The fuse has been lit and the mission has been accepted. That’s right folks, it’s time for a new Mission: Impossible film. The latest entry in the popular action franchise is out now in theaters. But if this new film has you all excited about the franchise again and you want to play a Mission: Impossible video game, well, bad news: It’s been 20 years since the last one. That’s not cool. It’s time for a new MI game!
The Mission: Impossible franchise technically started as a spy-themed television series from the 1960s, which got a sequel series in the ‘80s. But when most people talk about the Mission Impossible franchise in 2023, they are likely referring to the long-running action film franchise starring Tom Cruise that has grown into something much larger and over-the-top than the old TV shows. These films, which began in 1996, typically showcase Cruise risking his life in at least three or four large stunts and also, bizarrely, have only gotten better with each release. A globe-trotting action-adventure franchise that makes tons of money, is loved by critics, and has a massive fanbase seems like ideal material for a video game adaptation. Oddly, that’s not been the case.
Since the beginning of the franchise, only five Mission: Impossible video games have been released. (Confusingly, four of them are just named Mission: Impossible.) The first game launched in 1990 for the NES. The second game was released the following year for DOS. These two were based on the 1980s sequel series that aired on ABC.
Then in 1998, two years after the first Tom Cruise film, another Mission: Impossible game launched on the Nintendo 64. This one has some fans, and played a lot like a third-person spin on Rare’s popular GoldenEye 007 game. Two years after that, right before the second film hit theaters, a very short and not-good Mission: Impossible game landed on Game Boy Color. However, this game did include a neat feature that let players use the Game Boy as a remote control.
Finally, in 2003, Mission: Impossible — Operation Surma launched on PlayStation 2 and later GameCube. This third-person action-adventure spy-thriller takes place between the events of Mission: Impossible II and the third film, but is also never directly referenced in the films and doesn’t even feature the likeness of Tom Cruise. It was essentially a Metal Gear Solid/Splinter Cell clone and in 2023 has been mostly forgotten, like the rest of the MI video games.
And…that’s it! After 2003, we stopped getting new Mission: Impossible games. I understand that the film series hit a six-year lull between the second and third, but since 2011’s Ghost Protocol, this franchise has only gotten bigger and better with each entry. 2018’s Mission: Impossible Fallout is probably the best film in the series, and the latest one, Dead Reckoning Part One, has a 96 on Rotten Tomatoes and will likely be a massive hit.
And yet, even as the franchise grows bigger and bigger, no new video games are on the horizon. What a shame! So many moments in recent MI films feel almost like setpieces from AAA video games of the last decade. It makes sense to me that this series would translate well into a modern video game.
I understand that over the last decade or so, we’ve stopped getting crappy games based on popular films. And I’ve been mostly fine with that, as the vast majority of games based on films were awful and not worth playing. Then again, we are getting a new 007 game from the Hitman devs, and a new Avatar one from Ubisoft, so it’s not like games based on movies are impossible to make these days.
And I think a Mission: Impossible game—if done right and given enough time and resources—could be amazing. Honestly, a game where you just recreate all the famous and dangerous stunts from the films would be great, like a new Stuntman but based entirely on Mission: Impossible scenes. Actually, it’s been a long time since we got a good Stuntman game, too.
Okay, new plan: Someone convince the right people to fund the development of a new Stuntman-like game based on Tom Cruise’s wildest Mission: Impossible stunts. That’s the game I want. Thank you.