Do we need Video Game movies?

Uncharted 4 launched a month or two ago now and sure enough the rumours started right back up again concerning the long gestating Uncharted movie adaptation.It looks like Mark Walberg was once in talks to play the lead character of Nathan Drake, as was Chris Pratt, but neither seem to have been 100% confirmed to have the part.With the circus surrounding this project, it makes me wonder what the point is of adapting Uncharted (or any video game) for the big screen at all.

Games have become more cinematic as the years have gone by. The subtlety in performance by motion capture actors is now recognised as a true art form. Long gone are the days when you would laugh at a game’s poor dialogue or silly plot twists. A good game should offer the same storytelling experience that a movie does, albeit slightly more drawn out and with more action. Characters in games have the luxury of being worked on for years, gradually refining them. An actor might turn up on set for a movie for no more then 4 – 6 weeks and be expected to get it right first time.

With games becoming more like movies, whats the point of turning them into movies at all. Is it just to cash in and make a little money? Is it just to bring the game’s story to a wider audience? I’m guessing the game makers are hoping the movie will give them a new audience who might buy the next iteration of their product, and otherwise might not have done.

Movies of video games have a very poor track record. We are still waiting for that killer adaptation to break the mould and prove that games are worth a big screen remake. Super Mario Bros, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, even this summer’s Warcraft movie have all fallen at the wayside. The next big hope lies in Michael Fassbender’s outing in the Assassins Creed movie. I think the jury will be firmly out on that one until the opening weekend.

assassins-creed-movie

But why are we so determined for a great game to become a great movie? If you like a game, encourage other people to play it rather then screaming for a celluloid re-imagining. At the end of the day, movies and games are two separate entities that should be enjoyed in two separate ways. You don’t hear web developers saying “Look at this awesome website I’ve coded! – perhaps we should turn it into a movie?!” Actually, I wouldn’t put it past Hollywood to do just that. But in all seriousness, just because a game is a hit, that doesn’t mean it needs to be a film. Movie makers need to take a step back sometimes and ask “Do we really need this?”. I guess if an accountant at a studio shows a graph of potential returns and the line goes upwards – they’ll definitely try to make that movie, regardless of plot. It’s a shame.

One day they’ll get it right! (We hope!)

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