Why Movie Adaptations of Games Suck

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I agree that the interactivity kills movie adaptations of video games. Also there is one story that the guy is who he is and does what he does despite how you would do it. One example that made me angry was the hitman movie. When I played those games I made it a point to try to kill everyone on the stage innocents and evil doers alike because well that was fun to me and what better way to not have witnesses. Then I watch the movie and he falls for some russian sex slave Instead of jabbing a meathook into her throat and I was a little bit saddened.

I've always thought video games were closer to novels than to films. Where a film is event, a book can be an invested experience. No matter how good a film gets and no matter how much the memory of it sticks in your head, you'll never become attached to the characters or the world in quite the same way or degree.

The biggest factor however is that the best games, like the best books, are a one-man affair while they're experienced and a social affair in between. When I visit my parents they'll always at some point start discussing whatever book they're reading in a shockingly similar way to how two kids would talk about a videogame. They talk about their progress in the story and their theories on so-and-so's ulterior motives, an so on.

The best way to adopt a videogame to a movie would be to avoid the game's main story and characters at all cost but keep the setting and timeframe intact. I don't want to re-experience how everyman Shepard saved the day once again, I want to see what Garrus is up to in his free time, or even just some random fleet of soldiers fighting a space war in space.

The main problem with movie adaptations is that fans do not want to see their favorite game turned into a movie. Instead of that, they just want to see the game adapted word for word, scene by scene movie from one medium to the other. That is not how it works. There needs to be room for a movie to come out what's written and it that means things get dropped, events gets changed around, friends in one medium are now enemies in another, and multiple characters get combined into one, then so be it. If that also means heretofore unknown vampire powers emerge because it would make sense for them to be there, so be it as well.

You need to make changes from one format to another in order for it work. Watchmen is a terrible adaptation not because of the giant squid. The movie had a lot more problems than that. Although a lot of you want to invest some cosmic meaning to it, about how it symbolizes such and such, its inclusion in the comic book series was rushed and poorly thought out. Alan Moore said so himself and even said that he did not like that in his original work and oule change it at a moment's notice.

The reason why it failed as an adaptation is because it was too faithful to the source material. It felt like looking at the motion comic version of the comic book and that is not an adaptation. It is regurgitation and nothing else.

My version of Watchmen would mostly be about Rorschach, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, and Ozymandias. Anything that does not aid their story line would be gone from the movie. That would mean Poppa Smurf, the Comedian, and 90 percent of the ancillary characters are gone. When that does not leave me enough material to get to a 110 page script, then I would add more to it. If that also means that Ozymandias was the one that kills Rorschach instead of Manhatten, that's going to happen in my adaptation.

A lot of you would hate that version, but I do not care. None of you would ever be 100% satisfied anyway. Even though the movie followed the comic book almost incestuously for 99 percent of it, a lot of you still hate it for not having the giant squid. So I am not going to cater to you in my adaptation.

IMO the reason why movies based on games (vice versa) almost always fail is because for one reason or another they are not given the time, money, talent, etc. needed to make them good. Many (if not all) of the movies based on games are written/directed by people who have little to no knowledge of the source material or are forced to make changes by producers who know nothing about it. Games based on movies almost always suck because they are made in a fraction of the normal production time so that they can coincide with the movie release.

It's not that you can't make/expand the story for the movie it's just a lack of effort and/or giving a shit about the source material combined with budget limitations and corporate interference.

malestrithe:
The main problem with movie adaptations is that fans do not want to see their favorite game turned into a movie. Instead of that, they just want to see the game adapted word for word, scene by scene movie from one medium to the other. That is not how it works. There needs to be room for a movie to come out what's written and it that means things get dropped, events gets changed around, friends in one medium are now enemies in another, and multiple characters get combined into one, then so be it. If that also means heretofore unknown vampire powers emerge because it would make sense for them to be there, so be it as well.

