Lionsgate, a big movie conglomerate behind the successful movie franchises “Hunger Games”, “Saw”, and many other well-loved films, has put their feet firmly into the video game arena. They’ve announced a partnership with California-based game studio TellTale Games, who are known for being the makers of the episodic video-game series The Walking Dead, a game series based on the hit graphic novel of the same name. Lionsgate has also implanted their CEO Jon Feltheimer as one of the new board of directors for Telltale Games.
This investment by Lionsgate will start with an original IP by Telltale games. According to Entertainment Weekly’s interview with the CEO of TellTale Games, Kevin Bruner, Telltale Games wants to bring their episodic content and combine it with a scripted television show, an immersive business strategy dubbed “ Super Show” by Kevin Bruner. The CEO of TellTale games also ambitiously stated that his company wants to make products that can win in the “Golden Globes” and also “Game of the Year” awards.
Movies and video games have always had an interdependent relationship since the release of the first video game. Many of the technology used in one industry can easily be used in another. Companies even use the same software for movies and mideo games right now, such as Maya, After Effects, and Zbrush for visual effects. Many movies even have video-game tie in’s. Here’s a list of all of the big budget movies(100+ million USD) in 2014 with video-game tie-ins.
|Movie||Do they have a game out?||Platforms|
|Expendables 3||*Yes(It was a free to play game meant as promotions)||PC|
|Amazing Spiderman 2||Yes||PC, iOS,Android, Nintendo 3ds, Nintendo Wii-U,Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4|
|Transformers: Age of Extinction||Yes||PC, Nintendo 3ds, Nintendo Wii-U,Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4|
|X-Men: Days of Future Past||*No(Mobile game was made on the comic book storyline that inspired the movie, but not on the actual movie)|
It’s not surprising that Liongate has branched out to video games. The movie industry has seen a huge amount of shrinkage in its audience. This past summer was the worst year at the box office for the movie industry with a 15% decline in revenue according to Variety. The videogame industry on the other-hand is growing four times faster than the US economy.
Lionsgate has been relying on big franchises and their television productions to keep their revenue up. You might have seen their TV productions “Mad Men, “Orange is the New Black”, “Nurse Jackie,” and “Nashville”. These series have done well enough for Lionsgate to consider putting their eggs outside of the movie industry basket. Lionsgate knows that the movie industry is not where you want to invest all their money in. Games are growing and even movie studios are trying to get in on it.
Telltale games on the other hand has always had respect for the movie industry. The founders of the company worked at Lucas Arts before making their own company. Lucas Arts is of course the company that George Lucas founded in May 1982 as a company that would focus on the games industry. You might remember some of their most beloved franchises such as “Monkey Island”, “Grim Fandango” and all Star Wars games until 2013.
Telltale Games got their start on making games from already established television IP’s in the early 2000’s. You probably don’t remember the CSI and Alias games as the pinnacle of gaming excellence, but they did keep the lights on over at Telltale games.
The company started to invest in IP’s instead of being contracted with them on the video game adaptation of the comic book series “Sam and Max,” a series based on the tales of an anthropomorphic tale of a dog and rabbit who solve mysteries. They also released the episodic series to great success on Steam and other digital platforms. This cemented their reputation as the go to guys for anything having to deal with episodic series. Here’s a screencap to cement the launching pad of their success.
Lionsgate has shown their adaptiveness in business by diversifying. They started as a movie production company and have successfully jumped in to television. This latest foray in to video games by combining their expertise in producing movie/television content, with the added help from TellTale Games to produce corresponding video game content, is highly ambitious. Lionsgate has so much confidence in this venture that they let TellTale Games own IP be the show runner. This is the start of a trend that will likely be followed by other movie studios.