Every gamer is a victim of it. It is a thought that is bound to cross the mind when playing through the campaign of a video game. The gamer becomes truly connected to the character. When the storyline is so engaging, the gamer can’t help but think, “This would be an awesome movie.”
Unfortunately, the chances that it will be an awesome movie are slim to none. The film industry needs all the ideas it can get for new movies. In theory, video games should provide the perfect source material for filmmakers. Games and movies are set up perfectly to become the next peanut butter and jelly.
A good movie consists of an interesting plotline and multilayered characters. Video games rely on the exact same things. Although many modern games let the gamer choose the path of the main characters, they are still operating under a predetermined story arch. A good game gives users a sense of emotional attachment to the playable character and to the supporting cast.
Much of the campaign aspect of gaming already consists of watching movies. After fighting waves of enemies, non-playable cutscenes further develop the story. It all adds up to a recipe for success.
However, it has been tried many times and rarely with good results. Dead or Alive, Doom, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and the infamously horrible Street Fighter movies were all terrible.
Fans could not hide their excitement when they heard Max Payne would be developed into a film. The game franchise is tailor-made to be a movie. It’s perfectly executed film-noir elements would translate on to the big screen brilliantly. Instead, the movie adaptation was a universal failure. This has happened to video game films all too often.
Both the film and video game industry are responsible for the lack of decent video game movies. Development studios sell the silver screen rights to their games to the highest bidding production studios. After that, most game developers wash their hands of the project. The production team proceeds to put the film in the hands of a bad director with little knowledge of the game.
German director Owe Boll made a horrifyingly terrible House of the Dead movie in 2003. He continued his efforts to destroy video game franchises by directing Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne, Postal, and Far Cry films.
Paul W.S. Anderson directed the 1995 film Mortal Kombat. He also went on to direct and produce the increasingly bad Resident Evil movies. Simply avoiding these directors for future projects would help ensure the quality of the film.
Despite the overwhelming failures of most movies based on games, major film studios continue to fight for the rights to video game franchises. CBS recently purchased the movie rights to the Deus Ex franchise. Ubisoft sold the film rights for the Splinter Cell series to Paramount.
The developer is also working to bring Assassin’s Creed to theaters under their own independent production. Sony was originally in negotiations to purchase the rights to the Assassin’s Creed franchise but those talks broke off. Ubisoft even registered several domain names implicating a movie tie-in for their recently unveiled title, Watch Dogs.
The latest film that has video game and film aficionados talking is coming from a familiar yet unexpected place. Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph is set to release in November. It follows Ralph, a video game villain who is tired of being the bad guy. Several famous game characters have already appeared in the trailer.
Wreck-It Ralph shows there is still hope for video game movies. If it can follow in the footsteps of the popular Disney movies of the past, it could give game movies the forward momentum they need. In a strange twist of fate, the future between games and films might lie on the shoulders of a cartoon.
In a way, Ralph represents the current status of video game films. He plays the role of a bad guy but when the game is turned off, he wants to show that he can be a hero. Video game movies are made under circumstances in which they cannot be successful. If the movie industry would give the gaming community more respect, success will follow.