Last year’s release of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, was probably one of the biggest surprise movie hits of 2017.
Nobody expected the movie, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black, to be able to top the Robin Williams original version. Yet that’s exactly what happened – the film went on to garner rave reviews from critics, also grossing almost a billion dollars worldwide at the box office to become the 42nd-highest grossing film of all time.
With the remake of the film swapping out the board game format of the original and replacing it with a format in which the four unlucky main characters are trapped inside a Jumanji video game, it’s time to start asking whether a real-life Jumanji video game is on the cards. There are a lot of game features in the movie that is reminiscent of the style of other hit video games released over the past few years. With that in mind, is it time to release a Jumanji video game for the PS4? Let’s find out.
What Came Before
A new Jumanji video game to accompany the 2017 film wouldn’t exactly be groundbreaking stuff. Following the phenomenal success of the 1995 film, game developers quickly moved in to try and capitalise on the hype, to varying levels of success.
The most noteworthy release was probably the 2007 PS2 video game that was simply titled Jumanji. Rather than opting for a survival adventure game, it served more like a party game, closely following the boardgame format of the original in a 4-person multiplayer. The game had you compete against your friends in minigames that revolved entirely around button-mashing and little else. Unsurprisingly, a $40 PS2 game that was essentially a virtual board game did not prove to be a big hit. The game was critically panned and failed to sell many units.
On the slightly brighter side, some more simple game versions inspired by the film have enjoyed greater success. The Jumanji online slot game, which incorporates elements of the film while allowing players to win real money, has proven to be one of the most popular casino games in recent memory. Then there’s the release of a Jumanji mobile game in 2017, which was a big hit with audiences, following a similar board game format to the 2007 game but on a less convoluted mobile platform which allowed for more casual group gaming. It seems that the simpler adaptations are sometimes the best ones.
What a Modern Jumanji Video Game Might Look Like
What gives the potential for a PS4 game to be a hit is the revamped format of the 2017 movie. It’s styled as a first-person survival game set in an unspecified jungle region. The “gameplay” in the film strongly resembles that of some of the biggest action game releases of the decade, such as Far Cry 4, The Last of Us, and Green Hell.
There’s clearly a strong appetite for wilderness-survival games which requires players to use their own wit to get out of impossibly sticky situations. A Jumanji PS4 game could offer an improved version of the popular format, allowing multiple players to team up to navigate the brutal world of Jumanji, all with glorious graphics of course.
Whether a PS4 version will actually come anytime soon remains to be seen, but developers would be foolish to sleep on a billion-dollar franchise that ties in so well to the most popular video game genres of our time.