The video game industry is large and continuously growing. So every now and then, someone creates a new gimmick and markets it to gamers as the final enhancement necessary to maximize their gaming experience, including motion sensor games, virtual reality (which still shows promise), the OUYA and half of whatever accessories Nintendo comes up with.
This fall, Netflix, a newcomer to the arena of gaming, is looking to get its foot in the door: The streaming platform will be adding “Minecraft: Story Mode” to its library, which will be “playable” using video files that accept commands from the remote. While you shouldn’t be expecting the addition to revolutionize the landscape of gaming, Netflix properly investing in this project could bring some exciting developments.
1. The Exposure
Telltale Games made a name for itself in 2012 when it released the episodic adventure game, “The Walking Dead,” based on the popular comic and television series. After that, the company would not only continue the “Walking Dead” series but would also create episodic adventures for popular properties such as “Game of Thrones,” “Guardians of The Galaxy” and “Minecraft.”
If that wasn’t enough, the company also have a “Batman” game and “The Wolf Among Us,” which uses the more obscure “Fables” comic series as the source for its characters and gritty world. That’s already a lot of games to play, and that’s just on Telltale’s end.
Other companies have also made interactive games, such as “Life Is Strange” and “Beyond Two Souls,” that might have a place in Netflix’s library. Having most, if not all, of these available to play allows gamers to experience what they missed for no extra cost beyond their standard Netflix subscription.
Played all “TWD” games, but couldn’t quite bring yourself to buy the “Game of Thrones” season? No problem — just check it out on Netflix. Love “Batman,” but not interested in buying Telltale’s take on it? Just wait until it’s on Netflix.
Netflix adding these games would provide you with a place where you can try different titles without taking a major blow to your wallet or storage space, potentially a major new perk to having a subscription.
2. The Originals
Netflix has a considerable library of television shows and movies, but Hulu or Amazon may be more your speed, depending on your tastes. However, their stellar original content separates Netflix from the rest of the pack.
The platform hosts hit shows like “Stranger Things,” “Orange Is The New Black,” “Bojack Horseman” and more. Netflix can clearly attract talented writers when it wants to, and strong writing in a video game can completely elevate a gamer’s experience.
Most critics and fans consider post-apocalyptic “The Last of Us” a masterpiece of gaming, largely due to its beautifully crafted story. The first half hour already had most players crying for the loss of a character they just met — not much was said in that time, but being able to play as the character beforehand added weight to their loss.
Marrying the interactivity offered by video games with the interesting characters that Netflix creates time and time again could provide you with a cinematic experience like no other, one that you can’t help but become invested in.
3. The Expansion
In perhaps the most interesting point of all this, Netflix has the possibility of becoming an official part of certain video game universes. A game branching out to Netflix could be very beneficial for the developers.
For one, Netflix could provide lore to games that have little focus on story in the first place. “Overwatch” has a diverse roster of characters the fanbase adores, but players currently have to rely on comics and animated shorts released sparsely throughout the year to learn anything about their heroes.
Imagine having a Netflix show dedicated to exploring the characters’ pasts and actually moving the story of the disbanded “Overwatch” team forward. Something like that could only deepen the gameplay experience, and the ripple effects of such a narrative would be fascinating to see unfold.
The partnership could also be used as a clever marketing tool to promote a game as it nears release. They could make something as shallow as an interactive trailer that’s available on Netflix until the game’s release, or the marketing could act as an additional story that enhances the upcoming game, offering a more comprehensive experience for those that choose to purchase the full game afterward.
This would prove very beneficial to games within a franchise. The current “Tomb Raider” series comes to mind — with the release of the “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” coming this fall, previews of the game promise a better gaming experience, but don’t seem to suggest better storytelling, generally considered the greatest weakness of the two previous entries.
It probably won’t be improved on in the next game, but wouldn’t it be cool if a mini-series on Netflix detailed Lara’s adventures between the ending of “Rise of the Tomb Raider” and the start of its sequel? Such an enterprise could provide an opportunity for fans to finally care about Jonah’s and Lara’s friendship, and maybe even provide closure on what happened with Sam and Reyes from the first game.
The “Assassin’s Creed” franchise could also benefit from an interactive television series just for the sake of universe building. Even though the movie flopped, plenty of stories and locales worth exploring in that universe still exist, and an interactive show could be the perfect way to expand the lore of the series without investing a ton of money in game or movie production.
The games show just how expansive the Brotherhood and the Order are, and while it’s unlikely all of them deserve a game or movie, I’m sure each one has a story worthy of at least an hour of our time. Viewers/players could be able to choose which leads of a mission they want to follow and which ally to call on for help, or maybe to explore the life of an Abstergo employee, similar to the premise of “Black Flag.”
There’s a chance not much will come out of this future endeavor — like most gaming gimmicks that end in disappointment — but if you want something more from your gaming experiences, you should show your support when “Minecraft: Story Mode” makes its way to Netflix’s library.