Video games are generally a standalone form of entertainment media, which has its own history, iconic characters, franchises, mythology, actors, and lore-filled worlds. Spanning about five decades of gaming content, video games are in no short supply when it comes to innovation, good storytelling, and fun, enjoyable content.
Sometimes, however, the film industry does try to butt in, asking for tie-in video games to accompany a movie release or for game creators themselves to look to movie IPs for a source of content to draw from. Regardless of the reason, since the dawn of gaming, movie-based games have become a vital part of video game history.
This collaboration between the two industries produces mixed results, with some games plagued with low budgets and no direction, falling flat on release. In contrast, others with a more dedicated team of creators have become great experiences for players to enjoy. With no promises on their quality, here are ten video games based on movies.
Note: This article reflects the writer’s opinion.
From Terminator to Harry Potter, 10 video games inspired or tied directly to movies
1) LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
The second most recent video game on this list, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker saga, was developed by Traveller’s Tales and published by WB Interactive Entertainment. It was released on April 4 across PC, PS, and Xbox consoles and was an action-adventure LEGO game.
Set in the Star Wars universe, this video game encompasses the story told across all nine of the episodic Star Wars movies, narrating the story of the Skywalker family. The game is divided into three campaigns, each containing one of the three trilogies, and players can tackle them in any order they choose.
In previous LEGO Star Wars video games, lightsaber combat has improved with light and heavy attacks. Characters who use blasters can also get a complete third-person over-the-shoulder camera to better simulate the shooter experience. Players can control around 380 playable characters.
2) Alien: Isolation
Inspired directly by the first Alien movie but executed on a much larger scale, Alien: Isolation was developed by Creative Assembly and published by SEGA. The game was released across a multitude of platforms in October 2014. The game tells the original story of protagonist Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen Ripley, who was the main hero of the first (and later) Alien movie.
Amanda heads out into space for the Sevastopol space station, which seems to have found a flight recorder for her mother’s ship, the Nostromo. With a small team of people, Amanda lands in Sevastopol and soon realizes that something has gone wrong, with the androids out of control, people running around or hiding, and a Xenomorph loose aboard the station.
This is a survival horror video game where the player (as Amanda) must try to stay alive, using the tools they gather along the way, as well as stay as far away from the Alien as they can. While hostile humans and androids can be dealt with using melee attacks or guns, the Xenomorph cannot be harmed in any way. Amanda will need to quickly cower in a closet or under tables and beds whenever it’s nearby.
3) Blair Witch
Another survival horror game inspired by a movie, Blair Witch was developed by the Bloober Team and published by Lionsgate Games and originally released in 2019 for Windows, Xbox One, and PS4. This video game is based on the Blair Witch series of films, especially the first movie known as The Blair Witch Project.
The game tells an original story in the universe, where protagonist Ellis Lynch heads out into the Black Hills forest to join a search for a missing young boy who got lost in the woods. Accompanied by his dog Bullet, Ellis starts to experience strange visions and hallucinations once he enters the forest, finding various totems and wooden carvings.
The game takes place from a first-person perspective, although there is no actual combat in the game. Purely a survival horror experience, players will need to keep Bullet close by so that Ellis retains his sanity, as he tends to get jumpy whenever the dog leaves him for extended periods of time. The game also features a few endings based on how players progress as well as how they treat their pet.
4) Evil Dead: The Game
The most recent video game on this list, Evil Dead: The Game, is an asymmetrical online multiplayer game based on the Evil Dead movies as well as the TV show. Featuring Bruce Campbell returning to voice Ashley Williams, the game also has other playable characters in the form of Ash’s friends and allies from the movies and the show. The game was released on May 13, 2022.
In every match, players can play as either a Survivor or a Demon. The Survivors can play in a 4-player co-op mode, while the Demon is controlled by a single player. Survivors need to find pages of the Necronomicon hidden across the map to open up a way to destroy the Demon for good. Alternatively, the Demon must use all its abilities and powers to try and stop the Survivors by killing them all off.
Each Survivor character, such as the different Ash’s and his friends, have different bonus perks that complement them and their teammates in the match. Players have a choice of three varieties to choose from, each with a different set of minions and abilities to use.
5) GoldenEye 007
GoldenEye was a 1995 spy movie in the James Bond franchise, with Pierce Brosnan playing the suave British MI6 agent and Sean Bean playing the antagonist Alec Trevelyan. The movie was adapted into a game in 1997, developed by Rare and published by Nintendo, titled GoldenEye 007, reiterating the movie’s events.
Playing as a first-person shooter, players took on the role of Bond across a variety of stages and levels inspired by the movie’s settings. Character models, while being composed of fewer pixels than a camera from a budget phone, resembled their versions from the movies, with iconic standouts being Bond himself and Sean Bean’s Alec Trevelyan.
