The Timing is Perfect For a Futurama Video Game Revival
Jonathan LoChiatto
Although Futurama may have seen a definitive end on TV, the series could easily have a promising future if it made the jump to video games. Matt Groening's sci-fi comedy show is filled with the same themes that video games find success with yearly. With titles like Ratchet & Clank consistently combining humor and sci-fi adventures to great effect, why shouldn't Futurama do what its always done best in a different way?
Futurama is an animated sci-fi comedy television series from the creator of The Simpsons. The show is centered on Fry, a pizza delivery boy frozen in 1999, and his co-workers employed at a delivery company in the year 3000. Futurama has dabbled in gaming before, with the PlayStation 2 and Xbox receiving Futurama game in 2003 and the mobile title Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow releasing in 2017.
Though the series has experimented with video games before, it never landed a definitive hit. One of the attempts was a third-person action-adventure title marred by clunky controls and an overall unpolished presentation. The only other was a more recent gacha city building game. Unfortunately, neither attempt gave the exciting setting and colorful characters the legs they needed to run. Nevertheless, the right team could eke out, with love and respect, every last bit of Futurama's potential.
From the metropolis sprawl of New New York and its mutant-filled subterranean caverns of Old New York to Santa's death fortress on Pluto to Robot Hell, Futurama is absolutely riddled with locales that would thrive as a modern game setting. In fact, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart recently used similarly elaborate backdrops to great effect, offering huge, detailed environments for players to explore. Of course, an interesting setting isn't enough on its own to captivate most players for an entire title's length. Ratchet & Clank was supported by signature explosive combat, memorable characters, and neat gadgets like Hover Boots -- Futurama can do even better.
Futurama Opening Credits Tube
Futurama Opening Credits Tube
Futurama's characters already have years of story and development behind them, offering plenty of references for longtime fans and an abundance of jokes to hit home for series newcomers. With luck, the entire voice cast would get involved and, having already been accustomed to voice acting on the animated show, deliver their usual award-winning performances. Interesting and fun gadgets shouldn't be much of a hurdle for Futurama either. Set a thousand years in the future, the show already had its fair share of wacky inventions from Planet Express Delivery Co.'s owner, Professor Farnsworth. The good Professor is responsible for iconic innovations like the Smell-O-Scope, Fing-Longer and What-if Machine, but he's also just as liable to create mutant spider basketball players or a doomsday device.
Assuming a new Futurama game followed Ratchet & Clank's lead as an action-adventure title, it might seem like action isn't a strong suit for the animated comedy. On the contrary, Futurama has had some exciting encounters that could reappear or inspire new ones. Fighting off parasitic worms inside someone's body, harvesting space honey from giant space bees, going toe-to-toe with the Robot Mob, they're just a few of the possibilities action could be built upon. Additionally, there's always flexibility within the series for events like alien invasions or oppression by the insidious MomCorp as encounters and narrative building blocks.
With 128 episodes, four movies and a passionate fanbase behind it, Futurama has a deep universe that's begging for a new game adaptation. Even after ending in 2013, viewers are still drawn to the show for its timeless characters and delightful setting. There's no doubt, if the right team went to work on a new Futurama video game, it could be the series revival fans have clamored for.