Blockbuster Gaming

The evolution of video games over the past few years has been astounding. During my 20 years gaming experience I’ve seen them evolve from humble beginnings into mainstream entertainment medium.

Today developers strive to deliver engaging stories and experiences to rival those on the big screen.

This month saw the release of Halo 4, the latest instalment of Master Chief‘s adventures. The release was preceded by a level of buzz and anticipation bigger than that of a Hollywood Blockbuster.

It’s not the first time a game has received this level of buzz either. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was launched with big red carpet event, boasting a cast including the likes of Idris Elba and Timothy Olyphant.

What’s interesting is the way some of these stories have been fleshed out in other media. Books, graphics novels, animation and even live action shorts have all been used to develop a number of gaming characters and their universes.

Perhaps my favourite example is the web series Mortal Kombat Legacy, created by a fan trying to obtain rights to a film. Its popularity has already ensured a second season is on its way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5Wnc8OyUj0&feature=share&list=ELeWDvdC4t8Yw

Another great web series to checkout is ‘Halo: Forward Unto Dawn’, based on the popular gaming franchise. The success of such series proves the level of interest in iconic characters such as Master Chief and the demand for content. And that’s just what gaming characters have become – icons.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfJVgXBfSH8&feature=share&list=SPAE1F854F00D8E6AC

We’ve also seen a number of game-to-film adaptations rise over the last few years. Games such as Resident Evil, Prince of Persia and Tomb Raider have all been given the Hollywood treatment along with many more.

It’s clear that there is demand for more tales based around our favourite console heroes. The fact that Hollywood has yet to do any of them justice indicates just how high the level of storytelling in video games has become.

What’s clear is that gaming is fast becoming a strong medium for storytelling, nudging towards books and movies. What I’m interested to see going forward is if game developers be able to surpass either of those mediums in the years to come. Either way – as we gamers say – we’re in for one hell of a ride.