The game saw quite a lot of positive reception and is now seen historically as one of the games that changed FPS video games forever. With the implementation of stealth, well-designed single-player missions, as well as a multiplayer mode for up to four players, this was a game that changed the genre. A remaster for new-gen consoles is rumored to be in development.
6) Jurassic World Evolution
While Jurassic World was mostly just a shadow of the original Jurassic Park movie, the video game based on this new film franchise saw a lot more success. Titled Jurassic World Evolution, this management simulator video game was developed and published by Frontier Developments in June 2018.
Players were tasked with creating the theme park from the movies, as well as maintaining some older habitats. With the ability to sequence genomes available from different archeological sites, players can also genetically create their favorite breed of dinosaurs and put them in a large enclosure furnished with the required flora and fauna.
The game saw a lot of appreciation, which led to the developers including DLC from the original Jurassic Park trilogy, as well as a sequel game, which was released in 2021. Players seem to enjoy managing a theme park full of dinos, designing it according to their wildest dreams, and testing out the most fun genetic combinations.
But when a dinosaur would occasionally break out of its enclosure, it is when the players might wonder if they were too preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to wonder if they should.
7) Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game
Street Fighter was a hugely popular video game series in the early 90s, after the launch of Street Fighter II, which saw it rise to quite a lot of acclaim. This led to it being developed into a movie titled Street Fighter: The Movie, which performed quite well commercially. With this, Capcom decided it would be a good idea to make a video game based on the movie.
And so was the birth of Street Fighter: The Movie, the arcade game. A bad idea from its very inception, this game was the reskin of the Street Fighter II Turbo video game, which meant that the game looked and behaved exactly the same as the last one, but with the character models replaced with actors from the movies.
A few additional changes were made, such as the emphasis on aerial combos and juggling and a couple of new special moves exclusive to this version of the video game. Despite looking like a Street Fighter crossed over with Mortal Kombat, the game performed well in the arcades, although the one review for it was scathing at best.
8) The Matrix: Path of Neo
With the launch of The Matrix trilogy, the pop culture crowd at the time was overwhelmed with the movie’s basic premise. This resulted in three very successful movies, which made quite the box office bucks, despite being mostly above-average movies. This popularity also resulted in two video games being developed based on the game’s story.
While Enter the Matrix was a cheap movie tie-in, The Matrix: Path of Neo was a retelling of the movie’s events, which the players could play through as Thomas Anderson himself, better known to his friends as Neo. In an action-adventure game, the players went through the events of the movie, starting as a normal human plugged into the Matrix, with Neo unable to use any of his powers yet.
As the game progressed, players got access to weapons and some parkour abilities, and by the end of the first movie, they finally took on the role of The One (which is an anagram of the word Neo). With heightened reflexes and senses, players could now fully take on the game in hand-to-hand combat if they wished to. While the ending is still controversial, this was still a great experience for fans of the franchise.
9) Terminator: Resistance
In the late 1980s and 1990s, one of the most trending action film franchises was The Terminator series. With Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the iconic role of a cyborg sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor, the first movie in the series delivered something new and innovative which was never seen before. Since then, there have been many Terminator movies, as well as video games, most of which have had a lackluster reception.
Falling into the category of best video game in its series as well as the worst game of the year, Terminator: Resistance is the latest in a line of games based on this IP. Developed by Teyon and released in November 2019, it got an enhanced version released for the PS5 in 2021.
The narrative revolves around a lone soldier of the Resistance in 2028, and players need to find a way to survive and fight back in the devastated city of Pasadena, California. Played in a first-person shooter perspective, the game has a few possible endings depending on the player’s choices.
10) Hogwarts Legacy
While one can argue that Hogwarts Legacy is actually based on the work of a certain author’s books rather than directly from the Harry Potter movies, the aesthetics seen in the game’s trailers are clearly lifted directly from the film adaptation. Developed by Avalanche Software and published by WB Interactive Entertainment, this is an upcoming game with a December 2022 release date.
From the iconic-looking castle of movies to the less formal robes worn by the students in the later films to the different magical creatures lifted directly from the Fantastic Beasts adaptation, Hogwarts Legacy aims to emulate the Harry Potter world that the larger audience is familiar with. Players will be able to explore Hogwarts and Hogsmeade Village, as well as other well-known locations in the wizarding world.
Played in a third-person perspective, players take on the role of a student starting their journey in Hogwarts in their fifth year. They can attend classes, learn spells, and tame magical creatures throughout the game. Players will be able to choose which house they wish to be sorted into, as well as which gender identity their character wishes to pursue.
Q. Do you enjoy video games inspired from movies?