The licensed video game genre is far removed from the low effort cash crab it used to be. With very few exceptions (GoldenEye 007, Spider-Man 2), games based on movies have always been at the bottom of the video game bargain barrel. When licensed video games all but vanished in the early 2010s — sometime around the release of Thor: God of Thunder in 2011 — the game industry took a step back, self-reflected, and… banished the cheap movie game tie-ins to mobile where they belong.
More recently, movie games have been making a major comeback. Rather than rushing out a game to meet the release date of a summer blockbuster, movie games have been coming to us from talented developers that are passionate about the franchise, and most importantly, given the time they need to make a good game. We’ve received some fantastic gems over the last few years like Alien Isolation, Terminator: Resistance, Blair Witch, and Jurassic World Evolution.
In the last week, two major movie games have been announced in development at big-time game studios: IO Interactive’s Project 007, and MachineGames’ Indiana Jones. These are massive studios with recent major hit games, which got me thinking, what are the best studios to tackle some of the most beloved film franchises? I have a lot of ideas, but here’s my greatest wish: What if Rockstar made a RoboCop game?
We’ve seen Rockstar turn open-world sandboxes into fully realized, living breathing cities. What Rockstar has done with modern cities in GTA and the wild west in Red Dead Redemption could certainly be done with a dystopian hellscape like RoboCop’s Detroit. Rockstar’s environmental artists are incredible at creating photo-accurate streets and buildings that look and feel like the real deal, I can only imagine that Rockstar would commit to accurately recreating Detroit’s dark future from the films.
It goes so far beyond the look and feel, though. After all, Rockstar can make any game world beautiful, no matter what IP it is using. The thing that makes Rockstar such a great fit for RoboCop is their shared attitudes and themes. Both GTA and RoboCop are nihilistic, but not heartless. Both franchises are hyper-focused on themes of class division and the ultimate failure of society at the hands of the selfish elite. In many ways, RoboCop’s Detroit is really just the logical extreme of Los Santos. When society becomes as self-involved, materialistic, and corrupt as it is in GTA 5, maybe gang-controlled enclaves and cyborg murder machines created by megacorporations to police the city with extrajudicial violence is the reasonable next phase of society.
In terms of gameplay, I think it’s easy to see how well RoboCop could fit into a Rockstar game. For one thing, his movements are very stiff and tanky like Arthur Morgan in RDR2. As RoboCop, you could explore the city freely, either on foot or in any commandeered vehicle (he is a cop after all). The game could begin with an assignment from the OCP to take down a drug dealer that has amassed too much power, but as the story progresses, RoboCop would meet other characters throughout Detroit that need his help dealing with crimes and violence.
A Rockstar RoboCop game could explore the city and the people of Detroit in a way that the films have never been able to. The game could provide RoboCop with an upgrade path to improve his weapons and abilities throughout the game, and maybe even provide some much-needed closure for his life and relationships before he became RoboCop. I honestly can’t think of a better studio to handle the RoboCop franchise than Rockstar.
Next: They’re Making RoboCop Reboot Action Figures, For Some Reason
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Eric Switzer is the Livestream News Editor for TheGamer as well as the lead for VR and Tech. He has written about comics and film for Bloody Disgusting and VFXwire. He is a graduate of University of Missouri – Columbia and Vancouver Film School. Eric loves board games, fan conventions, new technology, and his sweet sweet kitties Bruce and Babs. Favorite games include Destiny 2, Kingdom Hearts, Super Metroid, and Prey…but mostly Prey. His favorite Pokémon is Umbreon.
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