User-generated content is playing an important role in laying the foundations for the metaverse, with many industry pundits and video game companies backing the idea that it might be the future of video games too. Fortnite players spend 50% of their time playing in the game’s Creative mode, according to Epic Games, and Roblox recently announced it's giving away more than $10 million to Roblox developers to fund the creation of new experiences on the platform.
It should come as no surprise, then, to see other big names in the world of entertainment shifting their focus to user-created video game content, specifically Lionsgate, who is partnering with the storytelling platform Dorian “to create user-generated content, interactive games and events inspired by popular Lionsgate films,” according to Hollywood Reporter.
As for how this works, the first IP they’re doing this for is the Blair Witch franchise, and creators are being asked to respond to a brief by sending in their fan fiction between a sixteen-day period in October for a chance to have their story idea made into a game on the Dorian platform. The brief? Influencers head to Black Hills Forest for a Blair Witch–themed music festival. The part that’s up for interpretation: Will the characters survive the night in the forest or end up live-streaming their own deaths?
Here’s where things get interesting. In addition to having their idea turned into a game, the winning creator will get to meet a Lionsgate exec and also monetize their game by using Dorian’s virtual currency which “users can buy and sell on the platform.” In the case of this specific collaboration, it’s not yet clear how those in-game transactions will look or how much control the creator will have on the monetisation mechanics in the game, but it’s usually the case that in-game currency is spent on cosmetic items such as outfits and characters.
This partnership is pretty clever and stood out to us for two main reasons. The first is that while Lionsgate isn’t a name that many people will associate with video games, the company has been making a concentrated push into the video game market over the last five years.
Its latest release, Evil Dead: The Game, was met with favourable reviews from most video game outlets, and the company has partnered with other video game studios to license out its IP in collaborations and limited-time events. Ash vs Evil Dead was brought back to life as a character in Dead by Daylight, one of the most popular games on mobile, while legendary assassin John Wick can be purchased as a legendary character outfit in Fortnite for 2000 V-bucks (that’s roughly $15). This partnership with Dorian pushes its IP into a new genre, though: interactive storytelling.
That’s the second reason we like this partnership; Lionsgate knows its audience. After its successful attempts at moving into survival horror games, we can’t think of a better fit for the production company’s IP than storytelling games. If you’re not familiar with the genre, these games are true to the name in the sense that you navigate characters through a story, but you’re usually presented with split-second decisions or dialogue choices that impact the outcome of the narrative. TellTale’s The Walking Dead and Supermassive’s Until Dawn are two good examples.
We imagine that this The Blair Witch game will play out in a similar way to the latter, where your choices will determine how many lives are saved or taken as the adventure plays out. No tough decisions, then. But as Hollywood Reporter points out, one of the biggest appeals of the Dorian platform is that creators do not need any coding experience to create their own games.
If this partnership ends up helping creators earn money by turning their ideas into playable reality while pushing Liongate’s IP in new directions and encouraging creativity, that’s a win-win as far as we’re concerned.