This is a topic I wanted to talk about for a while, yet never found the right timing. Until today that is. It is a topic that sparked all back to the late eighties and lasted until today. Yet, nobody ever really seemed to care bout it. I am talking about games as sequels to movies.
Picture this: Tim Burtons Batman has a hard time, because the Joker is very much alive and terrorizing Gotham City. This was before the Catwoman was around and before Ahnuld portrayed camp (well, maybe not before that).
Batman: Return of the Joker was released in 1989 by Sunsoft and was a follow up to their game Batman (The Movie) which was exceptionally awesome (the NES version that is). It pitched Batman again against the Joker in a quasi movie like setting. It is what I consider to be the first game sequel to a movie. More examples followed.
Usually, Movie tie ins suck big ballz, because the devloper is given little money and less time to create a game that re-plays the movie. Which usually sucks. But every now and then somebody says: Fuck that shit. We are doing a game here, not a playable movie. So screw those movie managers and create a real game. And usually, those games tend to be not bad.
Sometimes, those experiments turn out to be great games. Like GoldenEye for the N64, another classic and one of the best movie games ever. They took the basic premise but expanded upon that idea, incorporating more Bond movies into the game. From Goldfinger to Moonraker, The Spy who loved me, so many Bond stuff in such a small game. And it was awesome. Truth to be told, this game was in development for years, since it was released two years after the movie.
And who does not remember the Ghostbusters game of late fondly? It is an awesome game, and basically the third part of the Franchise. It is, essentially Ghostbusters 3.
Also good was Star Wars – Battle for Naboo on the N64, that served as Prequel and Sequel to Episode 1 and was phenomenal (Better than the Movie it was based on). So was Episode 1 Racer, a Pod Racing game.
And all that brings me to Back to the Future, Telltales latest in a series of awesome Point and click adventures. It picks up a while after Part III of the movies and is essential Part IV. It features the likenesses (and some voices) of the movie characters and it fits the mod perfectly.
As somebody who actually watches the Movies twice or three times a year, I take those things very seriously. But I am happy with what the game turned out to be.
Listen, we all know that there can never be a sequel to the Trilogy. And frankly, a reboot would be the worst idea since ever. But a sequel in form of a game is not only a brilliant move, it is also a move that hurts nobody. Fans of the movies have their fair share, and can enjoy the game or consider it non canon. And fans of games can enjoy the game without ever caring about the movies or love the movies alike. It is a win win situation.
So I ask ye all now, WHY are companies still so obsessed with creating crappy movie tie ins, when they could give the developers a chance to create something much bigger. Imagine your movie being actually pretty good but a box office failure. And then comes along the game to the movie that actually expands the movie, making it a stronger and better universe. And the game sells like hotcakes because it is a good game. It might actually help you with bluray sales for the movie or greenlight a sequel. it may spawn game sequels. But no, you want a crappy movie tie in that dimishes the quality of your work. Way to go jackass.
What I am saying is, that maybe we should re-consider the idea of movie tie ins and change the concept to what LucasArts did since ever: Use the medium to create an expanded universe, for the good of all of us… Except those who are dead.
PS.: I know I am missing alot of games here. Maybe you can post them in the comments?