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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Will a movie based upon a videogame ever really work as a movie?

Most of us in North America won’t see Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time until Thursday-midnight screenings begin — and I won’t see it till then either, because Disney is still refusing to acknowledge my existence. But the film opened last week in the U.K. to a pathetic £1.37 million, and didn’t even win the top spot: that went to the independent British film StreetDance 3D, which earned almost twice as much though it was on 50 fewer screens. And Prince’s figure was only slightly more than Robin Hood’s £1.36 million, over its second weekend. Doh.

British critics aren’t impressed with the film — it’s at 55 percent Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with most U.K. press checking in so far. David Cox at the Guardian’s Film blog opens his review with a long diatribe against the videogame movie in general; a few choice selections (no spoilers):

Game-makers noted that while their customers were prepared to stump up more than cinemagoers, the latter were far more numerous. So, in the hope of expanding their market, they started to make games that were based on films. Unfortunately, most of these fell flat. Developers complained of deadline pressures and being forced to stick too closely to source material. Nonetheless, a deeper problem seemed to beset them. Somehow, film-based games too often became just imitations of existing products.

Nonetheless, such films continued to appear in ever greater numbers. Surely, it might be thought, one of them must eventually come good. If indeed one were going to, it ought to have been Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Mike Newell’s film enjoys the benefits of a budget of more than $130m and a raft of promising stars. It’s based on one of the most venerable and robust of all games franchises, and the creator of this iconic brand has been keeping a watchful eye on its celluloid progeny.

The characters are vacuous and the dialogue’s infantile. The drama’s crude. Because of this, the opportunity for acting doesn’t really arise, capable though the players might have proved if given the chance. It’s impossible to care about the fate of the protagonists. All of which would have been just fine – in a videogame.

Such criticisms are certainly nothing new when it comes to movies adapted from videogames, but it seems that filmmakers never hear them.

Will a movie based upon a videogame ever really work as a movie? If so, what will have to change about how these movies are created? What are the essential elements of a videogame that make it worth adapting for the screen in the first place? Is it the action? The setting? The quest? If the player is the star of a videogame, can that ever be ported over to a film… and if not, why would anyone even bother to try?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • Dart

    The sad part is that these movies don’t even make people wanna play the actual videogames. The Resident Evil movie was nowhere near as scary as controlling a slow-moving character through zombie-infested streets where anything could pop out at you. I remember being 12 and playing the first Resident Evil game, and turning off the game in panic after zombie dogs jumped through the windows of a dark and silent hallway. The movie? A lame-ass action movie where things went “boom.” Stoned out of my mind and I still thought the sequel was shit. There’s no way anyone thought about giving the games a try after these films.

    The two mediums are probably more different than anyone realizes. With videogames, you control the actions and you get involved in them no matter how boring they get. Like your review for Tomb Raider said, there’s a difference between actually playing the game, and watching a game being played by someone else. I would’ve been so happy if the Resident Evil and Tomb Raider movies had stories like their videogames. Running away zombies or exploring trap-filled tombs: at least there could’ve been suspense for the audience, and they could’ve felt more involved. Videogame movies never offer this kind of escapism. Just simply crash, tits, boom, overcome, the end.

    I hope marketers for the videogame-movie biz don’t read what I just wrote….

  • Zed

    ‘Ever’ is a long time. So, I’m going to go with: Yes, it will happen. Eventually.

    Remember – up until a little over a decade ago, one could ask the same question about comic book movies. Sure, those are still hit or miss, but there are those that do work. It just takes someone clever to start ‘clearing the way’.

    Heck, movies based on books are still an iffy proposition…

  • Well if they can make a great movie out of the board game Clue, they can make a great movie out of a video game. It’s just a matter of doing it. The real problem is that it’s just usually a cash-in, seemingly trying to coast on the name recognition of the game. Interestingly enough, it’s the same reason video games based on movies suck as a rule as well.

