Top 5 Franchises That Eventually Became Successful Game Franchises
Hello guys, I decided to write a fun random post for once. So you know how sometimes games based on a movie, comic, or other things tend to fail to meet their mark? Well sometimes there is a diamond found in the rough, and fortunately I was able to bring about many diamonds for this post. Here are games that successfully broke through the “franchise-inspired curse”, some may be super obvious while others may come as a surprise.
Game: Spider-Man (PS4)
Success Story: Return to form
Spider-Man is an interesting case because the character has always been in video games as far as we can remember. The original game that really got Spider-man properly noticed was the movie-based game adaptation of Spider-Man 2 (2004). This was an open-world action/adventure game which at the time gave us the best web swinging system for the character.
Games that followed afterwards became a bit of a trainwreck. The third movie game adaptation, Spider-Man 3 (2007), wasn’t quite as successful in the eyes of fans as the second game and also was victim of having drastic changes depending on console version. Games afterwards were pretty much meh, Shattered Dimensions was nearly there but not quite. And after the movie based games of the rebooted Amazing Spider-Man films came out, which definitely failed to meet expectations, it seemed like this franchise would never live up to the mantle of Spider-man 2. That is until last year…
The 2018 Spider-Man game, or Spider-Man PS4 as it has since been known, was created from the most unlikely Sony-benefited company Insomniac Games, the creators of classic Spyro the Dragon games, the Resistance series and Ratchet & Clank. While still a fairly new release, it has since been getting nothing but critic appraisal. Not only did this game meet the bar that was raised by Spider-Man 2, but it also surpassed it and raised the bar to its own level!
The game essentially took ques from other successful editions from the past Spidey games, especially “SPM2”, as well as tips from the combat system first introduced in Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009). It was able to do this while also implementing some extra flavors into the formula to ultimately make the game its own beast.
I think it’s safe to say that Spider-Man came back with a force to be reckoned with, and we greatly appreciate it.
4. Lord Of The Rings / Star Wars
Games: Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor / Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic
Releases: 2014 / 2003
Success Story: Hype appeal and potential
Movie-based video games are almost always the biggest fail when it comes to making a decent and functioning game that is fun and worth your time, this is obviously due to movie companies demanding these tie-ins to release at a certain time which adds little work time to be had. But for whatever reason two film associated companies have managed to get lucky with their tie-in games, which are Tolkein and Warner Bros’ Lord of the Rings and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars.
Perhaps due to how creative and exciting these worlds and characters are, it seems like it would be strangely hard to make absolutely horrid games based after these properties. It’s almost as if you’d have to actually try to make an awful game. Now this is not to say that there haven’t been ridiculed games in the past, or present, but these complaints and nitpicks always seem to come from a different perspective that doesn’t necessarily have to do with the game itself.
The biggest thing right now, mainly with EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017) but also Monolith’s Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War (2017), has to do with loot boxes and Microtransactions. And while an argument can be said that these absolutely ruin the games overall, it’s hard to really deny the fun and excitement still to be had with playing a game that is still, despite company hoohaw, implemented in a popular world.
These franchises are roller coasters that are passable at their lowest but excellent at their highest. The two worth mentioning are 2014’s Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and 2003’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War was a Monolith Production game, published by Warner Bros., that implemented both a similar combat system to Batman: Arkham Asylum was well as a brand new system known as the Nemesis system. The game was a welcomed console-launch title that would eventually go on to receive a sequel. And while the sequel was not met with similar appraisal, this system for a “Lotr” game should be the basis for future games in this franchise.
It was hard to decide between either the classic Battlefront games or the Bioware “Kotor” game, but I ultimately decided on Knights of the Old Republic because it was the most obvious choice. Kotor became a hugely successful series of games that took place in a time before the prequel-era movies where the heroes, villains, and universe was very different in all the right ways. The original 2003 game itself worked perfectly thanks to the storytelling genius of Bioware, same company that was also famously known for their Mass Effect series as well.
Again, these franchises have become a staple point in the game industry to the point that even their movie tie-ins are pretty great! While there will be ups and downs in the years to come, we as fans will never get tired of being hyped for the next installments to come!
Game: Transformers: War For Cybertron / Tranformers: Fall Of Cybertron
Release: 2010 / 2012
Success story: Proper form
Transformers was a popular franchise about robots in disguise battling one another in an alien civil war. It had a great animated television show (with subsequent sequel shows and reboots), it released an animated movie and eventually became a large live action movie franchise for better or worse, and of course the Hasbro toys sold like mad. So the obvious next direction would have been to make video games based on the transforming machines… well that was rough.
It seems crazy that such an obvious choice to develop into games had a hard time getting their footing. The earlier games were based after the animated shows such as the original G1 show or even Beast Wars, yet they failed to capture the appeal and action-packed moments that the shows always offered.
