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access_time January 18, 2021 at 6:00 AM in Features by David Poole

Are We Seeing the Rise of the Licensed Game?

Back in the early days of gaming, licensed games were incredibly common. Games based on TV shows and movies were rampant, and we would often get games based on properties like E.T., Home Alone, and more that didn’t exactly translate well to the medium. Of course, some movies did translate well to critical acclaim, including the N64 classic GoldenEye. Over time though, it became a common stigma that games based on these properties were simple cash-grabs to take advantage of popularity. With that in mind, these games haven’t been as common as they once were. Seeing Bethesda announce a new Indiana Jones game, Ubisoft’s new Star Wars game, and IO Interactive’s 007 game teased last year, are we starting to see a comeback?

Star Wars has been the most prominent of licensed games over the years. With the exclusivity deal between Disney and EA, we saw Star Wars Battlefront, Battlefront II, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and Star Wars: Squadrons. It seems with the rise of Lucasfilm Games comes the foreseeable end of that deal. Ubisoft’s open world Star Wars game from Massive Entertainment will mark one of the first games to come from these new partnerships. That being said, we’ll still see some Star Wars titles from EA in the future.

With the announcement of Lucasfilm Games and MachineGames working on a new Indiana Jones title, there’s a lot to look forward to. MachineGames being known for their Wolfenstein titles, they definitely have experience working with alternate histories. With Bethesda’s Todd Howard as executive producer, there’s a lot to consider here. Howard has apparently been trying to make an Indiana Jones game for over a decade, so it sounds like his dream is finally coming true. It will be some time before we see more, but the teaser for the game apparently hides some clues. Avid fans will likely scour the video for all the secrets they can find.

When it comes to Project 007 from IO Interactive, this is probably the most intriguing one. It’s been over eight years since Activision pulled the plug on licensed games. 2012’s 007 Legends was not the hit that they needed, and it put the franchise in a dormant state for a while. Hearing the Hitman developer pick up the license is incredibly promising. The game is going to be a new origin story, tasking James Bond with earning his 00 status. As far as how Bond will be portrayed, it’s currently a mystery. Daniel Craig is still the character for No Time to Die, but it’s unlikely that he will be the face of IO Interactive’s Bond. If anything, it’ll probably be like the Mad Max video game, using their own interpretation.

These giants are throwing their hats in the ring to put us in a licensed game renaissance. Of course, we still have the many titles from Marvel Games or WB Games with their many DC titles. We’re even getting a new The Evil Dead multiplayer game. With all these games coming together, there’s a lot for fans to look forward to. That also means for every Marvel’s Spider-Man, we’ll likely get a Fast & Furious: Crossroads. Hopefully these titles are successful and we can start seeing other big licensed games. Massive Entertainment’s upcoming Avatar game could be another hit, but only time will tell.

What do you think? Are you excited for any of the upcoming licensed games? Is there a big movie franchise that you want to see a AAA game for? Let us know in the comments below and tell us your thoughts.

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