By Lance Hart, Screamscape
If you are looking for untapped IPs that could inspire the next generation, Amazing theme park I will often think of video games as an alternative to visiting other places and attractions.
In the past, I believe that theme parks looked first to Hollywood for inspiration. However, over the decades, the film industry’s own sources of inspiration have greatly changed. The most common source for inspiration for a new film was previously popular novels and books. Printing pages have inspired many movies, from romance and action to thrillers and romance to horror and comedies.
In some cases, certain authors’ works have made the jump from novel to the silver screen so often that their names have become forever interwoven within both industries. You could look at the shelf that features published works by someone like Steven King Oder Michael Crichton You might have trouble deciding which movie was the one you were watching next to a stack of films inspired by these same authors.
Hollywood has turned to comic books in recent years for inspiration. These blockbusters are a result of DC and Marvel Comics These are just a few of the many examples that come to my mind. Many other comic book publishers have also made adaptations that bring many characters to life for small and large screens.
You may be pleased with the final results or not. But chances are you have seen or at least heard of Men In Black, The Walking Dead, The Crow, Wanted, Kick Ass, Hellboy, 30 Days of Night, R.I.P.D., The Rocketeer, Locke & Key, Kingsman, or the Umbrella Academy. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a global franchise.
Videogame IP offers new ideas
Another place we’ve been seeing Hollywood start to tap into is the world of video games. Many of these IPs could be suitable for content for theme parks, if they are good enough.
However, there is still a bridge to be crossed. Most of the videogame-inspired attractions at the theme parks have been in place so far. Film and television industry. This means that most often, the Hollywood versions of the counterparts to the theme park are used and not the original source material.
Take for example the Tomb Raider attractions that were once open at Paramount’s Kings Island and Kings Dominion theme parks. There wasn’t much theming with the Kings Dominion version. However, the original Tomb Raider ride that opened on Kings Island was a unique one and tried to tie into the movie universe. The ride was a Giant Top Spin-style, enclosed in a building with special effects.
Super Mario Bros. and many more
Universal Studios on the other side decided to go the other direction. To bring its video games IP to life, it signed a major deal with Nintendo. It began with a whole land based around the Mario Bros. universe.
The first Super Nintendo World Universal Studios Japan, Tokyo opened in 2021. This features two attractions (Mario Kart & Yoshi’s Adventure). Construction is now underway on an expansion to add a Donkey Kong-themed area as well as a roller coaster.
A similar version of this land is already under construction at Universal’s new Epic Universe theme park. It will be open in 2025. A smaller version of this land, featuring only the Mario Kart ride, will be available at Universal Studios Hollywood in February 2023. A copy of this smaller version will also open at Universal’s Singapore theme park in the future.
Although the Nintendo attractions opened first, it’s interesting to note that Universal also signed a deal to make an animated feature film with Nintendo based on Super Mario Bros. characters using its Illumination animation studio. This movie will be released in 2023.
Existing video game IP attractions
PortAventura announced recently that it will be opening an in-house restaurant. Uncharted-themed dark coaster attraction In 2023. Uncharted, however, was released in cinemas in 2022, just like Tomb Raider’s progression. All marketing materials for the new ride have been based on footage taken from the film.
Given how long it actually takes to make a theme park attraction, there is a good chance that sections of the ride’s design were taking place at the same time the movie was being made.
Are there any other IPs that have been used in theme parks? In 2016, Cedar Fair’s Carowinds theme park opened a unique shoot ’em up experience themed to EA’s Plants vs Zombies game series.
The attraction’s full name was “Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 3Z Arena”. The attraction was a 3D projection screen theater where guests were taken to their seats. They then sat in interesting little seats that had limited motion and were themed to the Plants or Zombies teams.
The theater screen was divided into two halves. Each team would take half of the theater, and could only see the part where they could shoot at enemy characters. The match was won by the team with the highest score. The attraction was closed at the end of the match, although it was quite entertaining. The structuring is being repurposed for something new for the park’s 2023 season.
Mass Effect, Resident Evil, and many other things
Also in 2016, Cedar Fair turned another popular EA video game IP into an attraction, exclusively at California’s Great America. This attraction is based upon the Mass Effect video game series. The attraction, Mass Effect New Earth has been in operation until at least 2022.
