As gaming becomes the primary focus of the entertainment industry, audiences can plan for more crossover hits at the cinema. The recent release and critical acclaim of The Super Mario Bros. Movie has made it abundantly clear that audiences enjoy video game-to-movie productions.
But it’s only recently that games have enjoyed this type of attention; in the past, there was more emphasis on reworking winning movies into playable video games. This trend extends beyond traditional video games, too. Even short-form games like slots have taken a lot of inspiration from the world of film.
For example, Finn and the Swirly Spin slot is a popular slot game that introduces a new format. However, the visuals and audio take inspiration from animated hits like Wolfwalkers and The Secret of Kells, both of which touch on Celtic mythology. The goal is to treat players to a cinematic experience with high-quality production that infuses life into the short-form slot game.
Today, however, the trend tilts in the opposite direction. As millions of players show love and support for popular games, film production studios are more likely to flip these worlds into full-length films. In honor of this new trend, let’s take a look back at three of the most successful projects to date, looking at two hits based on films and one hit based on a popular game franchise.
First up: a classic from the 1990s that transformed gaming.
This video game broke the mold in video games for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it introduced gamers to a multiplayer deathmatch mode. Up until the game’s release, multiplayer functionality was in its infancy. Second, it included a stellar soundtrack that helped steer interest in audio production in video games. Third, it let players step into the shoes of the titular hero behind the 1995 hit GoldenEye, which featured Pierce Brosnan as James Bond.
For context, this game became such a cult hit that it later saw attention from documentary filmmakers. Its release on the Nintendo 64 remains one of the most-hyped moments in video gaming in the 1990s—and possibly gaming history in general. If you want to learn more, you can check out the documentary GoldenEra, which covers the game’s breakout success.
Nintendo’s Pokémon franchise is one of the world’s longest-running cultural phenomenons. The world has been rebranded in a variety of ways—through films, video games, and even mobile hits like Pokémon GO. But it’s the 2019 film project that takes Pikachu and company into totally new territory.
The film follows the story of a young man, Tim, who’s looking into the mystery of his father’s disappearance. What separates him from the other investigators is that he’s got Pikachu on his side—his father’s former detective partner who only Tim can see and communicate with. The wacky plot adds a totally new twist to the magical creatures of the franchise, giving fans a totally unique experience.
This video game became a hit at an interesting time in the Star Wars franchise history. During the same period, George Lucas was stumbling through his prequel series, which featured some of the most hated moments in fan history (looking at you, Jar Jar). However, amid the negative hype came an incredibly successful video game.
Knights of the Old Republic made the wise move of avoiding the film’s overarching storylines, taking fans to a totally new frontier. The project was hailed for its story, characters, and audio production. In fact, it has remained so popular in the gaming world that developer BioWare is now planning a remake of the classic.