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Don't Forget The Futurama Game, It's A Great Lost Episode

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  • Posted on 08th Aug, 2022 14:14 PM
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The 2003 Futurama video game is something of a lost episode, one that released after the end of Season 4 and was later made into a special feature.

The 2003 Futurama video game makes for a great lost episode for Season 4, yet it's almost forgotten even by the most die-hard of fans. It's not considered canon to the series, but it's not the only episode that's separated from the main continuity, as episodes like the "Anthology of Interest" segments also have no bearing on it. The game was released after the show's first cancellation and contains approximately 28 minutes of new content, hence why it's considered a "lost episode."

The Futurama series follows the adventures of Phillip J. Fry, a pizza delivery boy who is accidentally frozen in a cryogenics lab and awakes 1000 years in the future. He soon meets Bender Bending Rodriguez and Turanga Leela, both of whom join him at his distant nephew's delivery service taking packages all across the universe in a sci-fi world he shares with his new friends at the Planet Express company. The main plot focuses on him adjusting to life in the year 3000 and the various wacky situations he gets himself into on various planets full of aliens and hyper-advanced technology. Despite being a comedic sitcom series, it does have a surprisingly serious overarching plot, as well its fair share of emotional moments; some of which are enough to bring a tear to the eye.

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Futurama is a classic series with a dedicated fan base, and it was sad to see it end in 2013. Thankfully, the show is being revived soon with a reboot set to release on the streaming service Hulu sometime in 2023, despite some initial issues with one of the voice actors. Hopefully, the remake will beat the original sci-fi series' art and storylines, and be a worthy successor to the original show. If so, it may even spark a revival that brings in a new generation of fans, and extends Futurama far into the future. There's even the possibility of an entirely new game if it does well enough, so it's exciting to see how the reboot will be.

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What Was The Futurama Video Game?

In the Futurama video game, Professor Farnsworth sells the Planet Express company to Mom - a villainous tycoon who acts as a major antagonist in the series - since it was losing so much money to his mismanagement. Once the sale goes through, she ends up owning over 50% of Earth, and enslaves humanity. Fry, Leela, Bender, and the Professor flee the planet with Mom in pursuit, as she needs Farnsworth in order to turn the Earth into a giant warship in a plot almost as convoluted as that of the open-world Simpsons Hit & Run game. After capturing Farnsworth, she sends the Planet Express ship into the sun, not knowing that it is actually habitable. Fry, Leela, and Bender go back in time to prevent the sale from going through, but die in the process, and Mom buys the company anyway, dooming the three to an infinite time loop.

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Reception of the 2003 Futurama game was mixed, and it currently has a 6.5 score on Metacritic. It's criticized for its awkward gameplay and an art style that clashes with the original show's, as well as camera, framerate, and loading time issues. As a video game, it's not the best, but it does well as an episode of Futurama. The cutscenes are the best part, and serve to make it truly feel like a lost episode that fans of the franchise and of sci-fi in general can enjoy. Its ending is somewhat bleak and dissatisfying, far from the path of funny memes Futurama fans might have expected, but thankfully it's something of a moot point thanks to the game's separation from the main series.

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The 2003 Game Became Futurama: The Lost Adventure

In 2008, the cutscenes from the Futurama video game were used to make a 30-minute movie titled Futurama: The Lost Adventure. It was released as a special feature alongside the direct-to-DVD movie Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs. Writer David X. Cohen described it as the 73rd episode of the series. Since the developer, Unique Development Studios, had gone out of business, Futurama producers weren't able to obtain the original video files for the cutscenes, and instead had to capture them on an Xbox running the 2003 Futurama game. The Lost Adventure sadly removed some meta Easter Eggs in the Futurama game referring to itself as a game, but it did gain new sound effects.

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The Futurama game's influence also spread to the main series. The music that plays during the end credits is used in the four Futurama films, Bender's Big ScoreThe Beast with a Billion BacksBender's Game, and Into the Wild Green YonderBender's Big Score uses the music in the extended intro, and the other three use rearranged versions of it during their end credits. It may be a small detail, but it's still a nice reference that proves that the game wasn't forgotten about by the creators.

Could There Ever Be A Futurama Game Sequel?

The 2003 title is not the only Futurama game; the series appeared as part of the mobile app Animation Throwdown, and also got its own, Worlds of Tomorrow. There was only ever one dedicated console game, however, which may not be true forever. The Futurama reboot means that a new video game could eventually come depending on the success of the show. If a new game does well enough, it may even spawn multiple additional Futurama video games. The mixed reviews of the original don't bode well for a second game, but they don't completely eliminate the possibility.

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If another Futurama game did come, it would hopefully be better than the first. The plot may have been good, but it wasn't enough to save it from bad gameplay. While some of its issues can be blamed on the fact that it was an adaptation of a TV show and the time period it came out in, it still wasn't as good as it could have been. It may be best for it to switch genres instead of becoming another shooter, though it's hard to say what interesting there might be for another Futurama mobile game to enter development. There's a lot of potential in another game, especially with the new content that the planned Futurama reboot will add. It doesn't need to be exceptionally fancy or have amazing features. All it really needs to do is be better than the first Futurama game - a feat which should be achievable enough.

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