The Rise of Video Game Adaptations in Cinema

This year film has seen an increase in the release of movies that draw inspiration from video games. World of Warcraft, Assassins Creed, Angry Birds, and Hardcore Henry (though not based on a video game it’s cinematic style is to tell a narrative in the way video games do) are four such examples of this interest in adapting video games to the big screen. Why such a rise in this style? Does this style have a place in cinema?

  • This is a really interesting topic. There was also a Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time film with Jake Gyllenhaal that was released in 2010. Additionally, an Uncharted film has been in development since 2009, with a variety of stops and starts. Also, most intriguingly to me, was Gore Verbinski's Bioshock film, which never got out of the planning stage. I also think that it would be interesting to examine how gamers view these adaptions and how film fans view video game adaptions. Great, very relevant topic in today's pop culture landscape. – SeanGadus 7 years ago
  • If we want to consider older adaptations, too, we could talk about Tomb Raider, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Resident Evil. We might also want to think about machinima (using video games to create one's own animated films). Video games and adventure films certainly have a lot in common. I'm not sure how far back we can find cut scenes in video games, but their presence shows a strong and lasting connection between the two genres. – JamesBKelley 7 years ago
  • Another thing to consider is how much more creative control the creators of the video games sometimes have with their film adaptations. In the past video game adaptations were made with little to no creative input from the creators, but more recent adaptations such as Warcraft, Ratchet & Clank, and the upcoming Assassin's Creed movie are being co-developed with the people who made the games. Going off of this, it might be interesting to look into how game developers view the movie industry and why they would see the potential into adapting their properties into films. – Seth Childers 7 years ago
  • I've been thinking a lot about this. It's sad to me that many of these movies are poorly adapted. In some ways, it seems that producers are still figuring out how to do this in the same way that films have been adapted from lengthy novels; the main challenge is capturing the story and the spirit of the game. It seems like a different challenge to choose what to include or cut from a game rather than a novel--which is generally more straightforward and follows a clearer story arc. These game adaptations don't necessarily retell the same story in a new format, but rather they use familiar characters to tell parts of the metanarrative not covered in the games or they mash together the important moments into one hodgepodge film. The Resident Evil movies were relatively good compared to other game adaptations. They also seemed to draw a broader fan-base because the films take time to tell the origins story, which is important for new people to establish a connection to the franchise without experiencing the games first. World of Warcraft tried to explore origins in its first installment, but I think it lacked focus and failed to establish a solid emotional connection with any one character. The movie was lackluster unfortunately, and I hope that they can learn from their mistakes and make a much-improved second installment. – Breezy 7 years ago
  • Can't forget about the actors and actresses that portray our favorite characters in these movies. Some take the time to do their research and properly portray the character they are playing. Most go off of the adapted script and actually have no clue as to how to bring the character to the big screen. Hopeful that AC is good. – antsteve 7 years ago
  • I think a large part of why adaptations generally don't do well is because their narratives are formatted for game play rather than character development. The game series format doesn't allow for an overarching story line that can fit nicely into one film, and since most main characters in video games are stripped down to allow the player to assume their role, we often don't start with a true character to get emotionally attached to. Though some of the iconic games like The Legend of Zelda have a strong story line, Link is a blank slate, and therefore would need a contrived personality just for film. We want something completely different from a game than we want from a movie. – wtardieu 7 years ago
  • A lot of it has to do with two main things. The first is that, for awhile now, Hollywood has been remaking films left and right because they are losing creativity. As I got older, I noticed more and more movies from the 70's and 80's being remade. Now in 2016, there is at least one movie a month that is a 1980's remake, and usually not a good one. The second reason is because of the tremendous growth in the video game industry over the past two decades. The video game industry has surpassed Hollywood, and Hollywood execs are now jumping on the bandwagon. Keep in mind that Generation X and Millenials are now grown up, with families of their own. And like all generations, we have nostalgia for movies and shows when we were kids. The video game and movie industries know this, which is why you have so many sequels to video games and remakes of classic movies. – MikeySheff 7 years ago

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