You need to make changes from one format to another in order for it work. Watchmen is a terrible adaptation not because of the giant squid. The movie had a lot more problems than that. Although a lot of you want to invest some cosmic meaning to it, about how it symbolizes such and such, its inclusion in the comic book series was rushed and poorly thought out. Alan Moore said so himself and even said that he did not like that in his original work and oule change it at a moment's notice.

The reason why it failed as an adaptation is because it was too faithful to the source material. It felt like looking at the motion comic version of the comic book and that is not an adaptation. It is regurgitation and nothing else.

My version of Watchmen would mostly be about Rorschach, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, and Ozymandias. Anything that does not aid their story line would be gone from the movie. That would mean Poppa Smurf, the Comedian, and 90 percent of the ancillary characters are gone. When that does not leave me enough material to get to a 110 page script, then I would add more to it. If that also means that Ozymandias was the one that kills Rorschach instead of Manhatten, that's going to happen in my adaptation.

A lot of you would hate that version, but I do not care. None of you would ever be 100% satisfied anyway. Even though the movie followed the comic book almost incestuously for 99 percent of it, a lot of you still hate it for not having the giant squid. So I am not going to cater to you in my adaptation.

I don't see how Watchmen was a regurgitation of the comic. It was faithful, but the creative liberties Zack Snyder took and the boldness of his directing just make it something completely unique. He reworked each character line for line, scne for scene and in my opinion improved most of them quite considerably. Even the montage at the beginning is an incredible work of adaptation. Turning pages and pages of backstory, diary excerpts, biographies and historical event into an animated universe that vivid, it blew my mind. And the soundtrack. Snyder really had balls to take massive songs like those and work them into the narrative so expertly, that is what adaptation is all about. I'll never concede that the Watchmen film is anything less than a ground shaking masterpiece. It's a magnificent adaptation not because it copied the book scene for scene, but because it used all the tools it had to make something much, much larger.

The_root_of_all_evil:
... lots of the Dr Who Novelisations are very good (Nightmare of Eden, The Claws of Axos, City of Death - because they can show without BBC's lack lustre effects)...

If you like Dr Who novelizations, I would suggest their spin-off - The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield.

Finally he expands upon what he said in the The Common Mistakes of Horror Games extra punct he did 1 and half years ago :D

Best movie based on a game?

Clue.

-.- ...

movies games don't suck cause 'there's nothing to add or expand on' that's a stupid notion, no matter what your working on there always room to expand

they suck because they are rushed out, the devs have little to no time do build anything resembling 'quality work' with few exceptions, and the two note worthy exceptions (Batman on the NES and X-Men Origins: Wolverine) are good, in part, for NOT fallowing the movie to the letter, instead choosing to pretty much make stuff up. also, because they are a rushed product, they tend to be buggy and have control issues that'd make a Buddhist monk cry out in rage.

all to be released the same time as the movie. what movie games need to be good is TIME, not more crap shoved in. they need time to bug test, time to get the controls working right and so on, LIKE A NORMAL GAME -.-

Stealing idea's from your podcasts don't count Yahtzee you scumbag

Why does everyone always completely forget about the Professor Layton movie?
It's the only good video game adaptation ever produced, and that doesn't change just because it only came out in Europe and Asia. It had all the characters, it had the same visual style, it even had numbered puzzles, and it still managed to tell a fun, well-paced story that could be easily enjoyed by people who never played the games.

Henson:
Best movie based on a game?

Clue.

And yet, sadly, how many people even remember it?

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Why Movie Adaptations of Games Suck

Yahtzee offers his theory explaining why such movies are doomed to failure.

Read Full Article

I though it was one of those unbreakable laws of the Universe, like how you can't go faster than light or laws of thermodynamics, or Bill Paxton never have a lead role in good movies.

Although I always felt that a comedy ballet adaptation of the Wind Waker would have some hilarious potential...

Why Movie Adaptations of Games Suck: Uwe Boll

Best movie based on a game?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazes_and_Monsters

I think that some material is better for adaption than others, irregardless of it's original medium. The problem is that the guys doing the adapting rarely care about the suitability of the material, so much as whether the franchise name is going to get attention and draw people in.

