By Jay Slayton Joslin
The video game and movie industries are in a similar position right now: they enjoy safe franchises that are going to bring them lots of money. While there are exceptions in both cases, the upcoming few months in the video game industry is mainly dominated by sequels, reboots and annual sport titles.
Sometimes, for contractual, age, health and a many more reasons, sequels that fans have been demanding for decades don’t get made. Circumventing these issues, sometimes game developers manage to obtain licenses, and create entries into these franchises, which effectively serve as the next film in the series. Sometimes they are wonderful and kick-start interest in the film, sometimes they make us wake up and hope it was all a pixelated nightmare.
Here are 5 that didn’t disappoint.
With all the original cast reprising their role, granting likeness and having creators help with the script, Ghostbusters felt like the closure fans needed for the franchise when it was revealed that a third film wasn’t going to be made. While the multiplayer was flawed, the single player campaign was a hell of a lot of fun joining the original crew as a new recruit. Packed with easter eggs, new gags and fun gameplay, even the series creator has admitted that this is as close to the third film that fans would see.
Telltale’s Back to The Future
Michael J Fox’s health made it pretty clear that we weren’t going to see a fourth Back To The Future film. Which is a shame, because they were all great and the first two were incredible. The Back To The Future Game feels what a fourth movie could have been if there were no restraints. It’s adventurous with its play around time travel, we get to learn about Doc and Marty in their young age and old, and the voice acting is all round fantastic. Even though Michael J Fox didn’t get to appear in every installment, his cameo in the final episode made our little time traveling hearts swell.
Part survival, part story, part jesus-christ-who-can-I-trust? The Thing was an acclaimed game that perfectly captured the unease among the crew who band together. Full of great gameplay decisions — If you give your weapon to a teammate so they know you’re not an alien, how would you kill them if it turns out they are further down the road? The game was acclaimed and even got the approval of original director John Carpenter, who voiced a cameo.
Blair Witch Project
The first installment of this three part expansion on the series mythology was released just before the disappointing Blair Witch Project 2. The series explores the fiction universe that was delivered in the first film, paying homage to survival games like Alone in the Dark and Resident Evil, but delivering an expanded knowledge for the horror fans. It’s aged well, but that doesn’t mean it’s frustrating controls have.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay
Set before any of the films in the Riddick universe, Butcher Bay shows us a Riddick as complicated as ever. Set primarily in a prison environment, Riddick is the perfect anti-hero for a video game, and it was a sleeper hit that refreshed interest in the franchise. A great combination of stealth and action, learning more about Riddick and leading up to the beginning of Pitch Black, it’s a game that many regard as being better than any of the movies.
Jay Slayton-Joslin has had fiction and nonfiction published online and in print. His first book, a poetry collection called Kicking Prose was published in 2014. He is currently working on Sequelland for CLASH Books.
So that’s our list of video games being the heroes that we needed. Any missed? Played through any of those gems — let us know!