Enough of Making Video Games into Movies Already

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CritialGaming:

Happyninja42:

That's pretty much every movie studio ever.

And sadly it is also become every game studio too.

Although to be fair, I'd say Marvel is doing a pretty good fucking job of making awesome comic book films. Warner Bros and DC....not so much.

Yes, they are making very profitable movies. But a lot of people in the movie review sphere are criticizing Marvel for basically making the same movie over and over. Cookie cutter stories without any real substance to them. Ok, maybe " a lot" is a bit inaccurate, I've never actually counted them, but I know at least half a dozen or so people have been very negatively critical of Marvel and it's movie machine. So even they aren't doing it just "for the love of the material". In fact I would say most people involved aren't in it for the source material, they're in it because it's basically a license to print money.

Happyninja42:

CritialGaming:

Happyninja42:

That's pretty much every movie studio ever.

And sadly it is also become every game studio too.

Although to be fair, I'd say Marvel is doing a pretty good fucking job of making awesome comic book films. Warner Bros and DC....not so much.

Yes, they are making very profitable movies. But a lot of people in the movie review sphere are criticizing Marvel for basically making the same movie over and over. Cookie cutter stories without any real substance to them. Ok, maybe " a lot" is a bit inaccurate, I've never actually counted them, but I know at least half a dozen or so people have been very negatively critical of Marvel and it's movie machine. So even they aren't doing it just "for the love of the material". In fact I would say most people involved aren't in it for the source material, they're in it because it's basically a license to print money.

Critics are critics, and sometimes a film critic negatively reviews a film that they are clearly not the market for. There is no such thing as a 100% objective review and critic preferences are always going to be at least a little bias. Which is why I like to see a large sampling of "fan reviews" are everything I look at, from movies, and video games, because nobody is more honest than fans.

And yes, there is never ever going to be 100% fan satisfaction. But usually there is an overall consensus on a given thing to provide at least a good enough general feeling. I typically watch a few youtubers play a video game's first 20-30 minutes before I buy a game, in order to judge whether I will also enjoy a game.

CritialGaming:

Critics are critics, and sometimes a film critic negatively reviews a film that they are clearly not the market for. There is no such thing as a 100% objective review and critic preferences are always going to be at least a little bias. Which is why I like to see a large sampling of "fan reviews" are everything I look at, from movies, and video games, because nobody is more honest than fans.

And yes, there is never ever going to be 100% fan satisfaction. But usually there is an overall consensus on a given thing to provide at least a good enough general feeling. I typically watch a few youtubers play a video game's first 20-30 minutes before I buy a game, in order to judge whether I will also enjoy a game.

By that logic, Michael Bay films are some of the greatest films ever made xD If we're going by fan opinions and ticket sales.

Happyninja42:

CritialGaming:

Critics are critics, and sometimes a film critic negatively reviews a film that they are clearly not the market for. There is no such thing as a 100% objective review and critic preferences are always going to be at least a little bias. Which is why I like to see a large sampling of "fan reviews" are everything I look at, from movies, and video games, because nobody is more honest than fans.

And yes, there is never ever going to be 100% fan satisfaction. But usually there is an overall consensus on a given thing to provide at least a good enough general feeling. I typically watch a few youtubers play a video game's first 20-30 minutes before I buy a game, in order to judge whether I will also enjoy a game.

By that logic, Michael Bay films are some of the greatest films ever made xD If we're going by fan opinions and ticket sales.

Actually the average rotten tomato user score for the Transformer movies is only a 51%. The first one was the only one people seemed to like and we can probably chalk that up to it being the first one. Sure those movies made a shit ton of money, but I would argue that they can a very campy feel to them that make them fun, but not good, movies. Much like the video game movies of the 90's.

Also don't you dare start talking trash about Bad Boys 2!

I don't know when he wrote this but Angry Birds is at 42% on RT It isn't even Fresh anymore.

CritialGaming:

Happyninja42:

CritialGaming:

Critics are critics, and sometimes a film critic negatively reviews a film that they are clearly not the market for. There is no such thing as a 100% objective review and critic preferences are always going to be at least a little bias. Which is why I like to see a large sampling of "fan reviews" are everything I look at, from movies, and video games, because nobody is more honest than fans.