Some people are probably going to want to lynch me for this, but I thought that first Mortal Kombat movie was actually pretty decent. It could stand up fairly well if you didn't know if was a video game, and I've seen far worse movies in the martial arts genere. It worked as well as it did, was because the plot of the game was pretty simple, basically a Gladiatorial fight to determine the fate of the world conducting on the island of an evil sorceror. It was basically "Enter the Dragon" with more camp and supernatural stuff thrown, the bad guy being a wizard as opposed to some dude who likes to screw weapons onto his arm stump, and the wizard is out to pretty much unleash hell on earth, as opposed to just running a heroin syndicate. Now granted the costumes and such could have been better, but a lot of the choreography was decent, and it got the job done, and while it didn't really go heavily into Mortal Kombat mythology and altered some of the characters, it got the job done.

The sequel to Mortal Kombat was however horrendous, but largelty because they decided to make it more complicated, and managed to cross that line from camp to just absolutly ridiculous.

It's basically the same as the short stories, as opposed to novels. Except with games you really need one that hits the sweet spot of being basic, while still having an identifiable amount of lore that gives it a unique and identifiable feel. If there is too much or too little there it's going to fail.

I see the failing mostly be on the part of the guys making the movies picking the wrong games to try and turn into franchises that exist on multiple platforms, rather than video games inherantly being unsuitable to make games out of on general principle.

It's the corperate mentality in action, when a video game movie gets made the guys doing it probably look at how popular a given video game franchise is, and then decide to adapt it, relying on name recognition to sell tickets irregardless of quality. I very much doubt you see guys looking at video games, finding one that looks like it could be turned into a good movie, and saying "hey this game isn't really popular, but we could do a good movie out of this and make some money". Largely because the latter doesn't hold the promise of guaranteeing huge piles of money for minimal effort. If you saw differant standards used for finding games to make movies out of, and slowly worked on doing this kind of thing right, I think there would be less concerns over potential adaptions.

Of course this is increasingly becoming a moot point, to be honest I get the impression that game developers nowadays increasingly want to make movies, we see less and less gameplay involved in RPGS, and more cinematics being added to action games. One big piece of gaming news right now is hatred over these trends being directed at some lady who proposed them years ago in sounding off about wanting to make "all the gameplay in games skippable" which is alarmingly close to where a lot of things are going.

In a few years it might not matter because your video game might functionally not be all that differant from a movie, and a lot of "gamers" might be people who just watch cartoons sold as games. :)

Really, the only reason that most game-movie adaptations suck is because Uwe Boll's made most of them and has made a lot of quick cash abusing the German tax system(seriously, if you think America's system sucks, take a look at Germany) by making shitty, unprofitable movies in order to get huge write-offs. Think The Producers, but with a douchecunt German instead of a pair of opportunistic assholes.

There have been movie adaptations that were actually good(Resident Evil 1, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Advent Children), movie adaptations that were decent(Doom, Tekken...kinda, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider), and then movie adaptations that were so horrible I'd rather castrate myself with a rusty plastic spork than watch them again(Legend of Chun Li, the collective works of Uwe Boll, and Super Mario Brothers).

It really depends on who is behind it and whether or not they have the chops to know what should go in and what should come out.

I'm willing to bet the Halo movie, which was to be helmed by Peter-Freakin'-Jackson, would've been awesome had it not been canned out of fear of losing money(one of many reasons I'd love to stomp Boll into the ground, which I'm more than capable of doing). The same is the case with the upcoming Mass Effect movie, which has Bioware involvement behind it at the very least, meaning we'll get ourselves a fairly faithful adaptation.

I have yet to see a truly great game to movie adaptation, so im with you.

The real reason game-to-film adaptions are all garbage is because filmmakers think gamers are all dumb twats who wouldn't know a good movie if it slapped them in the face, so you might as well just give them a big special effects bonanza filled with sexy women and fanservice.

They're probably right.

