Video games have come a long way. What was once a simple way to pass the time has now become its own storytelling (and artistic) medium on par with books, television, and film. Something which is perfectly encapsulated in today's video game adaptions of famous properties. No longer are they a way to cash in on them, but rather a vessel to explore these beloved fictional universes in a manner books, tv and film simply can't.
So let's get the imagination flying and dream a bit, as we take a look at three fascinating ways to explore some rather iconic franchises in a video game format.
3. 'The Escape From Azkaban' (Harry Potter)
With the Harry Potter franchise, J.K. Rowling gave us a fascinating world full of magic, awe, and mystery. However, as the story's focus was always on seeing this likable group of school students mature, many darker aspects of this universe were only hinted at. And, well, it probably goes without saying that one of the more intriguing ones has got to be the resort for magical fiends and murderers — Azkaban.
Think something along the lines of survival games like Arkham Asylum or Escape from Butcher Bay (both also great video game adaptions of famous properties). Imagine walking through the dark corridors and mazes of Azkaban, all the while trying to avoid running into one of the its many sinister inmates or the deadly kiss of a Dementor. Imagine finding yourself in this eerie semi-openworld, as you discover the prison's dark secrets, solve puzzles, and of course, use a fair bit of magic to escape this beautifully atmospheric nightmare.
Now, in regards to the overall lore, the great thing is that it can be its own self-contained adventure. For rather obvious reasons, Azkaban is cut off from everything else in the Wizarding World and that should give the creators a substantial amount of freedom to explore it. However, if one should desire to tie it more closely to the canon, you could include iconic characters like Bellatrix Lestrange or Sirius Black depending on the timeline. It could really give us new insight into these characters and — by that extension — the overall lore of Harry Potter, as you discover Azkaban.
2. A Star Wars Open World Epic
While we've had plenty of great Star Wars games, one thing has eluded us thus far — a story-driven open world game, where you're not bound by a city or even planet, but an entire Galaxy. Just imagine a game where you explore a beautifully realised planet like Coruscant only to hijack a spaceship and fly off towards another completely different one (why not Mustafar, for example). Imagine finding a mysterious abandoned space station on your way there or get caught in a space battle.
Not only would it be great addition to the Star Wars franchise, but it could revolutionise open world gaming as we know it. Thing is, we've already seen with flawed but ambitious No Man's Sky that the technology for an open world space travel game is there. So, think of it like playing Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. The only differences being that instead of islands and continents, you have planets and asteroids, instead of sea there is space and instead of ships you get, well, spaceships.
In relation to canon, there really shouldn't be any worries either, as it can take place long before the main events and simply feature some familiar planets, machnery etc. However, as we have already seen with the novels and TV shows, it's also perfectly possible to write new stories that take place between or even during the main events just told through a different perspective (perhaps through Boba Fett's for example).
All in all, the Galaxy Far Away has become arguably the most detailed and massive fictional universe out there and, well, needless to say that an open world video game would enable us to explore it like never before.
1. Back To The Classic 007 Formula: A New "Old-Style" Bond Adventure
While the grittier and more story-driven approach of the Craig era has done wonders to revitalize the character on the big screen, it's fair to say that the Bond video games have fared less better as a result. Simply put, as good as the movies are, they just don't seem to lend themselves for a video game format very well (Blood Stone being a minor exception). In fact, we'd have to go back as far as 2004, when we last got a truly great and original Bond game in form of EA's Everything or Nothing. However, perhaps therein lays the key.
Here's the thing, EA was really onto something with their trilogy of original 007 games Agent Under Fire (2001), Nightfire (2002), and Everything or Nothing (2004). Essentially, what they had found was the ideal 007 game formula: An epic action-adventure game offering us a mix between combat, stealth, and semi-open world driving missions. One that comes complete with an original globetrotting story and all the classic Bond elements like ludicrous but clever gadgets, one-liners, cars, femme fatales, larger-than-life villains, the gunbarrel sequence, theme song, and of course MI6 regulars (M, Q, etc).
Therefore, the idea is simple. Why not continue where EA left off and produce another game like that for the modern generation gaming platforms. A Bond game separated from whatever's going on in the film world with a new Bond specifically created for that game (like the Brosnan/Moore/Connery hybrid in Agent Under Fire). In other words, while it probably was necessary to move away from the classic Bond formula on the big screen, it could still make for a truly memorable video game.
To Sum Up
One of the coolest things about fiction is getting immersed in these detailed universes and exploring them through great stories. However, perhaps even better is also being able to participate in them. That, I recon, is more than enough of an explanation on why these three above mentioned games should become a reality.