And yes, there is never ever going to be 100% fan satisfaction. But usually there is an overall consensus on a given thing to provide at least a good enough general feeling. I typically watch a few youtubers play a video game's first 20-30 minutes before I buy a game, in order to judge whether I will also enjoy a game.

By that logic, Michael Bay films are some of the greatest films ever made xD If we're going by fan opinions and ticket sales.

Actually the average rotten tomato user score for the Transformer movies is only a 51%. The first one was the only one people seemed to like and we can probably chalk that up to it being the first one. Sure those movies made a shit ton of money, but I would argue that they can a very campy feel to them that make them fun, but not good, movies. Much like the video game movies of the 90's.

Also don't you dare start talking trash about Bad Boys 2!

As much as I like Bad Boys 2, being better in action, set pieces, and comedy; it does not hold a candle to the villain (Fouchet) in the first movie. I found the Bad Boys 2 villain underwhelming, a wimp in comparison , and a cliched, stereotypical Cartel drug lord from 80s/early 90s action films. It made the plot feel like not having much agency. I know it's an Micheal Bay action film, but still in any action film, there has to be a sense of urgency or threat. What's-his-face from the 2nd movie felt like a glorified elite mook in charge, than an actual boss. Mr. X could give him a whole bunch of lessons of being an immediate or overwhelming threat.

And speaking of Bay movies, his best ones are The Rock, Bad Boys I & II, and Transformers: AoE. The very last one I give a B-. I would give Transformers 4 a higher rating, had they bothered to drop that stupid May-December "romance plot" nobody cared about. Even hardcore fans of the live-action films hated it. Here's hoping he never bothers with crap like that again, and just make the next movie 2 hours exactly.

I'm surprised no one is complaining about Yahtzee saying no one can play Drake when Nathan Fillion, David Boreanaz, Eddie Mclintock, and for some reason Mark Walberg all seem to be fighting over the roll the first three of them would have been perfect for about 5 years ago.

Thanks Yahtzee. This is exactly what I was thinking when I saw that "8 fictional Universes that need their own movie" article last week, although I couldn't quite articulate it as well. However for these exact reasons I have to ask again why some of us seem to want to see more video game movies.

I think you only have to look at box office receipts to see why the mainstream punters think that films are better than games. Hollywood is one of the biggest influences on popular Western cultural there is, sadly. Most of what it puts out is tripe.

I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to adapt games into movies if it's just for the sake of reaching wider audiences, the problem is people who adapt them just don't fucking get that trying to cram the whole story from the game is never going to work when games are like 6-8 hours long on average (discounting lunch-break-long FPS's and play-on-the-toilet-long RPGs) while most movies in Hollywood these days barely scratch the hour-and-a-half mark. It's further obvious that the people making the adaptions don't get the games they wanna adapt, because if they did they would recognize this issue, and either try to create a much more condensed version of the game (Try adapting a story x5 times longer than the time you have in a comprehensible way that also won't piss off existing fans), create a completely different story merely based on the lore of the game (Much more plausible but guaranteed to alinate certain fans and could well result in story and characters not being as memorable as the ones in the game), or just don't even fucking bother, which is probably the best choice despite me not really having a big issue with them at least trying.

tiamat5:
I don't know when he wrote this but Angry Birds is at 42% on RT It isn't even Fresh anymore.

It's only the highest by virtue of being the newest. It's going to tank out of the universe soon.

The problem with adapting video games to movies is that the stories in video games are often shite but they seem better because we're interacting with them. One of the things that's always stood out to me about the first Resident Evil movie is that, when I was walking out of the theater, a gamer was telling me all the things that they felt were wrong with the film and one of the things that he said is "There weren't even any crest puzzles in the movie."

Really? You'd really want to see Milla backtrack through the base to find the three parts of a rooster crest?!?

Yahtzee himself has mentioned this. Example of Yahtzee criticism: Silent Hill Origins where the protagonist decides to hang around the town instead of leaving (which is pretty much every white person in a horror film ever so that's probably a bad example).

