There is no doubt that rebooting film franchises as modern slot games is paying dividends for Microgaming at the moment.
In recent times there have been a number of slots released based on films of many years ago, such as Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, Terminator 2, Tomb Raider, and several others.
Microgaming are now going to add another name to that list after signing a deal with the famous Studiocanal company for the rights to produce a slot on their 1986 classic action flick, Highlander™.1
Highlander - "There Can Be Only One"
The original film was released back in 1986 and was directed by Russell Mulcahy. Based on a story by Gregory Widen, it told the story of Connor MacLeod, played by Frenchman Christopher Lambert, one of a select few people who are immortal on earth, unless their head becomes separated from their shoulders.
These immortals have battled throughout time and across the epochs until just the last few remain with the last one remaining alive claiming "The Prize". The film starred Sean Connery as the Spanish immortal Ramirez, who befriends MacLeod and gives him insight into why he cannot die and trains him up to fight the fearsome Kurgan, a ruthless, evil immortal who will plunge the earth into chaos and destruction if he claims the prize.
With a soundtrack performed by the rock legends Queen and featuring many songs taken from their "A Kind of Magic" album, the film was a huge success when it was initially released in the mid 1980s, spawning a cult following.2 It later inspired a TV series, which starred Adrian Paul in the role of the Highlander MacLeod, and showed a little more of how he lives his life in modern society, while still trying to battle against other immortal beings.
The film also spawned a number of sequels, but none managed to recapture the excitement and power of the original film.
Since then, there have been rumours of a remake of the 1986 original but this is still at the preproduction stage and whether the remake will actually happen remains to be seen.
The Official View
Regardless of that, the fact that a slot based on the first Highlander film is in production is a source of great excitement for fans as it is the perfect fodder for a top quality film tie-in slot as David Reynolds, the Games Publisher at Microgaming explained:
"Highlander is seen as one of the great cult hits of the 80s. With its action-packed storyline and hefty rock inspired composition, it is a fantastic brand for an online slot.
"The game studio is busy completing the slot that captures all of the movie magic.
"The game features will incorporate the historical Scottish Highlands and gritty New York City, with a classic movie poster art style and blistering guitar tracks."
The good news for fans of the movie as well as slot gamers is that they will be able to recognise many of the key characters from the film in the new slot as Stephanie Kupperman at Creative Licensing, the company that brokered the deal between Studiocanal and Microgaming, explained:
"Many of the iconic characters from the classic 'Highlander' are featured in the slot including Christopher Lambert as Connor MacLeod, Roxanne Hart as Brenda Wyatt and Clancy Brown as The Kurgan.
"We think fans are going to enjoy revisiting this epic story and seeing heir favourite heroes and villains in [a] game format."
A Highlander slot wish-list?
While all this sounds very promising, there are a number of issues that we would like to see incorporated into any Highlander slot which we personally feel would not just allow the slot to remain true to the original film, but also enhance the game considerably for players.
Firstly, it is interesting to see that in the list of characters taken from the film that there is one notable omission and that is Sean Connery's character Ramirez. Whether obtaining the rights for this is proving problematic or expensive, or whether it is simply an oversight, the game would be enhanced considerably from Ramirez inclusion.
The character is central to the development of MacLeod and plays a key role in the plot, almost killing the Kurgan himself at one point. Therefore fans of the film would certainly hope that the character is part and parcel of the slot game.
The other issue and this is perhaps more pertinent than even the inclusion of Ramirez in the game, is the music used to accompany the slot. The 1986 soundtrack heavily featured music by the legendary Queen and so ingrained was that music with the film, that to remove it and replace it with a generic rock guitar soundtrack would certainly diminish the appeal of the game.
Once again, whether this is a licensing issue, or down to the expense of being able to use the music from the original film for the game, I'm not too sure but I do feel a little apprehensive about the music being described as "blistering guitar tracks" rather than the pulsating original score from Queen.
Finally, given that there are so many iconic moments, quotations and action-packed sequences in the original film, I would dearly like to see as many of these incorporated into the slot in some way, perhaps as animations that run when a pay line is hit, or when a specific bonus feature on the slot is triggered. This would enhance the game considerably and be of massive appeal to both slot fans and movie buffs too.
What else do we know about the Highlander slot?
Microgaming have confirmed that the new Highlander game will be released on Wednesday 6th December and that it will be a 243 Ways to Win game, rather than one with pay lines. As such, we are expecting this to be a slot which you can play for 40-50 coins per spin, but that has not yet been confirmed and is based on the typical bet you make on similar 243 Ways to Win games from the company.
There can only be one winner of "The Prize" but when Microgaming releases Highlander in December, hopefully all slot slots fans will be winners when they decide to give the new game a spin.
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1) Microgaming. "There can be only one" - Microgaming signs licensing agreement for Highlander™.http://www.microgaming.co.uk/our-news/2017/09/highlander-licensing-agreement
2) IMDb. Highlander™.http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091203/
Byline: This article was published by Henry.
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