Gaming and entertainment go hand-in-hand, and, currently, gaming is steering the entertainment industry. In 2023, multiple reports found that gaming was more lucrative and popular than other forms of content, including film, music, and television.
This trend isn’t likely to change, especially as more and more gaming themes, characters, and worlds bleed into the mainstream. The rising popularity of esports and live streaming has also fueled the growth of gaming, allowing fans to not just play games but spectate competitive matches and follow their favorite streamers.
Mobile gaming has opened up gaming to wider demographics as well. The gaming industry is expected to be worth over $200 billion globally by 2023. Let’s look at two major examples.
1. The Witcher
The first is the Netflix Witcher series, led by Henry Cavill. This series capitalized on the popularity of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt from CD Projekt Red, which is a highly acclaimed open-world RPG. The Witcher games have sold over 50 million copies worldwide.
The Netflix series brought the world of The Witcher to a mainstream audience. Viewers streamed an unbelievable 519 hours of Season 2 of the series on Netflix in 2021 along with another 327 hours of Season 3 last year. The intricate world-building and mature themes resonated with fans.
2. Resident Evil
Another example is Resident Evil. This franchise of horror survival games spawned a highly lucrative and popular film series. The movies stayed close to the source material, delighting fans with a Milla Jovovich-led six-film series.
Though rated poorly by critics, it is the highest-grossing zombie series ever and, for many years, held the title of the most profitable film series based on a video game. The Resident Evil games have sold over 100 million copies over the years, making it Capcom’s best-selling franchise. The upcoming Resident Evil series on Netflix will likely introduce the franchise to a new generation as well.
But things have changed since gaming took center stage in the entertainment industry. Today, popular video games are more likely to turn into films rather than vice versa. Until recently, the opposite was the standard—that popular hits would earn a video game adaptation.
The rising sophistication of video games, with their cinematic graphics and immersive storytelling, has elevated the medium to rival films and TV. Looking back, let’s count down some of the best video games that were directly inspired by film and television.
3. Rick and Morty Slot
Rick and Morty is one of the most beloved cartoons of the last decade. Thanks to its scientific schemes, unforgettable characters, and a series of hilarious adventures, just about everyone can list a Rick and Morty episode that had them cracking up. Unsurprisingly, this game fits beautifully into the format of online slots.
Online slots are pretty basic in terms of mechanics and progression. Players spin the reel, then wait to see which combinations hit and, potentially, which multipliers unlock new levels. With its notable graphic design, catchphrases, and hilarious antics, fans of the series will be engrossed in this slot.
It can be accessed at any online platform that focuses on its casino slots collection. The humor and sci-fi elements from the show transition seamlessly into the slot format. Fans will enjoy spotting all the references and hearing familiar Rick and Morty quips as they play.
4. Jurassic World Evolution
Typically, video game versions of popular hits are all about recreating the adventures from the big screen. This arrangement makes sense—after all, game developers must cater to what fans expect. However, Jurassic World Evolution took its approach in a totally new dimension, which has paid off.
Rather than crafting a survival adventure game that mirrors the on-screen plot of the relaunched Jurassic series, developers built a simulator. This simulator allows players to build their own Jurassic World theme park.
As they create their own dinosaur utopia, they’re also treated to a familiar narrative and plenty of recognizable characters like Dr. Ian Malcolm providing guidance. Fans of the blockbuster films get to live out the fantasy of running their own dinosaur theme park.
5. Blair Witch
Back in 1999, the Blair Witch Project took off amongst horror fans and helped put the ‘found footage’ trend on the map. Audiences at home couldn’t quite discern whether they were watching fact or fiction as a group of friends found themselves lost in the New England woods. Twenty years later, video game developers decided to tackle this concept with a new twist.
In the game Blair Witch (available on VR for extra scares), players must seek out a lost boy in the woods. They’ll have only the tools that the original Blair Witch characters had—a flashlight, a camera, and a cell phone. As they seek out their target, they’ll also find plenty of cassettes that mirror the haunting terror of the original film’s home recordings.
The game perfectly recaptures the immersive first-person viewpoint and building sense of dread that made the film so impactful. Wandering the shadowy, ambiguous woods armed with nothing but a flashlight makes for an unforgettably tense gaming experience.
6. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
This project isn’t based on one of George Lucas’s previous Star Wars film releases. Instead, it’s based on a comic series from the creator. Despite shifting its source material away from the films, this video game release is fondly remembered as the best in the Star Wars franchise—and one of the best in the action RPG space. The Star Wars expanded universe of books, comics, and games has become almost as important to fans as the films themselves.
Unsurprisingly, the game includes a highly politicized galactic war between the Jedi, the Sith, and other factions. But it’s the incremental narrative that players have enjoyed. As they advance in the game, they build up skills and abilities—all of which are based on their decision-making, turning each character into a highly personalized warrior that’s based on the player’s outlook and personality.
The morality system allows players to choose whether to embrace the light or dark side of the Force, which impacts the story in meaningful ways. Few other Star Wars games have allowed fans to immerse themselves so deeply into the universe.