Recreating the memorable worlds of popular shows and films is a difficult thing to accomplish. When players are given the chance to walk in the shoes of a favored main character and be part of a familiar story, new levels of immersion can be achieved. For this to succeed the stories need to be robust like their onscreen counterparts, adding an original spin that doesn’t sacrifice quality. A certain amount of freedom needs to be granted to avoid making the player feel like they’ve been given a generic showcasing. Last week I mentioned a few TV and Movie licensed video games that I thought succeeded in these areas. Now I’m going to deliver some of the ideas I have for shows and films that COULD make interesting video games, along with the genres they would belong to.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Investigation, Action)
Whether it’s the American film, the Swedish trilogy, or the masterpiece book series, this thriller has the ability to catch your interest and keep you hooked until the bitter end. The story is dark and intense with strong lead characters and an extraordinarily well thought out foundation. In the midst of a world full of financial corruption, sexual mistreatment, and blind eyes stands Lisbeth Salander. She is possibly one of the strongest female characters ever portrayed in any work of fiction, and it would be absolutely amazing to step into her bad ass boots via an investigation action game.
Think of Heavy Rain; there’s not much here in terms of an action game, but the investigation sequences could be well adapted into the events of TGwtDT. This is where the game could switch between multiple perspectives, just as Heavy Rain does. You would spend a lot of time with Lisbeth, but also move over to Mikael when necessary. L.A. Noire could also be observed for perspective as these sequences would involve reviewing notes, old pictures, and evidence to progress through the instances. Lastly, the cinematic feel of Uncharted would be a perfect way to round out the formula. Transitions between cut-scenes would be a huge factor in keeping with the atmosphere of the films and books. Uncharted would also provide resources for a simplistic, but entertaining combat system for those infrequent bouts of altercation. The only issue I can foresee is the predictability of the story for those who have read the books or watched the films. This could be solved by structuring the game so that your knowledge doesn’t bring possibilities past what your character’s knowledge does; i.e. Cole needs to find specific evidence in L.A. Noire before you are able to unlock certain conclusions.
The Walking Dead (Open world, Survival)
Yes, there are already multiple TWD games and while some of them are quite good, there are certain things missing from their layouts. The TellTale games are fine, and offer an interesting portal to a diverse Walking Dead story, but it still feels like a lot of potential is being overlooked here. When I think of what it would be like to experience a first hand account of TWD universe, I focus on a few key features: survivalism, weaponry, base construction, and colonization. With all of the survival games out there i’m actually surprised a straightforward, survival TWD game hasn’t been created.
The game could start with a simple foundation. A group of travelers are making your way through the apocalyptic open world and losing members left and right. You, the fearless leader, get to choose where your group is going to establish a base. You could post up in an abandoned community similar to Alexandria or start from scratch somewhere out in the woods. This part of the game would borrow heavily from The Forest by letting you personalize your approach to base establishment and construction. Once you have adequate shelter from the walkers you would begin to manage your small civilization. Resource gathering could be handled with a direct approach as in most survival games (on foot like a champ), or by assigning members of your team on excursions for food, water, and weapons (like a bitch). This is when Fallout 4 ‘s inspiration would come into play and you’d start to develop an understanding of those in your community. Here’s the kicker, each of these peons would also have a risk percentage that determines their chance of successfully returning, or succumbing to the dead outside your walls. Equipping them with the right tools for the job or giving them a buddy to journey with would increase that survival chance substantially; the same applies to you if you choose to make the trek. Eventually, your first settlement would thrive enough to make you want to branch out. Trading routes and shared resource lines could be established between communities, extending your reach and maybe even inviting additional threats.
Jurassic World (Simulation)
Again, there are games surrounding this franchise, but I’m still not satisfied. The best part of Jurassic World, for me, was witnessing a fully functioning, prehistoric theme park. Since Jurassic Park was framed as a sneak preview of something to come, which quickly turned to disaster, It was interesting to finally see how the public park would look and behave in modern day; though it still led to disaster. This idea may come off as a stretch compared to recent titles, but I think Jurassic World would excel as a simulation game. Obviously it wouldn’t follow the plot of the film, just carry some of it main characters and aspects.
It would mainly emulate the Rollercoaster Tycoon series by tasking you with developing and managing the theme park. Exhibits and attractions would be customizable in terms of placement and size. You would also get to choose the number of staff appointed to each attraction, taking into account their capability and experience. Construction of new exhibits could control the level of revenue your park brings in, which could be useful if anything goes wrong. This is where games like SimCity would come into play. Incorporating the passage of time, and uncontrollable events such as disasters would create that level of severity that comes with the Jurassic Park theme. Dinosaurs could escape, power outages can call for lockdowns, and transportation to and from the island would encounter breakdowns and severe weather conditions. Overall the game would probably be a constant nightmare, and in this hell a choice system could work beautifully. The player would be presented with a series of decisions that could provide breaks in the chaos or lead to more. This would also call for a permadeath feature that would shut down your park once you’ve dropped too far into the red.
So there are my ideas for shows and movies that could make kickass video games. I have more loaded and ready to go so you might hear from me again on this subject. In the meantime, do you have any ideas that you’ve been sitting on for a while? Do you think some of my half-baked platforms can use some work? Please share in the comments!