6 of the Coolest Multi-Platform Franchises Since 2000

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The new millennium has been mighty kind in terms of fruitful franchises. Some older, niche works have received revitalizations while other equally niche works have risen up to help fill out the greater cornucopia that is, shall we say, geekdom. But which of these newcomers really has the strength to stand up over time like the old standbys? That’s the real question here.

So, here’s the criterion: To be considered, the franchise must have some kind of multimedia, multi-platform presence. Basically, each franchise must have three different forms of media involved, be it comics, manga, film, video games, anime series, or something similar to those listed. Call it the equivalent of the triple threat; some franchises have the ability and some do not.

All of these have that quality in spades.

1. Batman

Batman is almost cheating. Yes, I know the franchise is older than the stated limit but I swear there’s a good reason he’s included here. While the franchise might have been around and popular in the past, it is only recently that it has hit that triple threat stride with any degree of regularity.

We can thank Christopher Nolan, Rocksteady Studios and Grant Morrison for that. Nolan’s take on Batman brought the caped crusader back to the big screen with an air of legitimacy that the rehashed sequels to Tim Burton’s vision never did. Rocksteady finally perfected the Batman video game and Grant Morrison’s run in the comics? Legendary (unless you hate it).

2. Mass Effect

It’s hard to put just one of the various BioWare works in this list. But then, Knights of the Old Republic is really only a small section of the much larger Star Wars franchise, and Dragon Age—as a franchise—is still trying to figure out its place in the grand scheme of things with two vastly different games in its wheelhouse. Mass Effect is the one original intellectual property that has had both staying power and the ability to transition between different mediums with ease.

After all, there are the two completed games with a third on the horizon, a series of comics, an announced anime series and a film in the works. These are just the projects we know that exist. In traditional BioWare fashion, both the world and its inhabitants are seemingly built to allow for multiple stories to be told in multiple ways.

3. Scott Pigrim

Love it or hate it, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series is steeped in geekery from the very get-go. The slightly cult comic books were made into a slightly cult movie with a slightly cult video game that came out around the same time. Did I mention the whole thing is slightly cult?

While some have complained about the series’ titular character, others have found his flaws to be mostly human and therefore relatable. This divide has sort of permeated the conversation about the various other forms of media to which the series was transposed. But Edgar Wright was at the helm of the movie and Anamanguchi did the soundtrack to the game. Clearly, something went right.

4. Devil May Cry

Though I’m not a fan, I do have to begrudgingly list Devil May Cry based entirely on its laurels. If Dante wasn’t too cool to care, I’m sure he would be pleased.

Devil May Cry may very well have started out development as a potential sequel for Resident Evil, but it has since then become so much more. Like so many other franchises on this list, DMC has been seen outside of games in novels, comics, anime, manga and it was announced this year that a feature deal is in the works. That’s without mentioning the other games not titled Devil May Cry where the characters appear, such as Viewtiful Joe and Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

The series main protagonist, Dante, has become somewhat of an icon for Capcom. Though he may have been abandoned in favor of characters like Nero as of late, he will be returning for the newest installment of the series, though, admittedly, not so much as his regular self.

5. Afro Samurai

Of those included, Afro Samurai is the only one that has a tenuous grip on its place in this list. Sure, it has an anime series, feature film and video game based on the original manga, but it is, for lack of a better phrase, all style and no substance. The ride is certainly a memorable one, but I’d be hard-pressed to explain to anyone at all what exactly it was that I got out of watching the anime. Then again, I’d be hard-pressed to explain to anyone at all what exactly occurred in the anime. Period. Regardless, on stylistic merits and sheer cool factor, I would be remiss not to include Afro Samurai in its rightful place among the others.

6. Halo

Any list of this kind would be incomplete without Halo. With six or so games with this franchise’s title embossed on the cover since 2001, this is perhaps the most prolific of those on the list. Add to that comics, novels, anime and an in-limbo movie deal, and it certainly surpasses any of the others. Heck, there’s even a wildly popular machinima: Red vs Blue.

Halo helped create an entirely new generation of FPS games and gamers. Given that Bungie, the original developers, are currently done with the franchise, what will happen next is not exactly set in stone. There is talk of a remake of the original, while the constantly-rumored movie continues to be stuck in development hell, all while 343 Industries picks up where Bungie left off. Whatever happens, it’s unlikely we’ve seen the last of John-117.


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