  • PillowCaseLaw

    I know I may be in a small minority here, but I truly believe that the Silent Hill movie was a viable adaptation done in the same spirit as the games, re-imagining the world of Silent Hill without completely obliterating the existing mythos. Better yet, it tipped a wide nod to the thought of “Bad Endings” in games – in the end, Rose lost.

  • Magess

    Can it? Sure. And I think it eventually will.

    I think setting is one of the things that makes people want to make video games into movies. The games create good universes. The problem, I’m inclined to think, is that they don’t generally create good characters. Because the player is the character.

    I just saw a posting that Mass Effect has been optioned as a movie. I love Mass Effect, and the universe is certainly an interesting one. The plot is an interesting one. But what do you do with Shepard, the main character? While you’re playing the game, you have lots of chat options for how nice or bad ass Shepard is going to be. The characterization, then, becomes the one you choose for him. He almost has to be a blank slate so that the playing experience is making him who you want him to be. All the people you interact *with*, they have more character because they don’t need to be a stand in for player wish fulfillment. So of everyone, it’s the main character who has the least characterization and therefore would require the most work to translate into a movie.

    Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic screamed screenplay to me. They could have made a trilogy out of that one game. The universe already exists. The plot they made for the game was compelling. It all would have come down to whether or not the player character became a real person during the writing process. And additionally, in selecting what was going to be the Thing the movies were about. For me? I played the game as a female and romanced Carth, and the whole rest of the story revolved around that and them. But it could easily be focused on some other aspect.

    Changing formats is basically an act of literary criticism. It requires you to decide what was the interesting, important, or compelling action/emotion/relationship/problem from the original, focus on that and rebuild for a new medium. LOTR didn’t have 8 hours of singing hobbits because they decided that wasn’t part of the central thing that this story had to be about. Maybe the problem with video game movies is that the people making or writing them misapprehend or don’t apprehend first hand what is compelling about it to begin with…

  • Brian

    I think you said it best in your original Tomb Raider review. (If anyone here hasn’t read that yet, do yourself a favor and go read it now. Please refrain from drinking milk while reading.) Removing the interaction from the equation sucks all the fun out of the gaming experience.

    Most video game plots and objectives are pretty basic: Defeat a powerful enemy. Win treasure. Rescue somebody. Not too different from lots of Hollywood movies, but in the movie, you know the lead character can’t lose. No stakes there. The settings and action can be compelling, but not necessarily by themselves. The characters can definitely be memorable, well-acted, and well-written, but getting to know a character interactively through the course of tens of hours of game play is a whole different animal.

    It’s never a good idea, but it’s easier for producers than having to take a risk on a new idea.

  • fett101

    The characters are vacuous and the dialogue’s infantile. The drama’s crude. Because of this, the opportunity for acting doesn’t really arise, capable though the players might have proved if given the chance. It’s impossible to care about the fate of the protagonists. All of which would have been just fine – in a videogame.

    Seriously? Any idiot should realize that’s a problem with the writer not the source material.

    Anyway, I rather enjoyed Mario Brothers and Silent Hill. I’m sure Uwe Boll has a good bit to do with the assumption that video game adaptations don’t work.

  • Muzz

    There’s loads of good stories and characters in games, but they need actual adaptation for a change.
    Mostly they feel the need to reinforce the brand and fanservice gameplay elements on the big screen more than anything else.
    Ideally they should be approaching things as though the game was actually adapted from the film, developing interactive elements from the interesting stuff in the film that is essentially background.
    That much imagination and reading between the lines seems beyond them, for whatever reason. It seems possible in so many cases that I have to assume they just don’t give a damn or understand games at all. There’s no reason you couldn’t make a solid film out of Doom or Resident Evil, a couple of the basest, cheesiest games ever. They seen to pitch these films to the precis version of the games and say “oh, these are cheesy base games with bad stories and no dialogue” so that’s the essence. Which is nonsense. Games create their experience through interactivity and they can’t be abstracted without that easily. Sure games generally coast on this fact, letting bad stories and characters slide and hoping the gameplay saves the day. But you can’t look at that level and think it’s all the film needs as well. They don’t seem to look at what the game does, within all its crappy stories and what not, and then try and recreate that in film.

