The Tumultuous Relationship between Film and Video Games
Due to their relative youth, video game have struggled to be adapted into other types of media. The most notable of these are video games being turned into movies. Movies based on video games are notorious for having stories that drastically stray from their original sources. Despite them existing for 25 years, the negative stigma surrounding these movies lingers to this very day.
The initial reason was due to studios not taking video games seriously and thus making cheap, low quality movies in hopes of having the name recognition make them a profit. This cycle of making awful cash grabs wasn’t helped by the fact that many of the video games chosen to be adapted were lacking in narrative depth. The limitations placed on consoles in the 90s and early 2000s had forced many games to focus on fun gameplay, instead of a compelling narrative.
As time went on, video game movies began to have more credible companies fund their projects. This boost in revenue resulted in films such as Assassin’s Creed,Tomb Raider, Ratchet and Clank and Warcraft being made.These films were unable to capture the experience gained from playing the games, thus leading to them all being financial failures. Even adaptations that create entirely new stories,like the Resident Evil movies, continually lack the charm that makes the original source so captivating for people.
The issue is slowly becoming less relevant due to games copying various aspects from film in order to be more cinematic. Game franchises like Uncharted, Metal Gear Solid and Mass Effect attempt to replicate numerous aspects of film while retaining an enjoyable sense of flow for their games. These games served to broaden the scope of the medium, allowing them to have cinematic experiences that rival movies while also allowing for the player to have a sense of control.
On the other hand, movies are very reluctant to copy aspects from video games. Some of the most notable examples are Scott Pilgrim vs The World and Edge of Tomorrow. Even then, they were both adaptations from comics that already used game concepts in them. Unfortunately, video games still haven’t earned enough respect,in terms of storytelling, for studios to take risks on movies that seek to convey the experience of playing them.
The main component separating film and video games is interactivity. With the cornucopia of amazing games that have their main appeal being unique ways to interact with the world, the process of adapting them into films takes away the most crucial component of their entertainment. The passive nature of watching movies serves to inherently limit the potential that game adaptations have for leaving an impact on the audience.
With these factors in mind, it’s pretty clear to see why video game movies have such a bad reputation. They often lack the passion instilled by the original creators and are usually mediocre attempts at emulating the experience that the games made players feel. In recent years, games have used the tools at their disposal to create cinematics that make feel like they’re watching a movie. While it would be great for video game movies to lose their infamous reputation, the advanced technology present in modern video games has already started to make them irrelevant.