5 Reasons Why Movies Based Off Video Games Are Garbage
“This would make a great movie.” The same sentence your stoned college roommate said in regards to your mediocre Spring Break trip is being echoed by studio execs all over Hollywood. And turns out, they’re both wrong. Movies based off of video games are almost always terrible. But why? When it’s the other way around we get gold. The John Wick video game is cool as hell. Evil Dead: The Game looks awesome. LEGO Star Wars and KOTOR are all time, hall of fame games. So why isn’t this a two way street? We, the geniuses at Cracked, have figured it out.
Movies Need Strong Lore
Game studios often spend years developing the intricate backstories behind the characters and settings in their games. The player becomes immersed in the details of that world as they read found notes, come across landmarks, or overhear conversations between NPC’s. In a movie, the audience only sees what is directly in front of them. There’s plenty of directors that can world-build with a single image, but when it comes to video game flicks, all the backstory is usually crammed into some boring, hyper dramatic monologue at the beginning.
Ownership Means Emotional Connection
Having a sense of agency over a character in a game makes us feel responsible for what happens to the character. Spending hours controlling the movements and actions of a little pixellated person makes us feel an inherent sense of ownership. This is really the heart of what makes gaming so emotionally impactful. Building an equal amount of emotional investment is not something that’s easily done in 90-120 minutes.
As long as studio execs have life in their bodies, they’re going to try and capitalize off of those most modern of dirty words, “Intellectual Property”. It’s common thinking that if an audience likes one part of a franchise, they’ll buy into whatever else you can throw at them. But in practice, audiences resonate with solid story telling more than recognizable characters.
Games Get No Respect
A lot of old school thinkers (aka the decrepit rich guys who control the studios) still believe that video games are for kids. That’s why when the industry does actually crank out a good game movie, it’s usually aimed at a younger audience. (Looking at you Detective Pikachu.) But the best games are full of NSFW gore, morally ambiguous choices, and sometimes even elf titties. The stories games are telling are involved, adult morals and the movie adaptations are not treated with the gravity they deserve.
Changing The Story
Oh, dozens of professionals spent years of their lives carefully crafting an incredible narrative arc? Let’s just throw that out the window and cram in some new characters no one cares about shall we? You can tell when a gaming movie has been batted around the board room too much. It always feels like too many cooks adding to a story that didn’t need to change in the first place. Get your grubby, thoughtless paws off of our precious games already.