Ever wondered what Back to the Future 4 would look like? A Ghostbusters 3 with the original cast? Or how about one last Bond outing for Pierce Brosnan to make you forget about Die Another Day? Hollywood might not have delivered these sequels, but video games did. Thanks to licensing deals many big screen favourites have found their way onto consoles; often with entirely new storylines and original cast members to add some A-list authenticity. Don’t believe us? Here are 11 video games that served, unofficially, as follow-ups to classic movies.
Back to the Future: The Game (2010)
What is it? Developed and published by Telltale before their Walking Dead days, has some serious star power thanks to voice contributions from Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. Not only that, but Back to the Future producer Bob Gale is a story consultant, reworking ideas he and director Robert Zemeckis couldn’t fit into the trilogy. “We’re never going to do a Back to the Future Part IV, but [the game] is pretty close to what a Part IV could be,” while promoting the game’s recent re-release.
What it tells us about the movie: Think Back to the Future 3 gives Doc Brown a happy ending? Think again! Set six months after the trilogy’s final outing, the game’s story is set in motion when a DeLorean materialises on Marty McFly’s driveway containing a recorded message from Doc. Turns out Marty’s old friend has been killed by Biff Tannen’s gangster father in 1931, sending Hill Valley’s finest skateboarder off on a time-hopping rescue mission to the Prohibition era.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game (2009)
What is it? A third-person shooter that equips the player with a Proton Pack and throws them out onto the streets of New York to vanquish the paranormal - including another Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. On the face of it that sounds pretty cool, but when you’ve got Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson in the voice cast it’s all the more exciting. As well as the original Ghostbusters, there’s also Walter Peck (William Atherton) and Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts) on hand to make it feel like a legit sequel.
What it tells us about the movie: Set in 1991, two years after Ghostbusters 2, the game neatly ties together the movies by revealing that Ivo Shandor, the architect who designed the New York building used to summon Gozer in the first film, was also the brains behind the slime infested tunnels in the second. Cue Shandor’s return as a Gozer-like Great Destructor and a scheme to merge the ghost world with reality.
Blade Runner (1997)
What is it? A Westwood Studios point-and-click adventure, this ‘90s video game incarnation sets itself within the timeframe of Ridley Scott’s classic. The player takes on the role of Ray McCoy, a rookie LAPD Blade Runner tasked with tracking down replicants - ‘retire’ a human by mistake, though, and it’s game over. Harrison Ford allegedly turned down the chance to cameo as Rick Deckard, but you’ll encounter original stars Sean Young, Brion James, James Hong, Joe Turkel, and William Sanderson along the way.
What it tells us about the movie: Westwood went to great lengths not to contradict the movie, and as a result the game revisits familiar locations like the Bradbury Building and Tyrell Corp’s pyramid-shaped HQ. It may not shed too much new light on the film, but it leaves the player guessing as to whether McCoy is a replicant or not. That lends credence to the that all Blade Runners are replicants. Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, is there something you want to tell us?
James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (2003)
What is it? Most James Bond video games struggle to match the brilliance of GoldenEye, but one stands out thanks to production values worthy of a 007 blockbuster. Released after Die Another Day, third-person shooter Everything or Nothing boasts Pierce Brosnan as Bond, Judi Dench as M, John Cleese as Q, and Heidi Klum and Shannon Elizabeth as Bond Girls. Plus, there’s Willem Dafoe chewing scenery as the villain, Richard Kiel’s Jaws cameo, and Mýa belting out a theme song that’s sadly more Madonna than Shirley Bassey.
What it tells us about the movie: Technically the last time Brosnan played Bond in an official capacity, Everything or Nothing largely follows the Bond formula by acting as a standalone adventure. However, in a surprise twist it becomes a semi-sequel to A View to a Kill when Dafoe’s Russian baddie Nikolai Diavolo is revealed as a former protégé of Christopher Walken’s Max Zorin.
Alien: Isolation (2014)
What is it? A tense horror survival that takes inspiration from Ridley Scott’s original movie, the player prowls through malfunctioning space station the Sevastopol in search of the Nostromo’s flight recorder. Downloadable content packs expand the mission, and also return you to the events of Alien, with Sigourney Weaver back playing Ripley alongside original cast members Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, and Yaphet Kotto. What’s most interesting, though, is the game’s protagonist: Amanda Ripley.
What it tells us about the movie: Yes, Amanda Ripley is the daughter of Weaver’s Ellen. Isolation uses a scene from the extended version of James Cameron’s Aliens, in which Ripley learns of her daughter’s death, as its jumping off point. Dispatched to Sevastopol by Weyland-Yutani to find closure over her mother’s disappearance, Amanda naturally comes face-to-face with a slobbering Xenomorph and carnage ensues.
