5 Ways ‘Kin’ Reminds Us of Fan-Favorite Video Games

Evan Killham
Movies Games
Movies Games Sci-Fi
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Fans of video games will want to pay attention to the sci-fi action film Kin, coming to theaters on August 31. It stars Myles Truitt as Eli, a young kid who runs into trouble when he discovers a high-tech weapon of mysterious origin in an abandoned building on the outskirts of Detroit. Along with his ex-convict brother and a woman they meet along the way, Eli ends up on the run from federal authorities; a violent gang of criminals led by James Franco; and the unrelenting, black-clad figures looking to recover the weapon.

What makes Kin feel especially unique are the nods to fan-favorite video game franchises that permeate the movie and transform it into a moviegoing experience fans haven’t seen before. The filmmakers are clearly serious gamers, and part of the fun in watching the movie will be seeing how many of those references you can spot. Here are some of the best references we found in the trailer to get you started.

Holographic Evidence

Holographic crime scene in Kin

At one point in the trailer, the sinister group out to retrieve the weapon recreates via hologram the aftermath of a fight in a strip club where Eli used the weapon to save his brother. The orange glow of the figures frozen in space recalls the ECHO system found in the squad-based shooter Tom Clancy’s The Division. There’s also a hint here of the Detective Vision used by Batman in the critically acclaimed Arkham series, which he also uses to recreate crime scenes and find clues.

Temporal Manipulation

Slowing down time in Kin

Also hinted at the trailer is Kin‘s interpretation of “bullet time,” where characters can seemingly slow down time and dodge bullets via heightened senses, magic, or advanced technology. The Matrix made bullet time popular, but it’s really found its home in gaming, where it works spectacularly as a game mechanic and has been featured prominently in games as diverse as Max Payne, Quantum Break, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The recent indie title Superhot even built an entire game around it to sublime effect. How Kin builds on the bullet time motif isn’t fully clear from the trailer, so you’ll have to watch the full movie to find out.

Faceless Enemies

The faceless enemies of Kin

The eerie vibe from the black figures after Eli and the weapon largely comes from the fact that their slick, futuristic helmets completely occlude their faces. You just can’t tell who — or what — lurks underneath those helmets, and it’s unsettling. Movie characters like Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and the Predator have used this mystery to striking effect, and gamers will find plenty of examples between the Gears from Gears of War, the Brotherhood of Steel from the Fallout series, and of course Master Chief, star of the Halo series. Whether the figures in Kin will finally reveal themselves like Vader or stay hidden like Boba Fett is something to discover in the full movie.

Ghostly Companions

A Destiny-like ghost companion in Kin

The moment a little floating device appears next to one of those mysterious figures will likely send shivers down the spines of Destiny fans. That’s because it bears a striking resemblance to that series’ Ghost companions brought to life, which face it: every Destiny fan would love to have. Especially because Kin‘s riff on the Ghost seems considerably less chatty. From the trailer, it looks like these devices assist in crime scene investigation, but they might also help their owners out in other ways, just like Destiny‘s Ghosts are able to resurrect Guardians from death.

Weapons With Holographic HUDs

The holographic sight on Kin's weapon

The futuristic weapon at the center of Kin’s plot also has elements that feel inspired from key video games, but it’s packaged in a way that feels wholly new and that, frankly, we’re itching to see in video game form as well. It expands to its full length from a more compact “travel” form, similar to the Laptop Gun from the classic Nintendo 64 shooter Perfect Dark. And once it’s ready for action, the holographic HUD, which includes aiming elements and ammo count, feels like the evolution of similar weapons found in futuristic games like Halo, Destiny, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Based on the scenes of Kin‘s weapon in action during the trailer, we’re excited to see what other capabilities will be revealed in the final film.

These are just a few of the ways that Kin looks to be taking the language of video games and applying it to an original sci-fi movie experience. See how many other references you can spot when Kin hits theaters on August 31.


Evan Killham
Evan is a high-powered supernerd who is sprinkled across the internet like salt. His contributions have appeared at Screen Rant, Cult of Mac, and GamesBeat. When he isn't writing, he plans projects he won't have time to make and cultivates an affinity for terrible horror films.