[Promoted from our Community Manager’s inbox, here’s another fantastic Guest Writer! This piece comes from community member, Robert Wolfe. Robert grew up in the suburbs of Washington DC. A recent college graduate with a degree in English, Robert enjoys spending his time freelancing and writing for various tech and gaming blogs.]
Recently, Twinfinite posted an article discussing the various issues that accompany the release of films based on video games or game series. For the most part, these films have been lousy, disappointing flops, with a few exceptions and obviously some level of “cult” appeal to gamer audiences. However, in my excitement over the imminent release of a particular film not based on a video game, I got to thinking about the opposite. That is, all the wonderful action films out there that ought to have fantastic video games made for them.
Specifically, I’m talking about 300: Rise of an Empire, and while I realize the hype over this film is lacking significantly due to the fact that Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas character died at the end of the wildly entertaining original film, I’m still excited. People seem to have forgotten how original and breathtaking 300 was, simply because there have been so many cheap, lazy imitation projects since. I don’t expect the new film to have the strength of the original, but dammit, it should at least be a blast to watch. And, someday I hope, that it will be a blast to play!
Not every film, book, comic, or graphic novel makes for a great video game, but there are plenty of strong adaptations out there. And if ever a film was made for gamers, it’s 300. Already shot in a way that looks semi-animated, the entire film is about kicking ass, wielding weaponry, battling back different groups of enemies (natural levels in any game), and overcoming odds, so why hasn’t there been a sweet game made yet?
To be clear, there are a few games of different varieties out there based on this film. In 2007, NECA released a board game version pitting players against each other as Persians and Spartans. It’s sort of a 300 version of Stratego with a similar “battle” format to the popular game RISK, using dice and cards to determine outcomes. At the Betfair arcade gaming site, there’s a 300-themed cartoonish slot machine option. This is a rather entertaining twist on ordinary slots and offers players the chance to win actual money playing it. The only thing approaching console quality was the game 300: March To Glory released in 2007 solely to PSP and to largely poor reviews (but, to be fair, decent sales).
Now overall, it’s true, “sword & sandal” epics tend to translate poorly, or not at all, to video games. And today’s audience is more interested in shooters and sports games. Popular films like Troy or the smash hit HBO drama and book series Game of Thrones have had gaming adaptations made, but none gained massive followings the way one might expect based on how beloved the film and show are. However, while there isn’t a great example specifically of a “sword & sandal” film adaptation gaining explosive popularity, the style of game in general has had quite a bit of success, with the most recent example being the Xbox One hit Ryse: Son Of Rome. And, given the aforementioned graphic style and combat-centric plot of 300, it seems that a major console game could do quite well. Here’s hoping we’ll see something along these lines following the release of the sequel!