What Happened To Licensed Games?


I recently went ahead and posted my Steam user review of Platinum’s Legend of Korra game since it’s on sale for around $4 right now. Playing and reviewing a game based on a licensed property for once made me think about how relatively rare they are on consoles these days.

Not only is Korra a licensed game, to me it feels somewhat reminiscent of the old licensed games of the NES and Super NES era. I think this is because back then a lot of Japanese developers like Capcom and Konami were making them.  In the review I said Korra reminded me of old Batman brawlers, particularly that SNES Batman Returns game I remember being well-received. Like those old games, Korra is really just some decent, maybe even above average, arcade brawler gameplay slapped on top of a licensed property.

I wonder if this and that upcoming Transformers game are the start of a trend of “paycheck games” for Platinum. In my opinion Korra is proof that even when Platinum just throws something together it will still end up with a pretty good game. Maybe Platinum is one of the only console game developers left that can even do this. It’s big enough to make full-value retail games but isn’t owned by a publisher — something rare these days, and it’s one of the last bastions of classic Japanese arcade game design.

It’s fairly obvious now that licensed games have pretty much left consoles along with most other video game shovelware. Now they exist primarily in two forms: Lego games and mobile games. I actually still haven’t played a single Lego game but I’m sure they’re okay, and most importantly fun for families to play. The mobile games though are probably just as all over the place quality-wise as console licensed games were back in the day.

I guess it’s a win-win in the end. Today you’ve got less crap clogging the console game shelves in stores, the mobile games are cheaper to make, and the Lego games are a proven formula. Every once in a while a big game maker get’s to do a Batman Arkham Knight or a Star Wars Battlefront. This is just one more way in which Platinum really hearkens back to a bygone era of console gaming.

And hey, just as I was editing this Activision announced a tie-in console game for the new Peanuts movie. To me it looks like a pretty good standard platformer. Pretty much more of what I’m seeing from this trend.


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One thought on “What Happened To Licensed Games?

  1. I really wish someone would port over the Fast and the Furious: Super Cars arcade game…

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