Nowadays, games often inspire movies. Just look at the success of films like Jumanji and Tron. It wasn’t always like this, however, as many of the most famous and successful video games released over the past few decades have actually been directly inspired by iconic movies.
This shouldn’t really be altogether that surprising as it makes sense that box office hits inspire game developers. Generally speaking, gamers enjoy familiarity, and movies can often be the best format for these concepts to arise from.
Whether you’re looking at action or strategy games, there will, undoubtedly, be an example of how they have been influenced by movies out there. Keep reading for a breakdown of our favourite iconic movies that have gone on to inspire video game developers.
The sci-fi epic Blade Runner inspired a lot more than just video game developers during the 1980s. Its dystopian vision of the future set the blueprint for a new way of imagining what might happen as humanity continues to evolve. Drenched in neon and near-perpetual darkness, Blade Runner inspired various sci-fi games, most notably, the Bioshockseries.
George Lucas changed the game with his Star Wars invention, a sci-fi space opera that soaked into almost all corners of global culture when it burst onto the scene in the 1970s. Characters like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker have become bona fide cultural icons, while the fight against the dark side and Jedi ideology has become an influential part of countless movies, games, and books. The recent Star Wars Shatterpoint announcement by Asmodee & Atomic Mass Games is one in a long line of video games that are either directly or loosely inspired by the movies.
22 Jump Street
22 Jump Street may not be an obvious choice for movies inspiring video games but if you look closely at the many sweet-fuelled mini-games on the market, you’ll start seeing its influence. For example, smartphone smash hits like Candy Crush are, evidently, inspired by the 22 Jump Street aesthetic during certain scenes, notably when Schmidt and Junk accidentally ingest the drug they’ve been tasked to find. Additionally, online slots can often utilise a fantasy-candy land backdrop, most notably seen in Sweet Bonanza.
Lord of the Rings
Lord of the Rings is arguably the most famous and legendary fantasy series of all time, with Frodo Baggins and co.’s adventures across Middle Earth inspiring numerous games since the iconic movies came out in the early 2000s. There have been countless official spin-offs, including the monumentally popular EA Lord of the Rings Return of the Kinggame, which captured the attention of millions of PS2 gamers in 2003. Additionally, you could argue that other popular games like Skyrim have been influenced by the Lord of the Rings universe, with the same fantasy elements and historical period used.
Gangster movies don’t get much more significant than Scarface, and gangster games don’t get more popular than Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series. Coincidence? We don’t think so. Indeed, the narrative for GTA Vice City directly echoes Tony Montana’s rise to become a mafia kingpin, proving how close the game and movie are. Other GTA instalments also borrow from Scarface and other classic mafia films, from the available weapons to the lingo used by the main protagonist.
Black Hawk Down
Black Hawk Down is a seminal modern war film focussing on the 1993 US raid in Mogadishu and the subsequent fallout. In many ways, this movie foreshadowed the shift of war games focusing on WWII to the modern era. Call of Duty Modern Warfare is, of course, the most prominent example, a game that completely revolutionised the war game genre.
Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones adventurer character has influenced numerous aspects of popular culture, right down to the classic fedora he wears, which has become popular among movie fans. One of the most significant movie franchises to come out of the Indiana Jones films is the Uncharted saga, which focuses on its main character, Nathan Drake. Elsewhere, legendary online casino games, like Book of Dead, have also been directly influenced by Indy and his pursuit of ancient knowledge.
Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan broke the mould after its 1998 release, portraying WWII in an extraordinarily gritty manner that inspired filmmakers and game developers to use more realism in their own attempts. The Medal of Honour and Call of Duty franchises are perfect examples of WWII games that use far more realism than the games that came before them.