Franchises That Have Games, Movies, Shows, & Comics

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Franchises That Have Games, Movies, Shows, & Comics

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When an IP proves to be successful, it’s only natural for its creators to try and branch out into other mediums. In some cases, this could lead to a video game being adapted into a movie, while in others, it might mean a manga or comic book getting its own anime or cartoon. In some rare cases, franchises have found a way to do it all.


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These fan-favorite works of fiction have found success in multiple mediums, having each appeared in video game, comic book, TV show, and movie form. Granted, some adaptations have been more successful than others, but the fact that they were made in the first place is a testament to both the popularity and quality of the source material.

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1 Dragon Ball

Perhaps the most notable example of a franchise successfully transitioning into other mediums, Dragon Ball really has done it all. Having started out as a manga series in Weekly Shonen Jump all the way back in 1984, it soon received an anime adaptation. The rest, as they say, is history, with Dragon Ball Z eventually going on to become one of the most popular and most successful anime series ever created.

Naturally, this success spawned even more adaptations, with a near-endless stream of games and movies coming into existence over the next few decades. Following a long hiatus around the turn of the century, Dragon Ball continues to receive new installments across all four mediums to this day and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

2 Mortal Kombat

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After taking American arcades by storm following its release in 1992, it did not take long for Mortal Kombat to branch out into other mediums. Developer Midway actually released its own mail-order comic books to coincide with the release of several of the Mortal Kobat games, while a licensed series by Malibu Comics was also published between 1994 and 1995.

1995 was also the year that the very first Mortal Kombat movie was released, with many more having followed it in the decades since. Then there was the infamous Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, a Saturday morning cartoon series based loosely on Mortal Kombat 3 which aired on the USA Network throughout the final few months of 1996.

3 Street Fighter

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Street Fighter is another video game franchise that got its own Saturday morning cartoon on the USA Network. In fact, the first seasons of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm actually ran back to back before the latter was unceremoniously canned at the end of 1996. Street Fighter lived to fight another day but failed to make it past its second season.

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There have been plenty of Street Fighter movies too, the first and perhaps most infamous being the 1994 flick starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as Guile and Kylie Minogue as Cammy. Though there are only five mainline Street Fighter games at the time of writing, there are countless revisions. This includes many different versions of Street Fighter 2, which was also adapted into a manga back in 1993.

4 Pokemon

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There’s a tremendous amount of synergy between the many Pokemon properties, with each working together perfectly to strengthen the global popularity of the brand. It all began with the Japanese release of Pokemon Red & Green back in early 1996 and quickly snowballed from there. Within just a few short years, Pokemon had become one of the biggest and most profitable IPs on the planet.

Both the Pokemon anime and the Pokemon Adventures manga series made their debuts in 1997, with both still going strong today more than a quarter of a century later. Pokemon: The First Movie premiered the following year, with more than twenty more Pokemon anime movies having been produced since then. Of course, Nintendo is still releasing games on a fairly regular basis too, with Pokemon Scarlet & Violet and Pokemon Legends: Arceus all arriving in 2022.

5 Shenmue

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Released in 1999, Shenmue was one of the most groundbreaking video games of its era, helping to redefine what a game could be while also laying the foundations for what would eventually become the open-world genre. Prior to the release of its sequel, a series of comic books was released to introduce some of the new characters, as too was a special movie summarizing the events of the first game.

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Despite Shenmue 2 offering yet more innovation, the death of the Sega Dreamcast saw the series slip into a long slumber, with fans forced to wait almost fifteen years for news regarding the fate of the franchise. It returned with a pretty big bang though, with its record-breaking Kickstarter campaign not only paving the way for the long-awaited third game but also an incredibly well-put-together anime adaptation.

6 Final Fantasy

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When it comes to JRPGs, they don’t come much bigger than Final Fantasy. Hironobu Sakaguchi’s series helped to define the genre and played a central role in its popularization in the west. With this in mind, it was only a matter of time before the series made its way into other mediums, though to say that results there have been mixed would perhaps be a bit of an understatement.

The 2001 anime series Final Fantasy: Unlimited failed to make much of an impression with viewers, with its planned 52-episode run eventually being cut down to just 25. The decision to leave the story of Unlimited unfinished was in part down to the poor performance of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, with the 2001 CGI movie ultimately falling flat at the box office. Thankfully, some of the many manga adaptations were quite a bit more successful, as too was Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, a 2005 anime OVA.

7 Spider-Man

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Marvel has been responsible for plenty of iconic comic book characters since its foundation in 1939, but Spider-Man is arguably the pick of the bunch. His heroics have been entertaining fans for more than six decades now, during which time the wall-crawling superhero has swung his way into a variety of other mediums, including cartoons, movies, and video games.

There have been a few different Spider-Man cartoons over the years, but none were quite as successful as the 1994 series, which ran for five whole seasons on Fox Kids and other networks around the world. There have been plenty of movies as well, not just in the modern era, but back in the sixties and seventies too. Then there are the many Spider-Man video games, which between them have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.

MORE: The Best Spider-Man Video Games Of All Time, Ranked

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