Over the years, many classic movies have received belated tie-in games.
In 2002, John Carpenter’s The Thing was given a follow-up, 30 years after the film’s release. Developers Computer Artworks did a fantastic job of capturing all the atmosphere, terror, and body-horror of the movie. Even today, it’s still well worth a play for fans.
1979’s The Warriors, an iconic movie about gangs in New York (itself based on a novel), was adapted by Rockstar Toronto. The end result was an awesome game that nailed the film’s tone and worked brilliantly as a standalone product.
These are just two examples. We’ve also seen belated tie-ins like: 1995’s Die Hard Trilogy (only two of its three titles were late, to be fair); 2009’s Ghostbusters; and 2002’s Rocky. Even Jaws was transformed into a video-game anti-hero in 2006!
It’s clear that tie-in games released long after their respective movies can work wonders – so what other classic films do we want to see on our consoles?
Escape from New York
John Carpenter’s seminal Escape from New York is an absolute masterpiece.
Released way back in 1981, this movie sees the mighty Snake Plissken (a never-more awesome Kurt Russell) sent into Manhattan Island to rescue the President of the United States.
Oh, and did we forget to mention Manhattan’s now a maximum security prison?
Escape from New York oozes awesomeness all over, from its atmospheric soundtrack to Plissken’s skill with a baseball bat. The film still has plenty of love, and the recent comic-book continuation is testament to the concept’s potential for adaptation.
A game based on Escape from New York could either take place in the movie’s timeframe itself, spin off into a new direction, or a bit of both. Ideally, an open-world approach would work best, played from a third-person perspective so we can see Plissken in all his eyepatch-sporting glory.
Players could explore the ruined streets and buildings, brawl with inmates, drive through cluttered streets, and even take part in the occasional gladiatorial battle. The game could even feature a time-limit, giving you 24 hours to rescue the President and get the heck out of there before the bombs in his neck are triggered.
After that, the story could continue, or Plissken could return to settle old scores, finish uncompleted challenges, and just take care of business as it pops up. There’s so much potential here, and we genuinely hope someone seizes the opportunity.
We came close in the middle of the 2000s, and Hideo Kojima cites the film as an influence … but come on, guys. Someone buy the rights already!
We’ve had Lethal Weapon games in the past, but Riggs and Murtaugh are just screaming out for a high-octane adaptation with today’s technology.
Like the films, a Lethal Weapon game would combine shoot-outs, hand-to-hand combat, car chases, and plenty of laughs. The movies provide plenty of story to adapt, particularly the first two (just imagine that brutal final fight scene as a boss-battle).
Still, developers might prefer to create their own plot.
Again, this would benefit from an open-world structure, with Riggs and Murtaugh cruising LA for signs of trouble. To create the full Lethal Weapon experience, the game’s AI would need to make Riggs and Murtaugh’s partnership feel authentic. Without that, the entire game would be on shaky foundations.
Gremlins might be pretty tricky to adapt as a game. While in the past, controlling Gizmo through several side-scrolling levels was fine, today’s fan would want something a little deeper.
So, what could work?
Well, we could either take on the role of Billy Peltzer as he fights hordes of the little monsters in his hometown, borrowing locations from the first movie. Not only are there plenty of key moments to build on, such as fighting a chainsaw-wielding Stripe in a deserted store, but the developers have a mean streak of black-humour to play with too.
This comedic angle would work brilliantly if we were given the chance to play as the gremlins themselves. Switching between different members of a group, setting traps for unwitting civilians, and causing havoc in exchange for points would all make for a deliciously dark ride.
Westworld’s now a hit TV series, which has drawn attention back to the movie that started it all.
The 1973 film is a classic, and while it’s a lot smaller than the new series, it’s still got plenty of scope for a quality game.
This could be a mix of Red Dead Redemption and Mass Effect, with the gritty Western environments colliding with high-concept sci-fi. Yes, you might be on the run from psychotic cowboys and riding horses through sun-bleached deserts, but this is a simulated world.
Enemies would be androids beneath their hats and weathered faces, which would give developers the chance to take the action outside the Western setting. Not unlike Assassin’s Creed, you could jump between timelines, taking characters from a futuristic world into one of saloons and duels.
We actually came very close to a Dirty Harry game some years back. The Collective were working on it, with Clint Eastwood reportedly providing his likeness and voice. San Francisco was also said to be open to explore, and Harry himself could choose to cross the line to get the job done.
We can only imagine how awesome this would have been. Driving through San Francisco of the ‘70s, blowing perps away with that iconic Magnum, and listening to Eastwood growl in-game dialogue … amazing.
We’re stunned that another developer hasn’t picked this up. Dirty Harry’s an iconic character, and the success of The Warriors adaptation shows old films can make for fantastic modern games.
It seems like everything was there in the cancelled title. We just need it to be updated, polished, and released.
Okay, so a beloved Blade Runner game hit the market way back in 1997, 15 years after the movie’s release. However, this is hard to find now, and with Blade Runner 2049 on the way, this is the perfect time to create a new game set in that incredible world.
Whereas the previous Blade Runner game was a point-and-click adventure, a new adaptation could be a third-person free-roam game extravaganza. Just imagine wandering the overcrowded streets of LA, surrounded by so much neon and rain, with police cars soaring overhead.
The obvious set-up would be playing as either Rick Deckard or a new bounty hunter, tracking a team of replicants through the city. Branching dialogue and moral choices would fit perfectly, allowing you to interrogate civilians and decide how to treat the replicants once found.
With the stunning locations and futuristic technology, Blade Runner would look amazing on the latest consoles. Let’s hope we get something as good as the last game, if not better – fingers crossed it actually happens someday!
There have been several RoboCop games over the years, including the immortal RoboCop Versus The Terminator. However, it’s been a long time since the last one: a sixth-generation flop widely-hated by fans.
Given that RoboCop is a badass cyborg with a great design and a gun that emerges from his leg, it’s surprising he hasn’t starred in any recent games. Now that open-world environments are the norm, and robotics of one kind or another feature heavily in modern action titles, surely it’s the perfect time for RoboCop to hit consoles.
RoboCop should give players the chance to patrol Old Detroit / Delta City, stop random crimes, encounter ED-209, use various weapons, visit iconic spots from the films, and even eat baby food.
In fact, there’s plenty of juice in the first movie alone, so a game could borrow its plot. Playing as Murphy before he’s, er, attacked (to put it mildly) would be a neat feature, and he could even star in some Max Payne-style nightmare stages too.
The only potential obstacle would be making RoboCop handle properly. Having the character move too fast would be a poor fit, but if he’s as slow and lumbering as he appears to be, players could easily get frustrated.
You could even have a ‘speech’ button to make RoboCop belt out commands (such as in Judge Dredd: Dredd VS Death). Imagine saying “dead or alive, you’re coming with me” to every NPC you pass on the street …
What movies do you want to see adapted as video games? Let us know!