Mass Effect New Earth was inspired by the Carowinds attraction and repurposed a similar former theater space. The result is a theater-style attraction that seats guests facing a large 3D projection screen. Mass Effect theater has a live actor, which is a departure from Plants vs Zombies. This experience takes you into space and offers some unexpected adventures along the way.
In North America and Europe, I can’t think of any other video Game-based attractions. There have been some other releases in Japan, but they are more temporary than permanent.
Some were seen in the annual Universal Cool Japan festival. Since 2014, the program has turned various Japanese anime series and video games into temporary attractions for parks. This program has allowed us to create attractions that are themed to popular Japanese series such as Biohazard (aka Resident Evil), Final Fantasy or Monster Hunter.
Similar to the previous point, a few of these were also used as a limited edition. Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood and Orlando mazes. Silent Hill and Resident Evil were back in 2012 and 2013.
What video game IPs might work in your favorite park? This all depends on whether or not you agree with the idea that they need to prove themselves in Hollywood before you can make an attraction.
A number of recent creations have shown their value on the screen in recent years. Many more are expected to be released in 2023.
The popularity of The Witcher series has been perhaps the most popular in recent years. The release of the Netflix series featuring The Witcher as the main character has helped to grow this fanbase. Henry Cavill.
If the park is right, a multi-media attraction with monster hunting themes that features the world of The Witcher would be a huge success. It would be ideal to have it installed at one of Universal’s theme parks. Universal may just be having the right idea, but Universal is currently building its own ride featuring the Universal Monsters.
Microsoft’s juggernaut Halo game series would also seem ripe for a Attractions in theme parks. This could be a great option for parks looking to add some sci-fi adventure into their lineup. The release of a series on the Paramount+ streaming service could aid Halo’s chances. However, it could also have hurt the series as the public’s reaction to the Halo series was divided. The story told with the Master Chief character was essentially a reboot or alternate universe story concept that had nothing to do with the game’s established canon.
Engaging stories in video game IP
Cyberpunk, the video game developed by the Witcher series of games, features the ever-popular Keanu Reeves.
Cyberpunk is still a relatively new concept in Hollywood. The animated series Cyberpunk was the first to be made. Netflix. The brightly colored Cyberpunk universe may be able to tell many different stories and offer a variety of attractions. The theme park environment may not be suitable for families due to the violent battles.
Soon, a series that is based on The Last of Us will be available. Both games had a deep storyline that quickly made players feel invested. The series could be a great attraction idea if it is done well.
Create new worlds
In the past few days, two other huge video game series were also tapped. Netflix has agreed to produce a live-action movie as well as an animated series that will be based on Gears of War, the Xbox game series. Amazon was also in the news when Henry Cavill announced his partnership with Amazon. Cavill will play the role of executive producer and star in a project that brings Warhammer 40,000 to life.
While there has been a Warhammer video game or two over the years, the game’s true origin was the Warhammer table-top miniatures game. This led to the Warhammer 40,000 table-top version.
Gears of War is often cited as having the best soundtrack. Potential It could be a fantastic attraction for theme parks. The game’s moody world allowed for many stunning visuals. Characters traveled through cities that had been destroyed in battle, with crumbling statues and underground environments filled with giant monsters and enemies.
Gears of War’s main heroes are large-than-life characters who wear distinctive armor and are armed with unique weapons. The iconic Lancer Assault Rifle is one example. It combines the appearance of a futuristic military rifle with a chainsaw at its business end.
More video game IP coming soon
Some game IPs are still out there, but they were either run through the Hollywood meatgrinder a bit too quickly or made a film featuring the characters in a way not consistent with the series.
The Sonic the Hedgehog films might be included in the second category. These were more of an “outsider” story. The video game was taken from his universe and placed in ours.
Some games series were not successful at the box office. For example, Assassin’s Creed, Silent Hill, Prince of Persia Or World of Warcraft. Another example is the Resident Evil movie franchise, which tried to tell unique stories outside of the game world. In the case of Resident Evil, I’d say that they just made too many movies, causing audience exhaustion with the IP itself.
Yet, there are many video game IPs that have yet to be discovered. Many of these IPs could be used to create amazing theme park attractions. For instance, games like Red Dead Redemption, God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn/Forbidden West, Half Life, Bioshock, Skyrim, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Dead Space and even the Fallout series.
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