    Resident Evil is my fave example; the games are corny overacted, trope-tastic zombie fare. But, at the time of one and two anyway, they were brilliantly atmospheric, engrossing and terrifying. Make a movie out of them that isn’t those things and you’ve failed, it doesn’t matter if you make fifty accurate references to the game fiction per minute (which the RE movies didn’t really do either, but anyway).

  • JoshDM

    Yes. It just needs a director who is not Paul W.S. Anderson Uwe Boll, and a writer who is faithful to the source material without going out to left field.

    Resident Evil failed, as it took the broad concepts and went the wrong way from the video game (ensemble cast, going with a super-human “Alice” as protagonist, having an unnecessary crazy A.I., etc.), which itself didn’t do that great a job explaining everything. Granted, I would never have used the in-game dialogue; no one ever should be referred to as “The Master of Unlocking” and then have to be GIVEN a lock pick.

    Someone could really make an awesome Legend of Zelda film if they wanted.

  • Actually, a few movies have been very successful. The original “Mortal Kombat” took a few liberties but stayed true to the source material, mostly succeeding until the sequel killed the franchise. Also, “Resident Evil” combined the right elements and story to create the feel of the game while building a narrative. To be honest, the horror genre seems better suited to game-to-film concepts than the ill-fated “Super Mario Brothers.”

    ~ Grim D.

  • Martin

    I think that a video game movie could be made and be good but I’ve felt that if it explores new territory rather than retreading the game, it could work. For example, there’s talk of a Gears of War movie in the works which I think will be terrible, unless it’s a prequel to the game, showing Emergence day (apologies to those not ‘in’ on Gears; it’s the day the aliens came) as some kind of disaster movie, it’ll fall flat.

    If the problem is watching a character you are used to playing as, don’t make the film about them. Admittedly it’s a bit hard for Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia franchises but in games with extended universes, like Gears, Mass Effect or Halo, it shouldn’t be too hard to create a story as a companion piece, something that non fans can watch without having to know too much and fans can watch to see something new.

    I’m hoping that Prince of Persia will be OK, if Bruckheimer can turn a Disney ride into a brilliant film trilogy, he should be able to make a good video game movie.

    And JoshDM, as much as I’d love to see it, I fear for a Zelda movie. Link’s appeal comes from him being a lonely warrior that strikes out against the darkness. A small boy against a huge world. Link is also one of the few silent characters. He’s not a character in his own right, just a proxy for the gamer.
    And you know they’ll make Tingle his wacky side-kick.

  • Jt

    There’s no reason at all why video game movies have to suck, any more than comic book movies do (or even adaptations of novels). The problem is that most of the adaptations we’ve seen so far try to focus on the action of the games, thinking that since people love the action that’s what will bring them to the theater. But action in games in movies doesn’t work the same way. You have to build off of the story first.

    @Magess: I’m torn about the Mass Effect movie too. On the one hand, the Mass Effect games really are very cinematic in their presentation, so they would be easy to adapt. But then, as the screenwriter, you have to decide which of the big decisions you want to canonize. In particular, the choice that you make on Virmire has a big effect on how you interpret the story. It might be easier for them to do a spin off story set in the Mass Effect universe.

    Oh, and I think a piece of my soul died when the Neill Blomkamp / Peter Jackson Halo movie got canceled. That would have been something to see…

  • I would put it simply that a movie of a video game needs to capture the interaction as in that it makes you feel part of the story, being taken on a journey or adventure. So far not a single movie based on a video game has managed to do this. They may capture the story, the atmosphere or horror but they still make you feel like an observer rather than part of the movie.

    As such I am sure one day a successful movie based on a video game will happen, but not whilst the studios care more about capitalizing on the popularity of a game rather than trying to create something true to the game through the writing and direction.

