While other forms of media are not strangers to tie-ins and merchandise outside of their primary format, video games have only really embraced this in the past five years or so.
One needs only look at recent video game news headlines to see the trend in full force.
Whether it is Sony’s decision to form a studio dedicated to PlayStation properties or the box office success of Detective Pikachu, video game universes are finally being recognized for their potential as multimedia franchises.
In this article, we’re going to talk about 10 of the top multimedia video game universes out there right now. To qualify, the IP has to make significant money and/or have a significant presence outside of their primary video game series.
That could mean movies, books, apparel, and much, much more.
Here are our top ten video game multimedia universes:
Of course, leaving Pokemon off of this list would be a really bad move. It is perhaps the definition of a video game multimedia universe. Movies, television shows, books, cards, toys, smartphone apps – you name it, Pokemon has a stake there.
It is really not that surprising either when you consider the iconic characters and disarming charm of the series as a whole. Marketed towards children that have since become adults, Pokemon has become an inter-generational phenomenon unlike anything else out there.
And it shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. If the success of Detective Pikachu is any barometer of success, we expect you’ll be enjoying a ton of Pokemon stuff for years to come.
9. Resident Evil
Another franchise that embraced the multimedia universe approach early on, Resident Evil carries the good times of its games into its movies and tie-in media.
If you’ve never watched a RE movie, you’re not really missing anything though no one will tell you that those movies aren’t fun. Sure, they’re not the best video game adaptations put to film, but the keep the spirit alive in a unique way.
Beyond that, the CG movies do a great job of making a game-like film or short show.
Outside of the movies and television shorts, Resident Evil has the requisite toys, apparel, and other stuff you would expect from a massive video game franchise.
DOOM had books before it was cool. DOOM also had a movie that wasn’t that good but it made an effort. Regardless, none of this has stopped the franchise from becoming a multimedia behemoth.
Though not as hardcore in terms of tie-ins as some of the others on this list, DOOM is also not he most multimedia empire friendly property out there.
How do you market demons from hell fighting against a lone marine who employs the most brutal methods available to dispatch his foes? Just ask the folks behind DOOM because they’ve managed to turn a savagely dark premise into a multimedia machine.
7. The Legend of Zelda
Though this might not be the first franchise that comes to mind when you think of vast multimedia universes, the Legend of Zelda is, nonetheless, one of the most well developmed multimedia franchises in gaming.
There was a short run cartoon back in the day and there’s a series of great Manga comics that tells the tale of A Link to the Past and Majora’s Mask, among others.
Peruse any GameStop or gaming specialty store and you will find everything from apparel to figurines, keychains, and other accessories. We expect that the Legend of Zelda will become even bigger in terms of multimedia properties as we go along as Nintendo has stated their desire to do more with the series.
Diablo has just started getting into the multimedia gaming franchise frenzy but so far, so good. There are some books and an app coming out as well as rumors of another game down the road.
What makes Diablo compelling is that the tie-in media adheres more to the dark, gritty Diablo that fans love instead of the brighter, more airy version in the form of Diablo 3.
We expect that this franchise has more growth potential than most on this list and we wouldn’t be shocked to see a film or television series being optioned at some point in the future.
Blizzard has mastered the art of iteration, and no franchise illustrates this better than Warcraft. Whether it is the film, the books, the games, or the loads of tie-in products out there, few games match Warcraft for sheer volume of material.
The books are massive, the movie was a massive hit in China, and World of Warcraft remains one of the most popular games online.
Though the movie disappointed some western audiences, we wouldn’t be shocked to see a sequel in the near future. Beyond that, the books are some of the best game lore titles around and endless updates to the online game only provide that much more material for spinoffs and tie-in opportunities.
4. The Elder Scrolls
The Elder Scrolls make this list for a litany of reasons but chief among them is its extremely deep lore and dedicated fanbase. A series of books, a recently released app, and tons of accessories and tschotske make TES one of the bigger gaming franchises out there and this trend is likely to continue in the future (especially once The Elder Scrolls 6 comes out).
But the real draw for TES is the online game, a game that many people never thought would succeed. Not only does it tie together the lore of the other games but it actively promotes further exploration on the gamer’s part.
Microsoft’s flagship franchise is also one of the biggest cash cows when it comes to tie-in materials. Books, games, board games, figurines, apparel, bespoke video game equipment – you name it, Halo has made it.
Easily the biggest franchise on Xbox consoles for years, Halo has taken more of a backseat during the Xbox One era but that doesn’t mean it has slowed down in terms of tie-in media and materials.
There’s rumors of a movie – but those have circulated for some time – but, in the meantime, there’s a range of books and shows to help satisfy your needs for Halo lore.
2. Street Fighter
Street Fighter II was a sensation in the arcades and beyond. It spawned a questionable Hollywood movie, a range of GI Joe-esque action figures, a short-lived comic book series, an anime film, and an anime television series, among others.
There’s just something about the SF universe that brings players back for more and Capcom have never shied away from this. And it has never really slowed down.
Though we doubt you’ll see a sequel to that live-action Hollywood flick, we can assure you that other media tie-ins will not cease so long as Street Fighter remains relevant to fighting game fans around the world.
1. Final Fantasy series
Calling this series massive is like saying that the sun is quite hot. It is both true and a meaningless observation: Everyone involved in gaming can tell you that Final Fantasy, more than perhaps any other franchise, hocks merchandise like there is no tomorrow.
Sometimes it is in the service of promoting a new title, like the various multimedia efforts that surrounded FFXV upon its release, but usually it is just an extension of the masterful experience you’ve already had. Books, art books, orchestral scores, sheet music, figurines, and card games are just a few of the properties that come to mind when thinking about Final Fantasy.
As Square’s premier property alongside Dragon Quest, we think that the current lineup of tie-in materials will only grow to exponential proportions in the future.
This film has received a lot of criticism compared to the others, even Episode 2 and 3. I think the biggest problem that these critics have is that most of them were there for the original films and expected the same thing here. They weren’t expecting it to target the next generation of fans, which is exactly what it did. I was eleven when this film first hit theaters and I loved it at the time, I was the exact target audience. I admit, now, that there are a lot of things that could have gone better with this film, but there is also a lot of good. I would not rank it as my least favorite Star Wars film. In this review I’m going to point out a comprehensive analysis of what could have been done better, as well as the good points that keep it a worthy portion of the Star Wars saga. Read more →
In November 2017, it was first announced by the news network CNBC that The Walt Disney Company was considering an acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Later that year, a deal was made by the two companies, stating that Fox would sell a portion of it’s assets to the company for $52.4 billion. A bidding war soon ensued with entertainment rival Comcast, but Disney followed through on it’s acquisition quest, officially buying 21st Century Fox on March 20, 2019 for $71.3 billion. Read more →
It’s been a while since we introduced a new timeline to The Timeline Show, but now that we’ve finished the Lord of the Rings timeline, it’s time to move on to other things.
Introducing the Star Wars Canon timeline!
For this timeline, we will be binging our way through the entire Star Wars Canon timeline from start to finish. Subscribe to The Timeline Show wherever you get your podcasts and pick up the All Timelines app to follow along.
Wonder Woman is and shall be one of the most iconic female superheroes in DC and likely in all of comics. She’s everything you hope for a hero to be: brave, devoted, compassionate, and incredibly fierce. And depending on her iteration, she can range from being a very proud and noble warrior to a compassionate ambassador with nerves of steel.
I was really glad that her latest movie turned out so well, and it gave us a modern look at what our Amazon Princess could be, and what she could mean for the DC live-action universe. She’s shown to be a level-headed warrior who’s not above kindness. But don’t cross her, or you will regret it.
Since her inception in 1941, Wonder Woman has had many comics and stories written. Some are great, some are not, and some are unusual, yet interesting. So here are 10 of the best Wonder Woman graphic novels. These novels give us a good look at not just Wonder Woman, but her relationships with others, her love of humanity, and her pride as a warrior.
Note: These comics aren’t ranked in any particular order, and they are based a bit on my own personal opinion.
Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth by Paul Dini
It’s always fascinating when the stories of Wonder Woman focus on her as a human rather than just a superhero. It shows her more vulnerable sides and the different battles she’s had to fight.
And Spirit of Truth does just that, giving us several stories that focus on the real-world threats Wonder Woman has had to face. It’s a look at her humanity and her place in the world. This collection of stories is a short, but beautiful read.
Wonder Woman: Paradise Lost by Phil Jimenez
This graphic novel is actually a collection of a few stories that show Wonder Woman facing threats like gods, civil war, and an interesting day out with Lois Lane.
These stories give us an awesome crossover with Batman, which is always fun, and an interesting look at Paradise Island where we see Wonder Woman taking on the role of the mediator rather than just the warrior. And her interactions with Lois Lane are so fascinating! If you’re looking for some fun and interesting stories, check out this graphic novel.
Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia by Greg Rucka
This is a very interesting story of Wonder Woman as she protects a girl who’s been accused of a crime. Her reason for protecting her? The girl invokes the Hiketeia, or a type of oath that means Wonder Woman is sworn to protect her.
This is a very interesting story that does go a bit into the mythology behind Wonder Woman. Plus, you get to see Wonder Woman thoroughly kick Batman’s butt, which is pretty crazy to see. You don’t want to mess with this lady!
JLA: League of One by Christopher Moeller
I’m cheating a bit with this one since it is a Justice League graphic novel, but it focuses on Wonder Woman and the world she comes from. This story focuses on the league taking on monsters from Wonder Woman’s world. It’s just dripping in mythology and fantasy, and Wonder Woman is so amazing in this story. I highly recommend it.
Wonder Woman Vol 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang
This is the new Wonder Woman after the new 52 Reboot, and it definitely plays around a bit with Wonder Woman’s mythology and the story behind her world. This Wonder Woman’s world is much darker, and there are quite a few new twists to Greek mythology.
At this point, Wonder Woman is taking on the role of the God of War herself, which is a very interesting take on her role. If you’re looking for the most modern iteration of Wonder Woman, this is a good place to start.
Wonder Woman: The Circle by Gail Simone
It’s nice to see that a female is writing Wonder Woman, and The Circle is a great series. It has Wonder Woman in a strange role as a federal agent that’s overseeing metahuman affairs. It’s great to see Wonder Woman in a few different roles than we usually see her.
It’s also nice to see a new take on Diana’s origin, and how she interacts with the Amazons and her mother. The Circle is the first of many of Simone’s Wonder Woman works, and it’s definitely worth a look.
Wonder Woman: The True Amazon by Jill Thompson
Ever think about what Wonder Woman was like as a kid? Well, this graphic novel addresses that, and it’s pretty cool. We see our Amazon princess grow from a bit of a brat into the compassionate and brave young woman we know and love. It shows some amazing character development and gives us a look at Diana’s life before she became Wonder Woman.
Who is Wonder Woman? by Allan Heinburg
What if Wonder Woman was a secret agent? That’s what this graphic novel explores and it also looks at the more human aspect of Wonder Woman. This is a great book to read if you want to learn more about the character of Wonder Woman and who she really is, not just as a warrior and a goddess, but as a human. It’s very well-written and is guaranteed to make you think more about our lovely Amazon warrior.
The Legend of Wonder Woman by Renae De Liz
If you’re new to the world of the Amazon princess, or you’re just a casual reader of Wonder woman, this is a great origin read. It’s mostly a series of stories that involve Wonder Woman, following her from her formative years to who she is now.
The stories don’t follow any particular continuity, they’re just there to talk about Diana and who she is and how she came to be the great hero. If that doesn’t convince you, the series was also nominated for an Eisner Award.
Wonder Woman: The Golden Age Omnibus by Dr. William Moulton Marston
If you’re looking for some classic Wonder Woman, this is the comic to read. It’s a collection of the Wonder Woman comics of the Golden Age. They may be a bit cheesy and a little sexist, but it’s a good look at what Wonder Woman was like when she was first imagined.
I think Wonder Woman doesn’t get enough credit. She really is an incredible hero with an indomitable spirit. She’s a superhero who deserves all the love. So, whether you want to see her in her Amazon glory, or if you want to take a look at her more human side, pick up one of these Wonder Woman graphic novels!
For more on Diana Prince, visit our Wonder Woman reading order!