Bring Your Favorite Shows to Life: Developing Netflix Originals into Video Games.
For many years, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, commonly referred to as E3, has been hosting one of the biggest and most important video game events in the world. Titan video game companies like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, utilize this event to release to the public their latest advancements in video games and electronics. With this said… why was a video streaming service like Netflix present at this year’s E3!? Read on to find out more!
A new player has joined the arena
It all started on Twitter around early May this year, when one of Netflix’s official accounts ‘jokingly’ tweeted and tagged E3 asking for an invite to the show, to which E3 replied with “Sure! I think we can squeeze you in.”
On this tweet, Netflix hints about opening a panel during E3 called “Bring Your Favorite Shows to Life: Developing Netflix Originals into Video Games”. A proposal that became a reality on June 12 at the E3 Coliseum located at The Novo in Los Angeles, California.
At the E3 Coliseum, Chris Lee; Netflix’s director of interactive games, talked a bit about how the idea of getting Netflix into gaming was born. After seeing the amazing success of the first season of their original series “Stranger Things”, Netflix team was aware that this title could become so much more than just a show, so they ventured into making products and merchandise. Even after the huge success of their consumer products, they felt the title could be capable of even greater things and whilst questioning “what was missing?”, someone mentioned the possibility of creating a video game. And that was it, Chris Lee confessed that phrase sounded like music to his ears; immediately putting hands to work on the development of the game.
Even stranger things going on…
This panel was no surprise to gamers nor Stranger Things fans, as the video game developer BonusXP had already released a 16-bit video game for mobiles way back in 2017, called Stranger Things: The Game. So, what was the fuss over it during E3? Well, expanding from mobile gaming, Stranger Things 3: The Game will be coming to the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC platform on July 4 at the same time as the new season of the series. During the presentation at the E3 Coliseum, it was revealed that you will be able to play the beat-em-up game in locations that will appear in the new season of the series Stranger Things.
The current Stranger Things game only focuses on events and key locations from the first and second season of the show, so BonusXP and Chris Lee were pretty excited to show the sprites in the new season 3 areas. They also shared with the audience some special trinkets each character will have that are not necessarily tied with the show.
There was another big reveal regarding the Stranger Things universe inside the gaming industry; Netflix announced it will be partnering with a company from Finland; Next Games, to bring us a hybrid between RPG and Puzzle genre for a new Stranger Things phone game to be released in 2020. With this location-based RPG, you will have to partner up with other players to explore The Upside Down and defeat the evil hidden around you.
Now, Netflix isn't only going to obsess with their Stranger Things video game, they are also working with the Dark Crystal series, a Netflix adaptation of the 1982 fantasy adventure film directed by Jim Henson that started airing on Netflix in May this year. The tactical strategy game will be titled “Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics” and it is scheduled to release at some point this year for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox, and PC. Little has been revealed about the game, but what we can observe from the trailer is that the game follows the battle mechanics of your regular tactical role-playing video games. The Dark Crystal series in Netflix is a prequel to the original film, so there is a possibility that the game will be an adaptation of the story presented in the original movie.
This is only the beginning for Netflix as it takes small steps into the gaming world. Bringing a big title like Stranger Things to the consoles was a good idea, but sticking to the 80’s theme of the show, featuring a 16-bit video game in this day and age… maybe not so much. As for Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics, it seems to cater to very specific gamers, and while there is nothing wrong with tactical strategy games, they need to consider the competition, as releasing this game during the second half of 2019 means competing against colossal titles like Pokémon Sword and Shield, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order or Borderlands 3.
A neat idea could be starting out with a Netflix gaming option to their services, maybe a subscription-based service where you can play several console games using your Netflix account; what do you think would be a good plan for Netflix and its future in gaming?
Those following Netflix for years have seen the constant evolution of this now-streaming giant; from DVD rentals to starting their originals series to making their own movies, to video games, this company seems to always be ahead of the competition and setting the bar high for their next goal. Watching streams on a screen is really different from actually experiencing a story through actual gameplay, and being able to please the high demands of gamers is an entirely different challenge Netflix will have to face if they want to thrive in the video game industry. Still, they have to start somewhere, right? Their E3 presentation included a phrase that read: “Wait, Netflix is making video games? Yes, but not alone.”, and they couldn’t have said it better... Only time will tell if they partner up with the correct people, as whoever ends up developing their famous titles onto video games will be the key to their success.
What Netflix original series would you like to see made into a video game? We’re secretly rooting for an action adventure game featuring The Umbrella Academy or maybe a chilling horror game highlighting the best of Black Mirror. Let us know your opinions in the comments below!