They suck because movies are a bussiness that DEPENDS on making quick cash at the expenses of the people and shitting on people that says that movies are art. Making shitty video game movies makes the game industry look like crap and a source of making fun off the people that plays them.

Lets look at it this way: Making lots of bad video game movies will make the people that are non gamers to use their monkey heads and find a pattern, that pattern is that every single game is just a bunch of shallow characters doing cool stuff and nothing else. The public will have a solid impression of video games JUST based on that and nothing else because they are too lazy to think that something different is going to happen.

Lets use a video game example now: As far as gamers know, the "Space Marine Saves The World" has been "invented" by Doom and today EVERYONE is copying Gears of Wars with the "Space Marine who saves the world and is an mindless brute that you are unable to tell if he is angry because someone close to him died or angry because there isnt enough monsters to kill"

What people dont know is that the Space Marine concept has been invented/popularized by Warhammer 40K and they are more like Warrior Poets that happens to be extremely armed to the teeth because the universe is unforgiving as fuck. Just recently games of this franchise have appeared. Unfortunately, the sole MENTION of Space Marines bring the memories of Halo and Gears of Wars and all the crap that your brain can conjure follows.

People will not be thinking this: "Oh, Warhammer 40K, finally the franchise that has spawned the concept of Space Marine will have a place in the gaming world. Perhaps i can understand what is so popular about this franchise that spawned countless of stand alone stories"

Instead they will be thinking this instead: "AAH FUCK, ANOTHER space marine bullshit?? Worse of all, its the original piece of crap that started all this nonsense. And i dont want any of you fanboys to tell me that because it is the original it means its better, if that were true then the people "inspired" by this would have made the same thing but with expanded attributes instead of the shallow crap i see people play everyday. I am not going to bother paying for this thing"

So as you can see, the movie industry is making a tactic that benefits them in the long run by eliminating a possible treat. By ridiculing the games it will make gamers feel ashamed of the games and ALSO by making outsiders pressure gamers into other activities that are less "childish" or "stupid" even if there is plenty evidence of the contrary.

But of course you all are too busy screaming at each other when one innocent soul comments negatively on a game you like (further cementing the stereotype of "angry immature gamer") instead of embracing the criticism and help to make a better community so the non gamers will be less afraid and apathetic to look for answers.

No, please, go on making angry comments on the guy that said that Skyrim and Uncharted sucks, go waste your time on it while a bunch of producers make billions of dollars by making shitty movies out of your favorite game that you will see as the mindless fanboy you are.

Fools

As I would hope we all know by now, one of the most inevitably disastrous transfers in culture is videogame to film. And that's surely because it involves the removal of the central aspect of a videogame, the interactivity. A lot of videogame stories and characters are still rather hideously clichéd and badly written, but the gameplay aspect can carry them through that. Put under the unforgiving black eye of the film camera, they don't have a leg to stand on.

There it is. The exact reason why I've always found movie adaptation of games to be complete failures. They remove the vast array of possibilities, of what ifs.

Also, I actually liked David Lynch's Dune, but maybe that's because I saw it before I read the books. Still, even in retrospect, I thought it had its strengths and its weaknesses, just like all movie adaptations. (Of course I still find Frank Herbert's work to be vastly superior, but I still liked Lynch's version. Plus, it had Sting coming out of a steam shower in a metallic underwear. Can't beat that.)

Your comparison to novels was a very good point. I hadn't thought about it, but you are correct - I feel very similarly invested in a good game than when reading an engrossing book - it's a different feeling to being immersed in a movie or tv event.

However, STRONGLY disagree with any ambiguity of enhancement with regard to redacting the Scouring of the Shire from the LotR movie - it was a terrible move.

They made plenty of other cuts which I consider fair license for what Jackson was attempting - and I was quite surprised at the number of things he did end up shooting when I watched the extended editions. But Scouring was the most important event in the whole epic, making the actual point of the tale and completing the character arcs of the hobbits, which in the end was the main theme of the Lord of the Rings.

