I’m currently through one of two chapters of The Walking Dead video game, recommended by our own Dave Bast some time ago. I’ll probably have further thoughts on it once I finish the next segment, but it’s taught me one important lesson so far. Good video games can come from TV shows.
Movies adapted into games have largely been written off, and most TV-to-game adaptations have been pretty dismal. But by taking a game and putting it in a style that you wouldn’t expect, the results can be great. You would have thought a Walking Dead game would have emulated similarly themed titles like Dead Rising or Left 4 Dead. What we have instead is a title far closer to Heavy Rain, and it’s a must better game for it.
I tried to think of what other TV series could find new life or extend their reach using video games. Here’s what I’ve come up with, and I think you’ll agree that you’d probably play quite a few of these.
Firefly (in the style of Mass Effect)
How’s that for a squad selection screen?
Picture this: You’re Mal Reynolds, controlled in third person, roaming around the decks of Serenity. You can interact with your crew, and dialogue trees will bring you closer or further from the likes of Jayne, Inara, Kaylee and so on.
You can accept bounty missions from small moons or planets, but those would be a reprieve from a larger plot involving the Alliance and/or Reavers. I think the game could effectively take place in the gap time between the show’s end, and the movie’s beginning, and it seems like there would be an infinite amount of stories to tell (not to mention all characters would be alive and well).
Tell me this wouldn’t be fantastic. It would be a little less equipment focused than the actual Mass Effect, as we don’t need Mal decked out in power armor wielding enormous laser cannons, but as you can see, many elements would be fantastic to employ, including the story and character driven nature of both properties. Of course, the original actors doing voices would be a must, but that shouldn’t be a problem for Jayne, Mal and Wash at the very least as Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk have been doing voices for Halo games for years.
24 (in the style of Call of Duty)
Your mission: DON’T assassinate the president.
Picture this: You’re running down the streets of LA, a gang of Russian thugs in pursuit. You have time to race to diffused a bomb in a local mall, or save Chloe O’Brien who’s being held hostage in a nearby warehouse. But there’s no time to do both. NO TIME.
Obviously in the above scenario, f*** the people in the mall, but I think an FPS 24 game could work. I always wondered how much of a badass you have to be in these Call of Duty games, gunning down legions of soldiers singlehandedly. If there’s every been a TV equivalent to such a character, it’s Jack Bauer.
A toned down version of the Call of Duty campaigns would work well here. No, New York City or Washington DC does not have be invaded by the Soviets, but an FPS style would lend itself to the genre. You might tap something like Hitman or Splinter Cell instead, but let’s be real, Jack’s always been more of a shoot-first-don’t ask questions kind of guy. But when he does ask questions? Imagine what the quick time event interrogation scenes would be like.
Game of Thrones (in the style of Skyrim)
He should have put more points in block.
Picture This: You start up the game and are immediately whisked away to a character creation screen. The first question is profound. Do you want to be a Stark, a Lannister, a Baratheon or a Targaryan? And your world is shaped from there.
Yes, it’s true, they made a Game of Thrones RPG, but sadly it’s one of the poorest examples of a TV-adapted game to date. Combat is clunky, the story is morbid and uninteresting, and you control non-custom characters you hate. Not so, in my theoretical Skyrim-esque title.
Combat would stick to swords and bows, largely ignoring sorcery until perhaps the very end once some dragons reappear. The map would be an epic sprawl of the highlights of the seven kingdoms, from Winterfell to King’s Landing to Qarth to the Wall. As a member of a noble family (or perhaps an unaffiliated wanderer), you could make your own destiny and influence the political landscape of the land through combat or dialogue. Obviously the story would have to be far deeper than Skyrim’s, but it’s a challenge that would be well worth taking on. There’s a lot of potential here, and I’d hate to see it go to waste because of one crappy attempt.