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5 Dormant Films With the Potential to Become New Games

March 6, 2017Written by Michael Briers


For all of the praise lauded at AAA blockbusters and their cinematic traits — think of Naughty Dog’s handling of Uncharted, or the bum-numbing cutscenes found in the Metal Gear saga — the relationship between video games and film is rather tenuous. On the one hand, Hollywood studios have mined all sorts of pixelated properties over the years for inspiration, and the results range from the mediocre (Silent Hill) to the abominable (Super Mario Bros.). Let’s not forget that the latter released in ’93 under the corny caption, “this ain’t no game,” so the writing was really on the wall for Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel’s live-action feature long before those scathing reviews began tumbling in.

But what about the inverse of that creative process, something that involves taking an established IP and spinning out a licensed video game tie-in? More often that not, these titles tend to release in and around their cinematic counterparts, as publishers look to strike while the iron is still piping hot. Star Wars Battlefront springs to mind as a recent example, after DICE and Electronic Arts fast-tracked their lavish shooter to coincide with the release of The Force Awakens back in 2015 — arguably at the expense of a single-player campaign, though EA intends to fulfil that pent-up demand later in 2017 with Battlefront 2.

Yay or Nay?

Not all licensed tie-ins are created equal, though. From Alien: Colonial Marines to Tomorrow Never Dies to Platinum’s TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan, you don’t have to search too far to locate an example of a game that was rushed to market as a wholly unnecessary cash grab. There are outliers, of course; Rockstar’s The Warriors, The Thing, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher BayGhostbusters: The Video Game are good-to-great games, and they all share one thing in common in that they were released long after their cinematic progenitors.

Apocalypse Now

One such title that hopes to follow in those footsteps is Apocalypse Now — The Game. Hatched by a team of industry veterans who previously worked on tentpole franchises in the vein of Fallout and Gears of War, the horror-tinged RPG is pitched as a psychedelic experience based on Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal Vietnam masterclass. Kickstarter was nominated as the crowdfunding platform of choice, but a paltry return coupled with the growing skepticism surrounding “overreaching games and overreaching promises” forced the creative team to relocate their campaign onto a long-term, internal platform. And the journey toward a $900,000 funding goal continues apace.

But in setting the hornet’s nest of video game crowdfunding to one side, let’s focus on the concept of movie-to-game adaptations. Apocalypse Now — The Game is gunning to create an authentic experience based on Benjamin Willard’s journey upriver — “Fallout: New Vegas on acid in Vietnam” is the wild elevator pitch — and it even has the blessing of Coppola himself, who stated:

“I’ve been watching video games grow into a meaningful way to tell stories,” he said after the campaign was first announced, “and I’m excited to explore the possibilities for Apocalypse Now for a new platform and a new generation.”

And so, with the filmmaker’s words of wisdom in mind, we’ve pulled together five candidates ripe for a video game adaptation.

Tell us, is there one film in particular that you’d like to see undergo the video game treatment? Or do you believe the practice has been cursed by a string of middling licensed tie-ins? I’ll see you in the comments.

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