Can Licensed IPs create meaningful gameplay experiences?

Throughout the years, licensed games have been a taboo subject in the gaming industry. From the armies of children’s movie games to the action movie retellings, games have tried to be a viable platform for these personalities to stretch their legs. Until now, this has been a very bump road littered with carcasses of studios who tried and failed. Will the mold be broken?

Two recent releases have tried to change the negative view of licensed games and so far, they seem to be doing just that.


The first, Shadow of Mordor, which released on September 30th for PC, PS4, and XBone, has been taking the charts by storm. Something about killing massive amounts of orcs in some of the most gruesome ways I’ve seen has excited gamers around the world.

Most licensed games fall into a pit of releasing when the movie drops, if not before, to capitalize on the hype. In a way this makes sense but the games never sell all too well since gamers have learned better at this point. Shadow’s of Mordor breaks that mold of stale gameplay by creating a combat/upgrade system that lets you play the way you want. With the fluidity of Legolas, you are able to dispatch Uruks, but even a weak enemy can down the mighty hunter. Monolith also created a deep world that is living and breathing without your input. Conflicts rise and fall, Captains rank up and die, Areas get overrun, without the player taking on step. Atmosphere is key and bringing our favorite worlds to life.


The second, Alien: Isolation, just released on October 7th for PC, PS3, PS4, 360, and Xbone. Parallels can be drawn to Outlast, a recent survival horror game that showed off the PS4’s capabilites early in its life.

Fans of the series have been waiting a while for a decent Aliens, especially after Colonial Marines, Gearboxes Space Marine flop that has gone down as one of the worst games of the last generation. The Aliens games have had a bumpy existence but maybe developers have finally found the correct way to represent the source material. A true sense of terror is conveyed while trying to avoid the Xenomorph. Surviving any way you can, fighting for each minute of life is how Isolation holds you in the confines of the ships walls. This level of immersion gives players an understand of the environment that many AAA titles tend to just overlook. Reviews are still pouring in for Isolation, but initial thoughts have been mostly positive!

What does this mean for you? Maybe your favorite franchise will get a chance to grace consoles in a way fans can embrace, instead of shunning its creation. All in all, I think licensed games are moving in the right direction! Developers are slowly getting more pull with publishers, and publishers are slowly realizing rushing a game costs them more money for a less successful product. Only time will tell though.

Thanks for reading guys. Have a favorite licensed game? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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