The Thing (2002)
What is it? A sequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing never materialised, but there was this 2002 video game follow-up that centres on a US Special Forces captain sent to investigate what happened at Outpost 31. A third-person shooter that features plenty of big monster set pieces, it even had an official endorsement from Carpenter himself (plus a voice cameo!). And if you want the movie’s ambiguous ending resolved then this is the game for you...
What it tells us about the movie: The film’s finale saw Kurt Russell’s RJ MacReady and Keith David’s Childs stranded in the snow about to freeze to death, with the suggestion that one of them was The Thing. In the game, it turns out Childs died from hypothermia and MacReady arrives at the end to help the player beat the final boss. Does this mean that MacReady is the one hosting the monster after all?
Scarface: The World is Yours (2006)
What is it? With Grand Theft Auto ripping its rise-to-power crime storyline straight from Scarface, it was only natural that a Tony Montana video game materialised. Al Pacino didn’t fancy returning to voice the Cuban crime lord, but he did give his blessing to replacement André Sogliuzzo. However, Steven Bauer, Robert Loggia, and Al Israel all came back for a game that takes major liberties with Brian De Palma’s “say hello to my little friend” ending.
What it tells us about the movie: Tony Montana was shot to pieces at the end of Scarface, right? Not so fast! The World is Yours reimagines that climax with Tony somehow getting out of the gun battle alive and waging war against rival drug dealers to reclaim his empire. Reality-bending for sure... unless the whole game is Tony’s blood-soaked, dying fever dream?
From Dusk Till Dawn (2001)
What is it? An all-guns-blazing vampire horror, this arrived after the From Dusk Till Dawn straight-to-DVD sequels and before the three-season TV show created by Robert Rodriguez. Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, and George Clooney had no involvement in this Windows shoot ‘em up, leaving developers GameSquad to hatch their own storyline - one that includes Clooney’s bank robber Seth Gekko (albeit voiced by a reasonable soundalike).
What it tells us about the movie: According to the game, right after the events of From Dusk Till Dawn Seth is sentenced to death for the murders his psycho brother Richie committed and thrown into a maximum security prison. When new inmates turn out to be vampires after revenge, Seth has to break out to save his own skin.
What is it? A John Woo and Chow-Yun fat reunion, this is a direct sequel to their classic ‘90s action epic Hard Boiled. In it, the player takes control of Chow’s clarinet-loving detective 'Tequila' Yuen to blast through mobsters in Hong Kong and Chicago. Developer Midway Games create slow-motion gunfights in ‘Tequila Time’ to channel Woo’s trademark slow-motion style. Very Max Payne. Interestingly, a sequel to Stranglehold, called Gun Runner, was in development only to be cancelled after Midway went bankrupt.
What it tells us about the movie: Stranglehold is largely a standalone story, but it expands on Hard Boiled by revealing that Tequila has a daughter. It nearly became a movie itself, with Woo announced as a producer for a big screen version back in 2009. In the end it never happened, and would’ve switched up the story anyway, turning back the clock to serve as a prequel to Hard Boiled.
Jaws Unleashed (2006)
What is it? Films like Deep Blue Sea and have tried to mimic it, but there’ll only ever be one Jaws. Okay, four of them... and this video game that casts you in the role of the killer shark. Set 30 years after the events of Jaws, the storyline finds Amity Island’s economy booming, only for disaster to strike when yet another Great White gets hungry. There’s some crazy set pieces, too - like Jaws escaping a waterpark resort and somehow managing to destroy an oil refinery.
What it tells us about the movie: The son of Roy Scheider’s Chief Brody, Michael, is now a marine biologist and teams up with shark hunter Cruz Raddock (the game’s Quint stand-in) to stop the beast. One thing is clear: sharks really hate the Brodys. Jaws Unleashed’s showdown arrives after the grisly death-by-Great White of Chief Brody’s other son, Sean, in Jaws: The Revenge.
Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013)
What is it? This first-person shooter is set after the events of James Cameron’s Aliens, casting the player as a Colonial Marine on a search and rescue mission to the USS Sulaco. Critics gave the game a pummelling, but according to developer Gearbox it was at one point considered part of official canon by 20th Century Fox. That is until the negative reception prompted its status to be revoked - a bit like how the Alien vs Predator films have been discreetly swept under the carpet.
What it tells us about the movie: Corporal Hicks lives! One of the many issues fans have with Alien 3 is its swift dismissal of Michael Biehn’s character. Colonial Marines brings him back (voiced by Biehn) in a prominent role, held prisoner by Weyland-Yutani after they boarded the Sulaco before a fire sent Ripley, Newt, Bishop, and a man thought to be him to safety in an escape craft.