E3: Shifts in Entertainment & What They Mean
Despite the competition between the film and gaming industries, they do seem to work well together. Video games being adapted for the silver screen is nothing new, looking back at Assassin’s Creed or Final Fantasy. But what about the other way around?
The presence of Netflix at the E3 2019 brought up many exciting questions about the future of gaming. The Stranger Things upcoming game and its meticulous design was the panel’s hot topic of conversation, but so was The Dark Crystal, also to appear within the year. We have plenty of juicy details to dissect regarding these projects, but the discussion can’t stop there. This growing trend of transition from TV and film to video games and vice versa has much to say about the developing standards of entertainment.
We have plenty of juicy details to dissect regarding these E3 projects, but the discussion can’t stop there. This growing trend of transition from TV and film to video games and vice versa has much to say about the developing standards of entertainment.
Stranger Things 3: The Game teaser
Netflix Games and What We Know
Stranger Things actually has E3 two games in tow. Bonus XP is developing Stranger Things 3: The Game, to be released at the same time as the show’s third season for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. You get to play each of the 12 protagonists on their new adventures closely linked to the events that will begin to unfold on the 4th of July, the season’s release date. The other title, by Next Games, is due sometime in 2020 and will be a free AR mobile game, much like Pokémon Go, that brings the world of Upside Down and its monsters to your screen. This puzzle RPG with 80s cartoon-style graphics as well as beloved characters and themes will be just as loyal to Netflix’s vision as the Bonus XP creation.
This same developer is responsible for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics game, expected to hit the market after Stranger Things 3: The Game. It will be a tie-in to Jim Henson’s fantasy movie in the form of turn-based strategy for Switch. Player-controlled units battling across grid-based battlefields is all we are allowed to visualise for now, but the close collaboration between Netflix and Bonus XP can be trusted to produce an experience worth the hype. The question to ask from here is how these titles compare with other adaptations of their kind, old and new.
Film to Game
The list of such adaptations is endless, but one of special relevance at the moment is Godzilla. It all began in 1954 with Ishirō Honda’s first film depicting the now famous creature. His appearances in cinema, TV, comics and video games may have surpassed the 100 mark, culminating in the latest blockbuster, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. It was on PlayStation 4 that the last Godzilla gaming title was released in 2014 to an eager but ultimately unimpressed audience. Unfortunately, neither the film nor the video game industry has managed to fit the monster’s magnificence into a truly fulfilling production.
But all is not lost. There are examples of film to video game adaptations that got it right. Spider-Man 2 on PlayStation 2, based on Sam Raimi’s film by the same name, managed to get glowing reviews from players and E3 critics alike in 2004. The ease with which its flaws were forgiven because of how fun, smooth and uncomplicated its free-roaming gameplay – courtesy of Treyarch – was, demonstrates some key requirements for gamer satisfaction: simplicity and efficiency. Loyalty to the original source’s overall themes and nature also seems to be a vital component.
The Witcher TV series news
Game to Film
Now that George Martin’s epic TV saga has, more or less, come to an end, it’s time for Andrzej Sapowski’s The Witcher to take over. First adapted from book to video game, Netflix has also taken it upon itself to enthral us with a world dipped in the dark fantasy of Eastern European mythology. With the likes of Alik Sakharov from Game of Thrones and Charlotte Brandstrom from Outlander in the director’s seat, as well as Daredevil’s writer Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, big efforts are at least being made to provide the best possible version of the highly acclaimed title. Apart from the quality cast being assembled to include Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, the more details are released, the more promising this adaptation feels.
As another success story in this turbulent fashion, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu has revived cinema and gaming fans’ faith in it. Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu was a surprisingly effective choice alongside up-and-coming star Justice Smith. While necessarily CGI heavy, this film brings Pokémon to the real world in a way that makes you feel they were always there. For fans of the video game franchise, they really were, but such a creative merging of that universe with the equally demanding one of the silver screen shines a bright light on the future of entertainment. Is it finally time for the God of War or Red Dead Redemption film franchises? We certainly hope so.
The Potential So Far
Once upon a time, classic table games were simply inserted in films. Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Casino Royale (2006) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008) come to mind. Perhaps this particular gap in the market can be filled with casino games other than poker and blackjack. The rich history of bingo games has plenty of inspiration to provide filmmakers interested in social gaming of the real world. Considering bingo’s existing fan base, both live and online, there is little doubt that the communal glee players have been familiar with for decades can be shared with the film and TV audiences.
However, video games are the rage of the digital age, so films are inclined to follow suit. Last year’s Ready Player One illustrated the world’s passion for developing gaming technologies and that evolution is far from done. £3.86 billion is the gaming industry’s current worth, a value double that of 2007 and more than the video and music markets put together. The infinite number of existing titles just waiting to be transferred to a cinema or TV screen, not to mention the constant production of incredible shows that could easily make the same impact as games, means two things: developers and directors are finally learning how to amuse us and the fantasy-centric market has limited room for more “normal” ideas.
Ten video game movies in development
This is a time for imaginative extravagance. The previous E3 rivalry between video games, TV and film has been put aside to the benefit of all. Producers and fans can rejoice as Netflix sets down new goals and standards on the path to better entertainment.
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