Gamer guide: License to kill a franchise

The term “movie licensed game” has been a curse in the video game industry for years. It is

a relatively simple concept to translate a movie or television show into a video game. However,

there are several aspects of the typical licensed game that hold it back from being amazing, and

often from even being competent.


First of all, most great movies tend to have sequels or prequels and television series are

ongoing. Thus, if movies or television series have a video game based in their universes, they

need to tread carefully. The stories that the games tell need to coincide with their counterparts

on the silver or big screen without ruining what could be told in the original format. If a game

simply retells the story from the movie or show it is based on, there would be little to no reason

to experience the game.


Next, these games must be released by a certain times in order to remain relevant. This

means that studios must develop a game from almost nothing in the short time it takes to shoot

and cut a film or television. This means that games often end up looking terrible, sounding

inferior, and suffering from poor or repetitive gameplay. Usually, the term “shovelware” is

used to refer to titles like these that have been produced on a short budget and in a rushed



Lastly, licensed games have developers that are not able to produce the best games. While

there are many great developers, these developers work on their own series and don’t bother

with other intellectual properties with few exceptions. If a game development studio can craft an

exciting and engaging tale on their own, why would they bother with other stories?


However, it does not have to be this way.


Even though these licensed games have had a bad reputation, overcoming this curse

is possible. Games like “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial”, which almost single-handedly crashed

the video game industry, still exist, but we have since seen studios like Telltale Games and

Platinum Games taking on licenses like “The Walking Dead”, “The Legend of Korra” and

“Game of Thrones”. Telltale’s “The Walking Dead” series, in particular, has gained wide acclaim

throughout the gaming journalism with a 92/100 on Metacritic.


In fact, those who produce movies and television shows have seen the lack of value that

these shovelware titles have. Marvel has said that they would not let other studios make a video

game out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe until they found a developer they deem worthy.

This also includes franchises based on comic books and novels. However, these licensed

games tend to be better than their shovelware counterparts. In fact, one of the best video game

franchises of the previous generation was the “Batman: Arkham” series. The game series oddly

mimics The Dark Knight Trilogy in that they evolved their respective mediums in both storytelling

and action. Fighting games that use these source materials are also great, such as the “Marvel

vs. Capcom” series or “Injustice: Gods Among Us”.


The video game industry will always have terrible shovelware games like “Rambo: The Video

Game” and “Iron Man 2”, but there will also be games like “GoldenEye 007” and “The Walking

Dead.” Don’t be afraid of movie licensed games because of their past legacy, although being

cautious is something I would advise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *