In the two years since Netflix launched its first games, the company has assembled a collection of 80-plus titles — but only a handful of those have been based on the streamer’s TV shows or movies, like a “Stranger Things” puzzle game and a “Queen’s Gambit” chess app.
Now Netflix is bringing out four new exclusive games, each based on popular originals on the service, betting that the titles will play big among fans of those entertainment franchises. The lineup includes “Chicken Run: Eggstraction,” from U.K. animation studio Aardman (Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep), set after the events that take place in made-for-Netflix movie “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget”; an interactive-fiction game tied to hit series “Money Heist” (“La Casa de Papel”); narrative role-playing game “Shadow and Bone: Enter the Fold,” based on the fantasy series; and “The Dragon Prince: Xadia,” an RPG based on the animated show.
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The “Shadow and Bone” game is available now, with the others coming within the next several months. The streaming giant announced the four games Thursday as part of its 2023 Geeked Week fan event.
Netflix’s strategy with its games portfolio is still to provide a broad smorgasbord of genres and gameplay formats, on the theory that they provide a value-add to the core video subscription, said Leanne Loombe, VP, head of external games at Netflix. But it’s now leaning more heavily toward games based on Netflix shows and movies, as well as recognizable gaming franchises, she said. That’s after the company saw games for Netflix originals, specifically reality TV hits “Too Hot to Handle” and “Love Is Blind,” perform above expectations. Loombe noted that the “Chicken Run” and “Dragon Prince” games are come from the same studios that created the Netflix originals.
“It’s no surprise that Netflix IP games resonate really strongly with members,” Loombe said. “Our members come to Netflix to watch these shows and movies, and with these games we’re able to expand those worlds and give them a new way to explore those characters.”
Netflix didn’t have any updates on one of its most anticipated games: a multiplayer action title set in Zach Snyder’s “Rebel Moon” cinematic universe, which is being developed by studio Super Evil Megacorp. The first “Rebel Moon” movie hits Netflix on Dec. 22, with a second slated for April 2024. “Super Evil Megacorp are heads-down making some amazing experiences right now,” said Loombe.
Overall, the scale of Netflix’s games and its investment in the sector “is still relatively small,” Loombe said, comparing it to the early days of the company’s original TV and film production.
Netflix tries to synchronize the release of a game with a related show or movie but “it’s not always possible to do day and date,” Loombe said.
In the case of “Chicken Run: Eggstraction” — Aardman’s first game produced fully in-house — the title is slated to come out in the second quarter of 2024, several months after “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget” premieres Dec. 15 on Netflix. The timing of the “Eggstraction” release was “purely logistics,” said Dan Efergan, executive creative director for interactive at Aardman: “Our desire to launch a quality game meant we had to sync it up like this.”
The game has a brand-new storyline, said George Rowe, a game producer at Aardman: “We didn’t want to rehash the story in the film.” He’s keeping mum on specifics of the storyline but said players will go on “missions on weird and wonderful farms, freeing chickens” as they build improvised gadgets to carry out their raids.
With “Dawn of the Nugget” going to Netflix, “we saw it was an amazing opportunity with Netflix doing games as well to broaden the universe out,” Rowe said. “We’re around the people making the film, it’s in our brains all the time.” The game will come out on iOS and Android, initially in single-player mode with a multiplayer version down the line.
Aardman’s Efergan declined to get into the particulars of the Netflix pact for “Chicken Run: Eggstraction,” commenting, “It’s a simple deal: We’re gonna make a great game and get paid for it.”
Here are descriptions and trailers for the four new games Netflix announced:
Shadow and Bone: Enter the Fold
Shape the fate of the Grishaverse, travel war-torn Ravka and decide which powers prevail. You determine the choices of Shadow and Bone’s iconic heroes in this interactive role-playing game. Explore the world as Alina, Jesper, Sturmhond and General Kirigan as you discover previously untold stories set between Seasons 1 and 2 of the Netflix series. Encounter familiar faces, new villains, hard choices and dramatic twists in this narrative RPG that puts the player in charge as the story unfolds.
Chicken Run: Eggstraction
From Aardman, the makers of the “Chicken Run” films, comes a real-time, top-down heist game that combines squad-based infiltration with high-octane, chaotic escapes. The game picks up where the upcoming film “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget” ends. Visit a variety of characterful locations to rescue chickens and bring them back to Chicken Island.
Releasing alongside “Berlin,” the upcoming spinoff series of “Money Heist” that premieres Dec. 29, the game allows you to dive into an interactive world and join the crew in the heist that started it all — La Perla de Barcelona. Your choices determine the outcome: will you let an unexpected visitor from your past jeopardize the Professor’s perfect plan?
The Dragon Prince: Xadia
The hero-based cooperative action RPG comes from Wonderstorm, makers of “The Dragon Prince” animated series on Netflix. In the game, explore the world of Xadia with heroes from the series, which is entering its sixth season next year. Step into the boots of Xadia’s greatest champions, team up in co-op missions to fight iconic Dragon Prince villains, and discover new stories with all the heart, humor, and high stakes the series is known for. In addition to coming to Netflix on mobile, the game is scheduled to be released separately for PC.
Pictured above: Image for Aardman’s “Chicken Run: Eggstraction” game coming to Netflix
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