What caused this downfall of triple-A games based on movies, and is there a revitalised effort to rekindle the two once near-inseparable industries.
Major franchises are dominating cinemas in a way that we haven’t seen before. Sure, we had the Star Wars prequel trilogy and The Lord of the Rings trilogy came out in the same window, but what the two comic-inspired film franchises, Disney’s Star Wars, and soon the Avatar franchise, are doing is absurd. What used to come alongside major movie releases and many minor releases was a tie-in triple-A video game.
The video game allowed fans of the film to immerse themselves in it through a different, more hands-on medium which would add extra meaning to the fans. However, while there were some decent games from the lives of GoldenEye 007 and The Lord of the Rings, most games were seen as underdeveloped cash grabs, with film studios instead turning to give their licenses to developers like Lego.
So what caused this downfall of triple-A games based on movies, and is there a revitalised effort to rekindle the two once near-inseparable industries.
Scheduling was the major problem
On consoles like the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 as well as popular handheld devices like the GameBoy Advance and Nintendo DS, the process of creating a top-of-the-range game was a much quicker process than it is on the likes of the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo. Even with these quicker development times, game developers struggled to keep up with the schedule of the cinematic schedule.
Improved technology and a demand to utilise it to its maximum potential made game development a much longer, more expensive process, which made film tie-in games no longer viable. The game industry outgrew cinema in many ways, and has gone on to deploy many cinematic methods into game development, such as by hiring top screenwriters, famous voice actors, and motion capture actors, as shown by the upcoming game Death Stranding which stars Mads Mikkelsen, Norman Reedus, Guillermo del Toro, and Lea Seydoux.
Movie-based casino games have found a new home
As the scheduling was the major problem that resulted in the downfall of movie-based video games, the only way for developers to create games for the film-loving public was to scale down and increase availability. Over the last several years, the gaming industry has seen its movie games move to casinos online. With so many games available to each user and slot games being relatively quick to make compared to other games, developers have been able to explore all corners of film to bring movie games to film fans.
Developers who decide to use a movie theme often try to make a slot game that is relevant to the current cinematic space, with the slot game for Jurassic World coming out in between the movies Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Based on the first of the new reboot trilogy, the Jurassic World slot game from Microgaming is filled with the sights and sounds of the film, including actors Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in-character as Owen and Claire.
There are also plenty of dinosaurs, such as velociraptors, ankylosaurus, pteranodon, stegosaurus, and, of course, tyrannosaurus rex. The slot also boasts bonuses features which are specifically created in line with the movie, such as the Indominus Rex randomly storming across the screen to reward an instant win. Players can also go to famous locations of Jurassic World, like Gyrosphere Valley, the Creation Lab, and the Raptor Den to win in free spins modes.
Others like to appeal to the more seasoned film viewing audience by creating games that tie into classics. Jumanji was recently made close to the reboot Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, but has players enjoying the world of the original movie. Instead of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jack Black, the Jumanji slot game features stampedes of animals, and best of all, a version of the Jumanji board game, from which players can win money, land multipliers, and earn extra rolls of the dice.
In many other movie-based slot games, the developers have taken key moments and elements from the films and moulded them into features and symbols for the licensed slots. All of Basic Instinct, Highlander, Halloween, and Jurassic Park have become hugely popular with slot gamers because they are filled with movie moments and include many great features that fit the theme.
Making triple-A movie-based games to be released alongside huge cinematic releases simply wasn’t working anymore, but luckily for film fans, there are still ways to play along with our favourite movie characters.