Marvel’s Avengers comes out in May next year, and we keep getting little extra snippets of gameplay and story for the title, including Ms. Marvel being a prominent feature as well as the game revolving around an event which made superheroes go into hiding.
However, many movie and game fans will be scratching their heads as to why the game developers didn’t simply adhere to the universe, characters, and story established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Avengers: Endgame smashed box office records, proving the incredible popularity of the modern mythos, and yet the only products that the massive video game industry has been able to wheel out are the Lego games, some mobile titles, and the unrelated Marvel’s Spider-Man game from Insomniac on the PlayStation 4.
They are often given a bad rap but among the heaps of bad video games based on movies, there have been some real gems. Now that more movies are creating epic landscapes that players want to immerse themselves in – not to mention the power of modern consoles – surely it’s time to resurrect movie-based video games.
Died on consoles, moved elsewhere
The status quo of big moviemaking used to be to release the film alongside a companion video game. As technology evolved and standards heightened, however, making a credible game alongside Hollywood’s schedule became increasingly difficult for developers. Most will remember a long line of poor games but the Lord of the Rings trilogy of movie games, Spider-Man 2, Ghostbusters: The Video Game, and, of course, GoldenEye 007 were great titles, as almost everyone will admit.
As the processes of creation became more out of sync, movie-based video games died off almost completely, with smaller gaming mediums taking advantage of the opportunity. Now, you’ll find official movie games like Rambo, Jurassic World, Jurassic Park, Basic Instinct, Planet of the Apes, and even Sharknado at online casino platforms instead of on the PlayStation or Xbox game shelves. With major movie franchises dominating the box office, and soon streaming platforms, it seems like a great time for game developers to delve into popular cinematic universes and give players the chance to experience the action first hand.
Even a belated movie-based game would be appealing
One of the problems with the original idea of the movie-based video game was that it was simply another marketing opportunity to boost the cinematic release. However, given the size of the gaming industry and the way in which movie franchises are able to funnel in audiences, it seems as though making a game based on a past movie release may still go down well – especially in this age of game remasters gone mad.
It’s hard to imagine a good portion of the MCU fans not picking up a game that allows them to play as a superhero in the Battle of Wakanda from Avengers: Infinity War, or even the final battle in Avengers: Endgame. The action-packed John Wick movies could very easily be the basis of a great GoldenEye-style shooter – especially if Keanu Reaves follows on from his Cyberpunk 2077 role in some John Wick games. Even Godzilla: King of the Monsters looked to be prime material for a fun, city-smashing, kaiju-battling game. Fandom lasts long beyond the rolling credits, especially as people gobble up nostalgia these days.
One of the problems now, though, is that Disney owns the license to so much that cinema has to offer, and they simply don’t care about games. As stated by CEO Bob Iger in the wake of Electronic Arts’ – the licensee of their Star Wars license – gargantuan Star Wars: Battlefront II failure, Disney has “never managed to demonstrate much skill on the publishing side of games.” Given the way in which Disney is quite protective of its movie properties, it seems very unlikely that their licensees would ever dare to try and replicate what’s on screen in a game.
Unfortunately for those who want to go further into their favorite blockbuster movies, it seems that developers won’t be trying their hand at proper movie-based video games on a huge scale for a while yet. So, we get games like Marvel’s Avengers – which is a bit like the movies, but not really.