Recently, because of the GOG sale, I decided to play the Witcher 2 that I had gotten free with Gold on the 360. While I do like the character interactions and I could see myself becoming a big Geralt/Triss shipper, I'd be hard pressed to think of a point where I actually cared about the overall story for the parts that I played. (I didn't finish Chapter 1 because, by then, my apathy towards the story and an overall clunky game mechanic convinced me that I'm not the audience for the game.) If I had to watch this as a movie, I probably would have walked out.

Some games do have a really good story but, for the most part, the games that we really like don't have stories that can stand on their own without the interactivity.

thepyrethatburns:
Some games do have a really good story but, for the most part, the games that we really like don't have stories that can stand on their own without the interactivity.

That's a point I've seen a number of people point out when it comes to stories in games. If you were to publish majority of video game stories in nearly any other medium, it would fall quite flat. Go look up any number of video games adapted into novels. Those that are a direct adaptions of the games themselves are nowhere near considered the pinnacle of literature.

The main reason why we hold them up so high is because, well, the game is about us, you, the player. Who was the guy who defeated the Demon King? You did with the help and power of friendship. Who was the guy who saved the first world? You did by taking down the organizations and terrorists responsible. Who is the guy who took down an entire starship? You did buy taking their own bomb and delivering it right back. Who was it that fought the baddest and worst demons in Hell? You did buy taking them down with a shotgun in one hand and a chainsaw in the other, and beat them to death with their own appendages when the opportunity presented itself. You see where I'm going with this.

Also, it is worth pointing out that when anyone who actually has a background in writing for films, books, television, etc. comes to work on games, they're treated with hostility most of the time (Unless the person is Japanese). I can understand the person just using games to just push their own agenda, but what about those who actually want the medium to advance toward something greater? While it did take programmers like Steve Russell (Spacewar!) and Nolan Bushnell (found of Atari) to first make the games, it was also the work of people like Don Bluth (Dragon's Lair) and Steven Spielberg (Medal of Honor) to progress the medium beyond just the little dots on a screen.

Transdude1996:
Go look up any number of video games adapted into novels. Those that are a direct adaptions of the games themselves are nowhere near considered the pinnacle of literature.

Not considering something "the pinnacle of literature" isn't much of a derogatory term, since while I've read plenty of genuinely good tie-in works, it's a rigged game to say that they're not up to snuff due to lack of greatness. Likewise, how many film novelizations are considered the pinnacle of literature?

If the argument is being made that works that directly adapt the game are inferior than works that are inspired by the universe as a whole, then I agree that that's true, most of the time. However, as someone who's written a number of fan novelizations (games or otherwise), and have seen decent fan novelizations of games, the reasons why that is, I've found the direct adaptations to be more lacking has not been universal. For instance:

-Assassin's Creed: The Secret Crusade (trying to fit 2-3 games into one novel)
-Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (not a direct novelization, and fairly decent, but it's trying to cover a lot of material - it benefits from essentially being a companion to the game rather than a direct adaptation)
-Doom: Knee Deep in the Dead & Hell on Earth (absolute dogshit, but it's more due to how they're written. Doom would be a nightmare to novelize, and I've actually toyed around with it for the sheer challenge of such an endeavor, but the books are simply so poorly written that even if Doom was a storytelling masterpiece, it wouldn't save them)
-Doom 3: Maelstrom (somewhat decent, but the lesser of the Doom 3 novel duo. But again, it's trying to fit 10+ hours of game-time into a few hundred pages, and it tells a lot of side-plots as well)
-Halo: The Flood (Similar to the original Doom novels in that you're trying to novelize a game that's about combat 90% of the time. It's decent, but it doesn't hold a candle to most of the other Halo novels)
-Resident Evil (the rare exception where the novelizations are better than the spin-offs. Mind you, I don't think any of them are better than average)
-StarCraft: Liberty's Crusade/Queen of Blades (Rough novelizations of "Rebel Yell" and "Overmind" - both are more side-stories than full-blown novelizations, but they're both decent enough)
-Warcraft: The Last Guardian/Tides of Darkness/Beyond the Dark Portal (Mixed - they're kind of on par with the games themselves, but only in the sense that the games are sparse in story. You're basically trading scope and length for increased character focus)