Further, what they did with Christopher Lee's unsurpassable Saruman was bordering on criminal. His final vicious and ultimately pathetic stand in the Shire made some very important points which the movie not only missed, but also seemingly deliberately avoided. Most specifically, his supernatural nature. Him falling like a sack of sh-potatoes onto a spike in the films utterly broke the thematic point of having a demigod as a characterised, humanised character. In the book, he correctly melts into his divine-spirit nature, but is rejected by the powers of heaven - and it would have looked really cool on film too.
/geekrant

IMO it always depends on the kind of talent that goes into said movie. While I try not to dismiss a movie adpaptation of a game on the basis that such things suck in general, the work of certain producers *coughcoughUweBollcoughcough* will inevitably spring to mind.

On a less serious note:

If you want to play a game about being a be-tentacled horror walking among contemporary humans disguised as one of their own, you strange person, I would heartily recommend Prototype over Darkness 2

While Prototype and The Darkness 2 are good examples of this, they have nothing on Octodad.

image

I think the only times this can be successful is when creating something within the "universe" or lore of a franchise. The Mass Effect novels aren't about Shepherd. Arkham Asylum and Nolan's Batman don't even exist in the same continuity. The Bourne books and films have similar names and plotlines but you could easily change the names of the films to Jason Bradley's adventures and only a handful of people would say "They stole that first bit from Bourne Identity".

But this fits Yahztee's theory. They expand and add, they're not taking things away.

The only other two successful adaptions that don't follow this route are Harry Potter and LOTR. And they only seem to work because they slavishly follow the books. It may skim some parts but almost every single scene in the book is represented in the films. LOTR veers off quite a bit but only after the first book and only when 90% of people who read LOTR (when they were 14) probably can't tell it's not quite following the books in some parts.

The interactivity is a big part of why film adaptations of games fail because you give the protagonist a character and voice, and behaviours which are probably incongruous to what the play gave them. As Yahtzee said, movies are too short to tell game stories. For this reason I always feel a tv series adaptation of a game franchise would be more successful. Imagine a "Lost" style series based on Fallout. Or what about Oblivion (Game of Thrones isn't far off). Left 4 Dead is basically The Walking Dead. I'd personally love one set in the Half-life universe.

However, attempting to reproduce the exact same dialogue and scenes as the game would kill it. It's the theme, tone, and concepts of games that are marketable. Not the exact same material in a different medium.

Raiyan 1.0:

The_root_of_all_evil:
... lots of the Dr Who Novelisations are very good (Nightmare of Eden, The Claws of Axos, City of Death - because they can show without BBC's lack lustre effects)...

If you like Dr Who novelizations, I would suggest their spin-off - The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield.

I looked at them, but they didn't really grab me. The Sapphire and Steel re-boots are awesome-sauce though. David Warner makes a great Steel.

Henson:
Best movie based on a game?

Clue.

Oooh, good call :)

I was contemplating on this issue for some time couple of months ago when I was playing Assassin's Creed: Revelations. The thought of AC movie was stuck in my head the entire time, because I'd read that Ubisoft wants to make an AC movie.
It is impossible to make a good movie out of Assassin's Creed. At least using Desmond's story. Just think how many things would have to be thrown out immediately. Just Ezio's story spans for nearly 40 years. Even if they made as many movies as there are games in the series they would still have to butcher the story and characters.
I'm not even sure you could make long running TV show out of it. Maybe HBO could. If they hired David Fincher to direct the whole show. With a project like that, made by artists for the sake of storytelling and not a quick money grab, the lack of interactivity between the authors and consumers ceases to be a problem. But something like that won't happen any time soon. The same is true for majority of story driven video games today.

There were a couple of movie adaptations that worked because the director tried to keep things simple.

1. Mortal Kombat
2. Resident Evil (the first one, the others have been getting progressively worse to the point where an evil corporation can weaponize the awfulness)

When he said "Books", I was totally expecting him to do a "Hey, I wrote a book too" publicity stunt (for lack of a better word). Either that, or the new Mass Effect book.