  • JoshDM

    And JoshDM, as much as I’d love to see it, I fear for a Zelda movie. Link’s appeal comes from him being a lonely warrior that strikes out against the darkness. A small boy against a huge world. Link is also one of the few silent characters. He’s not a character in his own right, just a proxy for the gamer.
    And you know they’ll make Tingle his wacky side-kick.

    I’d say you were wrong here because Nintendo demands amazing quality from it’s own produced games, but then I realized
    1 – they don’t require too much quality from third party developers as evidenced by all the Wii Shovelware
    2 – they don’t own a movie studio that I know of and therefore would license the film to a third party
    3 – Mario Bros. Movie and The Wizard.

  • Jester

    The interesting thing about video game movies is that, to date, they’ve only selected video games for movies where the video game in question has been lauded for its action elements… if the video game has been lauded for anything (Alone in the Dark? Really?).

    Movie producers have yet to select a video game for a movie where the video game in question was lauded for its story elements. The one exception was Wing Commander, but that was produced by the same team that produced the video game, not by any Hollywood movie producer. And they (and by they, I mean Chris Roberts) inexplicably completely ignored the story elements that made Wing Commander so successful.

    Halo had a good story driving it, so it has the potential to beat this curse. But even better would be to produce a movie based on a video game that was story-driven and swept the story awards, like Homeworld, one of the Half-Life series, Bioshock, etc. It’s a pity that GL would never allow Knights of the Old Republic to be made into a movie.

    It was announced today/yesterday that Mass Effect had been picked up as a movie property. That’s another game that was strongly story-driven and swept the story awards, so that one might break the curse, too.

  • Actually, since games keep inching towards what is generally considered “cinematic”, I think eventually we’ll get a game that is already enough like a movie that adaptation is easy (although, if it’s too close, the effort might be pointless).

    There’s nothing that screams “movie material” in Super Mario Bros. or Mortal Kombat. Games like Halo and BioShock make more sense, but we’ll see if they prove to be too expensive.

  • JoshDM


    Did you actually play the original Alone in the Dark?

    And by original, I mean THE ORIGINAL – the one on the PC with the zombies in the room and the flipping nightgaunt statues and the deep one under the house. Not this re-interpretation crap.

  • I would put it simply that a movie of a video game needs to capture the interaction as in that it makes you feel part of the story, being taken on a journey or adventure. So far not a single movie based on a video game has managed to do this. They may capture the story, the atmosphere or horror but they still make you feel like an observer rather than part of the movie.

    Can a movie–which tells one story, which the viewers cannot change–ever really duplicate the interactive aspect of gaming? It just seems like an element that can’t be translated from one medium to another. Might as well fault movie adaptations of novels for not duplicating the feel of turning crisp pages with one’s hands.

    I agree with what many have said here, that movies can be based on games–on anything, really–as long as they’re built around well-written stories. After all, Hollywood made a successful movie (and IMO a successful trilogy) based on a cheesy Disneyland pirate ride, but they did it by incorporating the ride elements into an actual story in which character and narrative were paramount. These are traditional storytelling elements that, if used well, will always make for a good movie, no matter what the source of inspiration is.

  • One video game movie has already worked as a movie: Mortal Kombat. It’s a straightforward B-movie that’s true to the game with passable acting, some effective fight scenes, and one truly memorable character (Raiden). (The less said about the sequel, the better.)

    Filmmakers really need to drop the fanservice. Fans want to see a good movie made from the game, not a film consisting entirely of winks to themselves. (‘Look, we played the game, too!’)

    Wing Commander had the greatest potential of any video game film so far. Given how badly the pooch was screwed on that one, clearly the game being good or cinematic or having an engaging story isn’t relevant to whether or not filmmakers can make something out of it.

    If media as diverse as television shows to plays to novels to short stories to comic books to board games to toys can be turned into successful films, I don’t see why video games can’t. A lot of the early superhero films were crap before filmmakers really hit their stride, so maybe it’s a learning curve.

    I really, really hope so.