But eventually the company known as High Moon Studios, which works under Activision, decided that they wanted to play a fun Transformers game for once. So they started work on War for Cybertron which was intended to be the ultimate transformers game for the time.
Transformers: War For Cybertron was easily a success, especially amongst the fandom. The game was a third-person action shooter with a similar design intricate as the Gears of War games, however with the inclusion of transforming whenever you wanted into a vehicle the game quickly became its own thing. The story itself took place on the home planet of Cybertron, and it acts as though it was a proper prequel to the original animated show which is fantastic and helps bring in newbies. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the multiplayer mode, which truly became its own thing and became very popular at a time when most shooters were getting dull.
The game was quickly furthered in its sequel Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. The sequel was even better with upgraded classic designs and environmental graphics, more classic characters such as the Dinobots and Shockwave, and even different mechanics and play features.
Unfortunately the studio of High Moon is now just a shell of its former self, and there truly hasn’t been a game quite like theirs since. Sure there was Transformers: Devestation from Platinum Games, which was a fun yet challenging action game, but nothing else has truly hit the same mark since. Here’s to hoping we can eventually get back to the same greatness that once helped this franchise finally implement into gaming.
2. Justice League
Game: Injustice 2
Success story: learned lessons
Superhero characters should absolutely work in video games, but that’s not always the case. With some obvious exceptions, most super hero game are either broken or otherwise too “safe” to be anything memorable or meaningful to the players. Justice League, which is a huge collaboration team of DC characters, was such a title.
When NetherRealm Studios got the rights to create a DC fighting game, the company that is also solely known for Mortal Kombat, it seemed like a winning scenario at first. However when they released their first game with the license, Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe (2008), it was possibly the most tasteless fighting game to ever be made in modern times. Sure it got a few positive reviews at the time of its release, but the game has since fallen into the void of forgetfulness from virtually everyone. To be fair though, this was there first go at the license and making a good story mode for a fighting game is nearly non-existent.
Despite the negativity towards their first game, they decided to do an original concept exclusively about the DC characters. They decided to make a dimension jumping story involving alternate version of classic Justice League characters known as Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013). This game was actually well received despite some dull applications to its story near the end mark. This was certainly the right direction to go moving forward. And eventually the sequel was announced.
Injustice 2 personally shocked me at how well it handled it’s story mode and arguably has the best story mode for a fighting game in recent time. The graphics are superb and detailed, the characters old and new are modeled and remodeled with care and effort, and more importantly the game just felt great to play. There was even excellent choices in DLC characters with things such as HellBoy and the Ninja Turtles.
Hopefully Injustice 3 is a thing, because I can only see this getting better from here.
Game: Batman: Arkham Asylum
Success story: Sweet victory
If you didn’t see this game make it onto this list, color me shocked! Batman is easily one of the most popular superhero franchises in the world. The character has appeared in many games of his own throughout the many years of his existence and many have failed to make the landing… Until this one.
The game company known as Rocksteady Studios, which was really only known for making Urban Chaos: Riot Response (2006) at the time, was given the chance to make their own unique take on the Batman character and his respective characters and villain roster. They decided to treat this game as more of an homage and history lesson to the various characters as well as the villain roster both known and unknown, while still making an original story and setting to boot.
The game came to be known as Batman: Arkham Asylum, which mianly took place on the island of said asylum. The story involved the Joker taking over the asylum with criminal intent on messing with Batman, while at the same time releasing other villains to go after the Gotham hero. This concept of having the story involve the Arkham Asylum would become so popular and so well known that similar stories would later be released in countless other games and media. They even got classic voice actors back to reprise their characters including Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill.
The game got immediate critical acclaim, and was quickly regarded as “the best superhero game ever made” which was a huge success for the time and easily unheard of. The game eventually got two sequels known as Batman: Arkham City (2011) and Batman: Arkham Knight (2015), as well as spin-off comics and a prequel game known as Batman: Arkham Origins (2013). The sequels themselves would become better and stronger versions of the original game with better stories, more new characters, more villains and higher stakes.
But despite how much of an improvement the sequels would become, I can’t help but still consider Arkham Asylum as my favorite one personally. It succeeded in places that were never thought to be succeedable, and it did so with style and class.
This is why Batman is the number one success story in terms of bringing a franchise into the game industry. The way Rocksteady handled this game should be studied by those who wish to bring their own games based on a franchise into the forefront.
Hope you ennoyed the random post guys…
Posted on May 14, 2019, in DC, GeekBeerz, Marvel, Star Wars, Uncategorized and tagged activision, batman, bioware, DC, games, hasbro, high moon, injustice, insomniac, lord of the rings, marvel, monolith, netherrealm, roacksteady, spider-man, Star Wars, transformer, transformers, Video, villains, warner bros. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.