Most video game movie adaptations have such poor production quality and are so slapdash that it's not as if we even get to think about the failings of the story. For those that do at least meet minimum production levels, yes, we're then faced with the general problem that what makes a good game doesn't make a good movie.

I think the book metaphor is interesting, but there's only so far you can go with it. Without using any specific spoilery examples, you're still locked into the choices that the author has made as far as how the characters interact with the plot. Sure, you've got a special effects and casting budget limited only by your imagination, but I think we've all read books that, like many video game movies, couldn't be saved by the best actors and most awesome effects in the world.

It helps when there's already a vast amount of source material to draw from, such as with most comic book characters. You don't need to make the game after the recent movie, or even comic, but can draw upon the decades of storylines to craft something, much like Arkham Asylum does.

The transition between movie and game, no matter which way you go, is fairly hard to navigate correctly, and it's mostly because of Yahtzee's first point about taking a 40 hour experience and trying to put it into a 2 hour experience, and it holds true for the reverse. Either there's too much to fill a tiny space, or far too little to fill a huge space.

I HATED them for taking out the shire part and this first guy in the forest. Really. Only to put in hours of marriage and saying goodbye...

You know, I was kind of hoping he would bring up movies adapted into video games. Was that just me?

... Eh, he probably would have had nothing better to say than-- Oh, he did talk about that. Huh. That'll teach me to skim through these.

But he does have a major point. That's why I've been secretly preforming black magic rituals at night, sacrificing so many lambs. "Don't make an Assassin's Creed movie! I like the series!" Alas, my pleas are starting to become ignored.

The Crazy Legs:
That's why I've been secretly preforming black magic rituals at night, sacrificing so many lambs. "Don't make an Assassin's Creed movie! I like the series!" Alas, my pleas are starting to become ignored.

They actually did make a movie in the Assassin's Creed universe. Assassin's Creed: Lineage was a short film about Giovanni Auditore, Ezio's father. It was almost exactly like the games: Brief cutscene of Italian politics, faff about on rooftops, have an acrobatic fight scene, lather rinse and repeat. Season heavily with game tie-ins because they were marketing Assassin's Creed 2. So it felt almost exactly like the game played. The actual plot was wafer-thin (all it did was set up AC2), but you could possibly do a full movie in the same style.

I think it's wrong to try and draw any broad conclusions from the history of game-to-film adaptations. Most of the games adapted have been either fighting games or survival horror. In addition, there are the action/adventure games Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia. All of these games borrowed their stories and characters straight from well-worn movie standards, so adapting them back to cinema is like reheating last night's pizza.

While there have been a few games that I've thought had genuinely interesting characters and stories, I've never played a game that I felt was crying out to be adapted to film. That's just not the direction inspiration is flowing in at the moment and it will take enormous force to turn that around.

But I don't think it's impossible, it just has to take the additive approach described in the article. Games typically create a considerable wealth of lore and there are always back-stories that exist beyond the scope of the game, perhaps due to a lack of action. A film that tries to expand upon a game rather than recreate it should have the potential to be successful, given a sufficiently interesting source.

Note: In researching this, I discover that no US theatrically released movie based on a video game has ever broken the 50% mark on Rotten Tomatoes [thank you Wikipedia]. In spite of that, in 2010, Prince of Persia and Resident Evil between them made over six hundred million dollars at the box office. Make of that what you will.

disappointed:

Note: In researching this, I discover that no US theatrically released movie based on a video game has ever broken the 50% mark on Rotten Tomatoes [thank you Wikipedia]. In spite of that, in 2010, Prince of Persia and Resident Evil between them made over six hundred million dollars at the box office. Make of that what you will.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/professor_layton_and_the_eternal_diva/ - Running at 73% Audience rating

And we know that game movies are looked upon as "childish drivel"

Look at the review for Double Dragon: 0% (Despite the average score being 3.2/10)

The Hottie and the Nottie gets 5% (despite being 2.6/10 average)

Which film would you prefer to see if forced?

Other choice Meet The Spartans 2% (1.9/10)

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