Why Companion Shows & Movies are Great for Video Games
Why hasn’t there been more investment into popular gaming franchises in the likes of creating a show or movie based around them? What about a novel, a graphic novel or anything else? Many video games have rich stories that could easily continue on into movies, tv shows, and even books. Yet, there isn’t a whole lot of companion media to go with popular video games. Why is that exactly?
The first thing that comes to mind is that moves based on video games tend to be a problematic mess most of the time. Either it’s just poor execution of the story, or the producers try to do their own thing with the franchise. It just hasn’t really worked well yet. There has been a slew of movies based on video games, most of which aren’t worth a mention. Yet there still is a fascination with producing other forms of media around video games.
In order for good films, tv shows, and books to be produced it would need to be controlled mostly by the people who originally worked on the game franchise. In order for any of this to work the studio behind it must listen to the original creators. Otherwise, the world is bound to get weaker adaptations each time around. This is why there is a lot of hope for the movie based on Assassin’s Creed to do well. Ubisoft is working alongside the director and the rest of the cast to produce something unique to the franchise. The upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie will follow a whole new storyline and character, which is a great idea! It essentially continues the storyline in a different way with a different person. Which brings us to the idea of companion movies, tv shows and books being done more often.
A companion series, movie, or book could easily be done and done with great success. And it could be a fun way to continue a story. Look at Assassin’s Creed again for another example. They release a new title each year. Now imagine if they decided to stop the yearly releases of Assassin’s Creed and focus on making a movie, then the game, then another movie and so on. Instead of a new game each year, it could be cool to see a movie that continues the story after each game and it could give us a break from the games, which are arguably getting fairly boring at this point. This could also give gamers a break from the same old thing and let the experience feel new again. The same could easily be done with a TV show. There is so much that can be done. Backstories showcased, plot holes filled, new characters introduced and so much more. With extra stories, it could grow the franchise and keep it a bit fresh. Also, making Assassin’s Creed a game that comes out every other year could cut the problem of a product that is tiring to most these days.
Look at The Walking Dead for another example. The TV show is based on the hit comics and the game is based on the show. Viewers are now going back and grabbing the comics like never before and gamers can’t run fast enough to pick up the game. The madness all started with the idea of creating a TV show as companion piece based off the comic.
Star Wars is another franchise that has done it for years and the franchise is bigger than ever and has only grown because of companion series, books and even future spin-offs. There is so much to tell and so much to see, that any video game franchise could easily do this if the right team were behind it. Star Wars has grown into something else, with video games tacked into the films, tv shows, spin-off movies, novels, comic books and so much more. A video game could easily do what Star Wars has done, by crafting a masterful universe where anything can happen and stories aplenty.
Now, look at the video game Defiance, it is a game that had a companion tv series, that didn’t last very long. It had a lot of potential to be something fun and unique, but it didn’t get very far and the show was cancelled fairly recently. But that could be due to many reasons. One that comes to mind is that it just didn’t have the staying power that many AAA games have. This can go for any popular game, like Halo, which is getting it’s own show soon. This only means it’s going to grow in popularity as long as the show is good. And many expect it to be. The more media based on a franchise gives it a chance to increase in popularity. Especially when it extends storylines, and shows gamers something new. Now if only Halo got the movie treatment that fans had been waiting for.
Then there is Quantum Break, which is doing something similar to what Defiance did, but looks to be doing it even better. They’re releasing a 4 episode show that continues the story from another side. And it has huge potential to be something big. With Sam Lake behind the helm, that means it’ll be something special. Since it’s a new IP though, there is a chance of failure. Will the show get enough viewers? How well will the game tie into the show? Though, it’s doubtful the game and show will bomb.
With increased exposure to a video game, by releasing a movie, tv show, and books, it shows that there is more out there than just what the game shows us. Imagine being able to delve deeper into a side character and his/her backstory. To be able to continue the story where you left off at the end of the game. To be able to control what happens in the game and in the show. There’s so much that can be done in terms of the creator's imagination. Which also means a potential for different kinds of plots in games, movies and television. Companion shows may not be super popular right now but Quantum Break could actually give us something to look forward to down the road.
It’s clear that videos games don’t get the fun treatment movies, tv, and books get with their expanded universes and different storylines. It’s true, that some games extend into a few books and get their own movies, but gaming has yet to break that mold where a ton of great movies can be made, alongside with a television show and a great deal of books to extend the story.
With that being said, do you think there should be more companion media with video games? Either it be a tv series, movies, or books? What video game would you like to see get their own series, books or movies? Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.