The Evolving Relationship Between Film And Gaming
Gaming and film are two different industries, yet they share more similarities than you might think. Both have a huge global significance and are growing at a fast rate. The worldwide games market is worth around $160 billion US dollars a year, while in the film industry, the box office revenue totalled around $42.5 billion US dollars last year.
The aim of both the film and gaming industry is to create entertainment for their customers. They want their audiences to get lost within an experience and enjoy something different from their current reality. Often the most successful films are repurposed into other forms of entertainment, with console, PC or mobile games being one of the most popular choices. Expanding film plots and characters into a game environment gives audiences new ways to interact with their favourite characters.
There is also a more recent trend for turning popular video games into films. Giving video game characters films adds a new dimension to them and provides the opportunity to build on storylines and plots that were first developed for the game.
These industries are constantly evolving and continue to benefit from one another’s presence.
Here are just a few examples of games or films that have expanded into the other industry:
Films that have become games
Some of the most iconic films in recent history have been made into video games. One example of this is the Jurassic Park franchise.
Jurassic Park began as a book in the early 1990’s and was quickly developed into a film. In anticipation of how well received this film would be, the rights to develop Jurassic Park themed video games were sold to developers. Giving licences to multiple companies meant that games could be created across all the major platforms of the time. An action-adventure themed game following the main plot line of the film was released on NES and Nintendo Gameboy. A PC version was also developed with the addition of a first-person shooter perspective. SEGA released their version of the game for SEGA systems around the same time.
Another globally successful film franchise to succeed in the gaming market is Star Wars. This franchise has more titles than any other film-to-game adaptation.
The first game was the ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ on the Atari. It was released in 1982, so by today’s standards the graphics were very basic. However, many thousands of copies of the game were sold, and players enjoyed the simplicity of the plot, which was to defend the Rebel base at all costs. Following on from this, Star Wars games have been released on almost every gaming platform, including online casino games. It’s presence in the gaming world has helped to keep the film relevant in pop-culture and ensured that subsequent film releases were greatly anticipated by its loyal fanbase.
Games that have become films
Game-to-film adaptations are a relatively new occurrence. Early game-inspired films include Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Streetfighter, however it wasn’t until the last decade or so that developing games into movies became a popular trend in film production.
Assassin’s Creed has been around as a video game series for the last 13 years and in 2016 it inspired a science fiction film of the same name. The film featured a brand-new storyline but contained some elements of the game to help connect the two, such as the Leap of Faith jump.
Assassin’s Creed the film was based in Spanish Inquisition as well as modern-day 2016. The character Cal is put into a machine called the Animus, where he is able to relive the genetic memories of his relative from the 15th century. The plot received mixed reviews for critics and made less than expected profits.
The game-to-film adaptation Pokemon Detective Pikachu found more success when it was released on film in 2019. In the film, a young man joins forces with Pikachu in the hopes of finding his father who has mysteriously disappeared. Together they search the city where Pokemon and humans coexist. The film achieved $433 million in the box office and is the perfect example of how a game franchise can be adapted for film.
Gambling is now featured in many successful films
Another way in which games have been incorporated into films is through gambling scenes. Playing games on online casinos or land-based venues is a popular pastime for people across the world. As gambling has become less taboo, more films have featured casinos in scenes to showcase luxurious lifestyles and adventure.
One example of this is the James Bond franchise, with the film Casino Royale being of the most well-known gambling films in history. The film’s casino scenes create feelings of suspense and danger for the audience. Whereas, in films such as The Hangover, casinos are used to show the consequences of overindulgence and risk-taking in a comedic way.
Both the film and gaming industries benefit from one another. Through sharing storylines and characters, they are able to reach large audiences and create lasting and memorable experiences for fans. With the ongoing success of franchises such as Star Wars and Pokemon, we can expect this symbiotic relationship to continue to thrive.