Stern Pinball’s latest table brings players to the world of John Wick, and it’s well worth hunting down for a game — or a h hundred. Inspired by the overarching John Wick film series, the game challenges players to rack up as high of a score as they can while navigating the twisting and cool world of the High Table. Players will be tasked with recruiting allies like the Bowery King while contending with some of the series’ most formidable villains.

It’s an exciting and visually impressive pinball machine, with enough tweaks to make it unique even to experienced players. By focusing on the series as a whole instead of solely dedicating the game to a single film, Stern Pinball is able to utilize the entire world to the fullness of its ability. This was something very much on the mind of the Stern Pinball team, who spoke with THS about the game during a special preview event to celebrate the release of the Stern John Wick pinball table, which is now available.


How John Wick Fits Into The World Of Pinball

The John Wick pinball machine incorporates several elements and iconography from across the series, ranging from John’s muscle car to the Continental Hotel serving as parts of the table. “Every license is different,” Stern told THS. “With John Wick in particular… it was just a perfect synergy. We both wanted to make this happen. Especially after the fourth film, it was a perfect time to get the whole film series into the pinball experience. It’s not just a one-off film. It’s the whole lore in the machine.” Ian McShane even reprised his role as Winston to deliver some new dialogue for the game, helping ensure immersion for the players.

“We always love to have a little pinball twist on everything that we do. When we have a close working relationship with licensing partners, we really want to have them experience not just a glorified DVD player. They want to be immersed into something that’s truly unique and not replicable. Pinball is an experience, it’s something that you can’t replicate. Ian McShane add this kind of flavor of custom speech. It’s not only film and audio assets, you have this added pinball layer. So when you get McShane saying ‘Saved by the ball,’ that’s not from the films. But it sounds as if it’s coming from the film. When [Shane] goes into character, he is Winston. It’s seamless.”


Lionsgate Was Crucial To Making John Wick Pinball

Stern Pinball has made a name for itself in the gaming world with its modern spins on the classic arcade game. This includes a series of new tables that reflect classic franchises and new releases alike. John Wick is just the latest example of the team turning a modern hit into a fun pinball game, and has been in the works for a while according to Stern. “The development of John Wick actually started before the fourth film came out. The game team got special screeners. Lionsgate is great to work with. They’ve been helping us in the process…

“They’re very collaborative. We both want the best experience possible. Not only for us from a pinball side of things, but we wanted to make them happy with their property. We wanted to do justice by it. Even if you’re not a pinball fan, it’s great. If you’re a John Wick fan, you step up to this game and you see all these key villains, the factions of the High Table. You are truly immersed into this universe. It feels complete.”

How John Wick Changes Pinball

Notably, the John Wick pinball table introduces a new element to Stern Pinball with their Insider Connected Program. Compared to something like Xbox Live, this system gives players a dedicated account by which they can keep track of in-game achievements and high scores. It’s also an ideal way to find locations where the game is available. Perhaps most excitingly, the program allows players the chance to be “assigned contracts.” Players will get alerts including new challenges to clear each week. This introduces a dynamic and social element of the game that brings a lot to the world of pinball.

The new table also incoperates Stern’s all-new dynamic AI combat system, which changes and evolves around players. As the player increases their score, the game adjusts accordingly and introduces new challenges or increasing waves of “enemies” that need to be beaten to advance. It’s an exciting and challenging tweak that ensures no two games of John Wick pinball ever quite feel the same, which was very much on Stern’s mind while developing the table.


Becoming Baba Yaga

“You can hop around. That way, it doesn’t feel repetitive like a video game. When you start a Mario game, you’re always on the first level. You just kind of work your way up. With pinball, it’s nice to have that flexibility that you have navigating hop around. With this layer of a dynamic AI combat system… depending on your skill level, enemies are gonna pop out on you.”

“Say I had that left ramp shot lit for something, but I had two bad guys blocking it. I need to beat those bad guys before I can keep making progress. So if you’re a beginning player, you might only have one enemy. But if you’re getting further in the game, and you’re having some good playtime, the game’s gonna be like, ‘Well, you’re really good.’ Just like John Wick, we need to throw some more bad guys at you. We need to make the experience that much more difficult. Every game, every battle will truly feel unique. Just like in John Wick.”

The John Wick Pinball Machine is now available from Stern Pinball.

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