Pablo Escobar, the notorious drug kingpin who basically owned an entire country and made so much money that he used it in his fireplace, has been the subject of many documentaries and explorations into his escapades. Arguably the best dramatisation of the kingpin’s life was with the Netflix Original series Narcos. It did feature some liberties with the source material, but they did attempt to stay as close to the original story as they could. Throughout its three seasons, things started splintering off from just focusing on Pablo Escobar and there are now multiple stories running through the series that can stand on their own. And now, supposedly, we’re getting a game based on it coming in spring 2019.
On paper, it sounds like a slam dunk. A game that features international drug trade, real historical figures and many exotic locales is basically what Ghost Recon: Wildlands tried to be. Cartel violence and drug trafficking have been the premise of many games before as well, so this Narcos spin-off might just have legs. It’s being developed by Kuju, the developers behind Pokémon Art Academy and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 1 & 2. Curve Digital are the publishers, who also made the announcement, and their repertoire consists of games like Human Fall Flat and Lone Survivor. Not exactly the developers you’d expect working on a game like this, unless we’re playing an isometric twin-stick shooter with drug lords.
The obvious fear is that this is a licenced title and we all know the history of those games. Bad quality spin-offs were a dime a dozen in the 2000s and their reputation has never really recovered. If Kuju just takes the original source material and translates it into a good gameplay experience, there won’t be much to worry about, but the apprehension remains. There’s no information outside of this announcement, but we’ll more than likely get some indication of what this will be in the future.