MultiVersus and more show the gaming resurrection of Jason Voorhees is here

MultiVersus and more show the gaming resurrection of Jason Voorhees is here
Images via Warner Bros. | Behaviour Interactive | Gun Interactive

Written by 

Jack Roberts


3rd Jun 2024 10:14

If ever there was a character that didn’t know just how to stay dead, it’s Jason Voorhees. The machete-wielding, hockey-mask-wearing, teen-slaying slasher is one of the quintessential horror antagonists – and one that, for several years now, has had a rocky road to resurrection.

In the face of a tumultuous legal battle that nearly killed the franchise, 2024 is the year we’re starting to see Jason rise from the dead. With an appearance as a fighter in MultiVersus, video games could be the beginning of Jason dripping back into the public consciousness, and who knows, maybe even a place in the horror pantheon of Dead by Daylight.

Hacked ‘n’ slashed

Jason is no stranger to video games. Back in 1989, a pixelated purple Jason terrorised innocent camp counsellors in the Friday the 13th game, battling them all to a catchy chiptune soundtrack.

In 2015, he appeared as a guest fighter in Mortal Kombat X, providing the game with some of its most gruesome fatalities. Then in 2017, a crowdfunded game emerged. Friday the 13th: The Game sought to ride the wave of asymmetrical horror that Dead by Daylight had established. One Killer hunting a team of Survivors. And who could be more imposing than the original slasher icon?

Jason in the Friday the 13th Game
Click to enlarge
Image via Gun Interactive

Since the death of the Friday the 13th game, several others have attempted to take its place - The Evil Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and most recently, Killer Klowns from Outer Space to name but a few. However, few have reached the heady heights and longevity of the original slasher, either continuing to dwindle in numbers or being shut down entirely.

To hell and back

While Jason may be one movie character comfortable in the pits of hell, his franchise certainly isn’t. To say that Friday the 13th has been trapped in a hellscape of legal battles would be an understatement. Various components of the series, from the story to the title to Jason himself have been bogged down in multiple lawsuits as to who owns the rights to the franchise and, by extension, Jason’s usage.

Jason using a sleeping bag as a weapon in MultiVersus
Click to enlarge

Effectively, these lawsuits have prevented Jason from appearing in other media unofficially. So, this is why we haven’t seen him in a movie since the underrated 2009 attempt at a reboot of the franchise. It’s also why the Friday the 13th game (and its attempt at a revival) eventually met its end.

Despite its popularity, crowdfunding campaigns and even a version of Jason designed by make-up artist, Tom Savini and a soundtrack by Henry Manfredini (two veterans of the series), it wasn’t enough to allow the creators to continue development on what would have been an evergreen game (there was even a cancelled Jason X update that never got past the teaser stage).

With the lawsuit over, and the series' limbo thawing, the Jason Universe is slowly building. But rather than take root in a traditional horror setting, it's starting with MultiVersus.

Jason reborn

If you had asked me to put money on which games Jason would appear in following the conclusion of the lawsuit, a Warner Bros. brawler featuring Bugs Bunny, Shaggy and Arya Stark wouldn’t have been my first guess – but MultiVersus did just that.

As a hulking brute wielding his machete, an axe, and a move set straight from the movies, Jason is a caricature of the franchise, but a welcome one. His inclusion lends hope that he may be back in other games, either in one of his own... or with a collection of other famous faces.

Jason Voorhees in ,MultiVersus
Click to enlarge
Image via Warner Bros.

Dead by Daylight is full of legendary Killers and Survivors from various horror media. Most recently, we’ve seen horror movie legends like The Xenomorph and Chucky join the likes of Leatherface, Michael Myers and Freddie Krueger in throwing Survivors on meat hooks. Even the game’s poster boy, The Trapper, pays homage to the original slasher.

Since the creation of the Jason Universe X account, it's been followed by DbD's Game Director and Head of Partnerships, Mathieu Cote. Only time will tell what will happen with Jason in the future. But, I for one still hold out hope that we’ll see him stalking Survivors from the shadows sooner rather than later.

Jack Roberts
About the author
Jack Roberts
Jack is a Guides Writer at GGRecon. With a BA (Hons) & MA in English and Creative Writing, he was also the Gaming Editor for The Indiependent. When not pondering which game has the best cup of coffee (and drinking far too much of it himself), he can often be found playing Dead by Daylight, Street Fighter or making yet another build in Bloodborne.