  • JoshDM

    Haha Wing Commander totally dropped the ball. They wrote the damn movie IN THE GAME; it was right there, they could have just used the storyline verbatim and didn’t!

    In other news, I think the best movie about a video game was The Last Starfighter, not Tron or The Wizard.

  • Here’s hoping Mass Effect will break the cycle?

    Of course, if they don’t use a Female Shepard, I’ll be very disappointed. She’s go the potential to be Ellen Ripley for a new generation!

    The trailers for Prince of Persia pretty much insist that the film is going to be irredeemably terrible. But it can’t be any worse than Clash of the Titans, and I found a couple things to like about even that pile of garbage. So we’ll have to see in a few days I guess!

  • Daniel

    I’d like to see a Mario Brothers movie directed by Michel Gondry or Jean-Pierre Jeunet. But then, I liked the Tomb Raider movie, so what do I know?

  • JoshDM

    Well, looks like MAJ is going to ban an IP address or two once she gets back from SPLICE and SEX AND THE CITY 2. Heh. After those stinkers, she might be in the mood to just ban a whole range. Good luck there, Joel.

  • Jurgan

    That’s a great piece of spam up there. It starts off saying “we found your discussion on movie adaptations of videogames very compelling” but then goes into a boilerplate pitch that has nothing to do with videogame movies. It’s getting amusing.

  • JoshDM, I have nothing to say about SAtC2, but Splice is by acclaimed director Vincenzo Natali, features two very good lead actors, and is reportedly good.

  • t6

    Like some of the other posters, I think Silent Hill was a successful artistic adaptation. Yes, critics didn’t seem to like it. But as metacritic (and boxofficemojo) shows, audiences were positive, and the film made money.

    In terms of monetary success, Tomb Raider made $131mil domestic and $274mil worldwide. That is pretty successful monetarily.

    So there are successful video game movies.

  • I saw Prince of Persia on Sunday and really enjoyed it. I could tell it’s unlikely to be a blockbuster, but I’m sad to see it actually being labelled a flop. It keeps being compared unfavourably to Pirates of the Caribbean, but apart from lacking a performance as startling as Johnny Depp’s, I think it stands up pretty well.

    Yes, I’m a fan of the game! But I’m not giving it a free pass on that account. They really did try to make a “proper film”, using the game purely as inspiration rather than a rigid template, and I thought they pulled it off.

    The UK advertising campaign has been heavy but rather obnoxious and unappealing—I wonder if that’s putting people off?

    To answer the actual question, it’d be crazy to say a good videogame movie will never be made. If being a commercial success is enough to “really work as a movie”, Tomb Raider already did it. We’re just waiting for a critical success, and I don’t buy the arguments that this could never ever happen. It’s a matter of time. Video gaming is a very young medium.

    What has to change about the way such movies are made? I still reckon PoP is along the right lines, even if it hasn’t hit the magic formula. It has a completely different story with only a few specific elements retained; it tries to keep the setting, the atmosphere, the mood, the main character’s personality. It mostly avoids trying to look exactly like a game, and aspires to look like a classic action-adventure movie.

  • JoshDM

    Look, the only proper adaptation of Prince of Persia into a movie would be some billow-pant’sed guy jumping off a ledge, missing by an inch and impaling himself on the spikes below.

    Every. Single. Time.

    Because I’ll be damned if that wasn’t the game I played.

  • That wouldn’t be an adaptation, more of a documentary.

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    Metroid could be an excellent film, the key is promoting the subtext to the text.

    The music and vast environments intentionally portray a sense of isolation and loneliness. That’s compounded by the fact that the ruins she explores are left over by the alien race which took her in as an orphan, gifted her with her armor and abilities, then vanished. Then there’s fear. Not only is Samus alone and isolated behind enemy lines, but against the same group responsible for the death of her parents, and holding a creature that’s devilishly hard to kill.

    Even if you had to add some backup characters to flesh it out as a film rather than a solo gaming experience, those themes of isolation, abandonment, fear and revenge can all be major character arcs. It would be simple to turn the film into a sci-fi version of the super hero “Year Zero” story.

