rest of the world with the very same obsession. That, however, remains a trying task.

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