Are Film Adaptations of Video Games Doomed to Fail?

BY BECKY WILLIS: Adapting a game into a successful film has been tried and tried again by numerous directors, but with creative visions taking them in weird directions, there are only a few that have been successful.

From the monstrosity that is the Super Mario Movie to the success of Sonic The Hedgehog, we will be looking into whether or not film adaptations are truly doomed to fail.

The Development Of Characters

When we see film adaptations from books, it is a simple transition, as a majority of the story is laid out for you. However, this is just not quite the same when it comes to adapting video games. This is because games such as Assassins Creed and Tomb Raider already have a large following regardless of whether you have played the games or not. This, therefore, makes developing them within a film very tricky. During the process of playing a game, you see the character from the very beginning, you develop their skills and aid them in becoming the character you see at the end of the game.

This is a process that can sometimes take hours and with such an array of abilities and techniques, some peoples gaming experiences are slightly different from one another. This is a process that if done incorrectly will not translate as smoothly into a film. This is partly due to the lack of creative freedom that the audience and fans get when viewing the film, if it is not the way they remember it, chances are it may not be very well received.

The All-Round Immersive Experience

Similarly, a video game provides a fully immersive experience for gamers. This is also very difficult to translate into the big screen as the element of challenge that gamers love is taken out. This is, therefore, a challenge that can be difficult to overcome when adapting a game to screen as many different fan bases will want to see their favourite character in multiple different storylines.

The ongoing frustration is evident with franchises such as The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars due to there being so many different adaptations and variants, some that are better than others. Whether it is a play, console games or online titles, the story has been told so many times that many fans are looking for something new. This is something that just cannot be done during the development process. Therefore, it is almost certain that one fan of the games will not like the film.

Sticking True To The Story Line

Though it is important to stick to a storyline in any adaptation a video game is that little it harder. With hours and hours of gameplay, it would be impossible to translate all that detail into a reasonable length film. Because of this, many developers play through the game and take the key plot points, however, these are then adapted and made to fit the narrative of the director. Though some films have done this well, there are several other games to film adaptations that fall well below the expectations of fans.

This is a problem that has been all too common with every film to game adaptation as the lack of creative freedom when watching a film tends not to translate well.

The Creative Freedom Of Gaming

Another reason why some believe that video game adaptations are destined to fail is that it eliminates the creative freedom that you get from the game. Though this is not possible when watching a film on the big screen, the storyline is rigid, this, therefore, means that some of the best bits could be missed. Though this is not a problem for those that have never played the games, this could be an issue for those that have as any okay parts that are missed out can make the film completely different to the game itself.

The Few Success Stories

Video game movies have come and gone, but there are very few that have been a huge success. There are many gamers around the world dare not speak of whilst some have seen mainstream success and entertained audiences around the world. But which have been the successful few? We have listed some of our favourites below:

Though these, of course, are completely subjective, it is important to note that each of these genres of both game and film appeals to different audiences. Therefore, it is important to look at the film and make a decision for yourself. Who knows, you may find a video game adaptation that you like and will continue to watch again and again.

With this in mind, there are multiple reasons why video game adaptations often fall short, partly because of the perception that the fans have and the difference in creative vision. However, when it is done right, you are in for a wonderful viewing experience that is enjoyable for everyone.