    I would be very interested to see if something like Ico could make the transition successfully.

  • JSW

    I predict that we’ll start seeing decent video game movies towards the end of this decade. Roughly thirty years passed between the time that comics started adopting more serious storylines in the early ’70s and the first decent comic book movies emerging. As video games started flexing their storytelling muscles in the early ’90s, we’ll probably start seeing good movies based on them towards 2020.

    It’s all a matter of when the generation who grew up with a particular type of story starts attaining high positions in the movie studios. That’s when the studios stop seeing those stories as an easy way to cash in on name-recognition and start seeing them as worthwhile in their own right.

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    Actually, I take it back. Making Ico into a movie is like remaking “Psycho”; it was done right the first time. Unless you have a seriously compelling reason to revisit the source material, it’s going to be hard to measure up to the original.

    Generally speaking, the flaws of game movies are the same flaws of any adaptations; failure to meet the quality level of the source material, straying too far from the source material, or both. Given that some games have managed to be successfully adapted into other media; like comics, books and saturday morning cartoon series; I think the failure lies more with the Hollywood Blockbuster system, rather than an incompatibility between the mediums.

  • Knightgee

    The problem isn’t that it can’t be done, it’s that they pick the most vacuous and thin material to use. The plot in games like Prince of Persia exist solely to facilitate gameplay. They need to pick story-driven games if they’re going to adapt it to the big screen.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    i just want to comment that Dart says “crash, tits, boom, overcome, the end” like it’s a bad thing.

  • stryker1121

    Boiling down a 10-15 hour game into 90 minutes means the narrative gets leached out in favor of the broader action elements. Prince of Persia movie basically looks like a theme park ride. the naturally longer structure of a videogame, meanwhile, allows the story and the action to get parceled out equally over those 10-15 hrs.

    When done well, like in BioShock, the results can be incredible from both a storytelling and gameplay standpoint. But a BioShock movie would not work. Too many crazy elements that only make sense over the long course of the game. The movie would have to compact those elements and you’d likely lose the narrative punch.

  • Muzz

    That and Bioshock‘s core plot was Xanatos Roulette nonsense. I guess if The Dark Knight can get away with it… but it always seems to detract from Bioshock‘s loftier goals to me.

    The length problem is a valid one. Perhaps TV series would be better for things like Mass Effect or Deus Ex. Now that Lost is off the air I’m sure quite a bit of money and crew have been freed up.

  • Nate

    Even though Prince of Persia may have only a 55% rating on RT (now 60%), that’s still a massive step forward for the video game adaptation. I really hope it ends up doing better stateside.

  • Why bother making a MASS EFFECT movie? In video game format, the MASS EFFECT series is already smarter, better-written, more visually impressive, and truer to the spirit of literary science fiction (as in Heinlein, Niven, Pohl) than any “sci fi” film short of ALIEN or 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Add to that the interactivity, the ability to explore the universe from within and shape the story with difficult, sophisticated ethical decisions and you have an experience that, quite frankly, film can’t match.

    Instead of wasting time adapting the game to film, perhaps some science fiction cinema fans should try picking up a controller and playing MASS EFFECT. After all, it has an “easy” setting.

    To top it off, MASS EFFECT 2 has the best Martin Sheen performance since West Wing and the best Seth Green performance since… well, ever.

  • stryker1121

    ^^^Mordin from ME2 is one of my favorite VG characters ever. Excellently written, wonderfully voiced . Unfortunately, Mordin died during the suicide mission…i was kinda bummed.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    It’s true that there was once a time when people wondered if there’d ever be a really good comic book movie (though you have to wonder why Superman: the Movie and Batman Returns weren’t enough to overcome this objection) but this seems to me to be talking around an elephant in the room: when you adapt a comic book, or a TV series, or a novel, or an older film, you’re adapting a linear story. It might be a long linear story, or a linear story that needs some work, but it’s still recognisably the same basic thing as a movie story.

