If you haven’t played CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher series, then you are missing out. Well, that’s a definite for the third installment – the first game is an acquired taste and the second game isn’t quite as polished as many gamers would have liked.
No matter, The Witcher 3 is enjoying a sales boost of some 500% according to Gamespot. Not suprisingly, this is largely on the back of its hugely popular Netflix streaming show starring Henry Cavill. Of course, there might be some other reasons for the massive increase, including a release for the massively popular Nintendo Switch in November 2019.
That accounts for a huge jump in physical copy sales, but the game’s popularity on Steam is largely attributed to the new audiences brought in by the show. In fact, the game had its biggest day ever on Steam in the wake of the show’s debut, adding even more evidence to the argument to an expanded universe as a means for promoting your IP.
Based on the popular sword and sorcery novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, the books for The Witcher also experienced a huge increase in sales due to the show’s popularity. Renewed for a second season expected in 2021, The Witcher is being looked at by many entertainment industry analysts who are hoping for the next Game of Thrones. Additionally, the series is underscoring a massive slew of video game properties coming to streaming and elsewhere.
The continued success of these projects could mean that video games start adopting the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” model of total media saturation – a prospect that has always made sense but never quite materialized. The Witcher isn’t the only successful video game property on streaming, nor is it Netflix’s only show set in a video game world. The critically-acclaimed Castlevania series is often hailed as how to do a video game IP for television audiences while making it accessible to new audiences.
Reports of The Witcher’s success showed up alongside word this week that Konami’s horror franchise Silent Hill might get a new film installment if director Christoph has his way.
A film that received largely mixed reviews from gamers and critics alike, some people look at the first Silent Hill film as a true pioneer in video game media that stayed true to the original vision and concept. In many ways, the Silent Hill film is extremely faithful to the game – especially compared with previous attempts at translating video games to the big screen.
Notable failures in this area (though totally fun on their own in a way) are the original Super Mario Bros. film and the movie Street Fighter with Jean Claude Van Damme. It’s still hard to imagine how these happened.
The Witcher’s success on Netflix not only gives confidence to people pushing current projects but also hopefully brings in new game-to-TV ideas in the near future. Given how rabid fandom can be, it makes sense from multiple perspectives though the quality of execution will remain to be seen.