    Games are non-linear stories that branch off in all different directions; that’s part of the appeal, and that’s what makes me wonder if a truly satisfying video game movie can be made. Unless you get Peter Greenaway in, you’re only ever going to be adapting a tiny fraction of the whole. It’s no wonder the resulting movies feel thin and uninvolving.

  • RogerBW

    I think it might be interesting to take a game with a developed world and make a film of one of its side stories. Just as it was possible to sell Star Wars books that barely touched on the characters from the films, it ought to be possible to sell a film that barely touches the game: a few cross-references and in-jokes, sure, but otherwise something that stands along as a story conceived for this particular medium.

  • JT

    Bioshock is an interesting case (not least because the movie adaptation is apparently still in the works). It would have to be *very* long in order to cover all of the bases necessary. I imagine that showing flashbacks to the founding and fall of Rapture during the main narrative, and then having them fade into the ruined version of the city that Jack is traversing, could be quite effective. You would also probably have to have Jack follow an evil-to-good arc with regards to his treatment of the Little Sisters, simply because that’s what makes for a satisfying cinematic narrative.

    @emil: I agree that Mass Effect 2 is one of the most awesome things Martin Sheen has ever done. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing an adaptation of Fallout 3, with Liam Neeson reprising his role…

  • Alli

    Lots of Xbox players here. I’m surprised no one has mentioned the Uncharted series. According to a few gaming sites, they already have a script for Drake’s Fortune. I know people would compare it to Indiana Jones, but it has a great story and fun characters. Just a thought.

  • Shadowen

    As a fan of video games, I don’t think it will happen very easily. I know of very few games that a) have a story worthy of spending money on that b) could be shortened to the length of a film without losing a lot of material necessary to make the plot understandable.

    If there are any others in the thread who’ve played it, can you imagine a Planescape: Torment movie that did anything but be incomprehensible? I shudder to think.

    The real problem is they’re two different media. I don’t think most video games will ever make good movies or vice-versa…but in the future, the media might grow together. Like holonovels in Star Trek.

  • JoshDM

    Eternal Darkness could work, but you’d have to watch it 3 times to get the real ending.

    There. I just named a GameCube game, Alli. Happy?

  • Alli

    JoshDM, I will only be content until a game from every system ever made is mentioned. We need a serious discussion about Pong! Honestly, I was just surprised that a PS3 or PS2 game hadn’t been mentioned yet, especially since there have been some very good ones with strong cinematic stories in the last two years.

  • Martin

    I’d love to see an Eternal Darkness movie, just to have the film break down half-way through, just to see how many people walk out and complain.

  • JoshDM

    Alli, do you count video game adaptations of movies, or only film adaptations of video games? What about games playable on multiple systems for a multiple K.O.?

  • JoshDM

    @Martin – that is genius.

  • JoshDM

    Re: Alli – You know, because this one might remove a lot from the running.

  • t6

    On the topic of non-linearity.

    1) Not all video games are non-linear. JRPGs, for example, are notoriously linear. And quite a few people say Final Fantasy: Spirits Within was a very successful video game film.

    2) And this is the more philosophical answer. A number of video games are written non-linearly (ish)…but one’s experience of the game is linear. What you, as a player, does creates a narrative. The minute you choose to go to Tatooine first after leaving Dantooine, then your personal story is a fixed line where Tatooine is the first planet you go to.

    Also, as many games illustrate…”non-linear” is often just linear with a few cosmetic pre-determined “choices.”

  • Shaun

    I predict the World of Warcraft movie directed by Sam Raimi will be the first to work as a movie. Assuming it sees the light of day that is..

    The warcraft lore is much deeper than most, if not all, other video games and does not emphasis one specific character. Heck, some of the longer quest lines in WoW could easily be made into a film on their own.

  • JoshDM

    The Fallout series, which is somewhat non-linear, would make a great movie, but I feel we’d miss out on the overall experience.

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