Technically I've read a lot more of the Assassin's Creed books, but the first game is the only one I've played, so I can't compare how they stack up on the story front. I've found the novels to be very hit or miss, and it doesn't help that they don't have the framing device of the present to explain why the series keeps jumping around in timeframe)

So, in case you haven't spotted the pattern, I'll spell it out. Game novelizations tend to falter because the game is either:

a) Light on story and/or combat focused (Doom, Halo), so it isn't going to work out in novel format as well
b) Is so large that compressing it into novel format is going to cost the end product (Tiberium Wars, Doom 3)

It's probably why the best novelizations tend to be the ones that either tell side-stories, or have flexibility in their approach (e.g. StarCraft and Warcraft) It's why, for example, I think Peptuck's novelization of Tiberium Wars is superior to deCandido's, even if he never finished it. Because he had the time to go into full depth rather than compressing the length of a full game with three campaigns into a few hundred pages.

Transdude1996:
The main reason why we hold them up so high is because, well, the game is about us, you, the player. Who was the guy who defeated the Demon King? You did with the help and power of friendship. Who was the guy who saved the first world? You did by taking down the organizations and terrorists responsible. Who is the guy who took down an entire starship? You did buy taking their own bomb and delivering it right back. Who was it that fought the baddest and worst demons in Hell? You did buy taking them down with a shotgun in one hand and a chainsaw in the other, and beat them to death with their own appendages when the opportunity presented itself. You see where I'm going with this.

Yeah...I really don't by this. It doesn't help that I personally detest the idea of "you" in a story (this isn't just games, choose your own adventure books were doing this long before), that apart from the rare exception, "you" has never been an asset for me. Every so often you get someone like Commander Shepard, but the appeal there is that while you can direct their personality, they still have a personality in the end, and aren't some blank slate for "you" to fill. You draw particular reference to Doom in the assessment. That "you" are the Doomguy isn't an asset. Doomguy has a personality outside "you" (he's a psychopath), and the original Doom games don't succeed on story in any level (bar storytelling, maybe, but then, only in Doom I). I can name a lot of game stories I like, but I don't think I could name any where the idea of "you" was the reason for them succeeding.

Xsjadoblayde:
Are films really a mark of prestige for these IPs? Or are they more about reaching to a wider audience, like a gateway drug to videogames? I know some people who watched the Hitman film and were inspired to try the games. Granted, these were females who inevitably fancy the pants off bald Timothy Olyphant, but it's a bloody start, right? They found themselves enjoying the games, so i'd chalk that up as a positive. I think maybe you're getting a little over defensive of your videogames, they don't need protecting from the big bad movie business. There will always be cash grabs, but that does not mean it cannot be done well, it's just the reasoning going into these projects are often cynical. And what was wrong with Prince of Persia?? Ben Kingsley frowns upon you!! :)

That's interesting, because 47 barely acts like the game character in those movies, its all action and very little of what makes the games special, the planning and stealth. Did they end up playing the game with stealth/accidents or did they go guns blazing?

Xsjadoblayde:
Are films really a mark of prestige for these IPs? Or are they more about reaching to a wider audience, like a gateway drug to videogames? I know some people who watched the Hitman film and were inspired to try the games. Granted, these were females who inevitably fancy the pants off bald Timothy Olyphant, but it's a bloody start, right? They found themselves enjoying the games, so i'd chalk that up as a positive. I think maybe you're getting a little over defensive of your videogames, they don't need protecting from the big bad movie business. There will always be cash grabs, but that does not mean it cannot be done well, it's just the reasoning going into these projects are often cynical. And what was wrong with Prince of Persia?? Ben Kingsley frowns upon you!! :)

You can thank Roland for this response, as I missed your original post.

I think having a film adaptation is usually a mark of prestige. And no, it's not because games are a "lesser medium," it's because that, if only motivated by profit, it means the core material is either good enough or big enough (or heck, both) to warrant the attention. So sometimes we get great adaptations of great works (e.g. Lord of the Rings), so-so adaptations of so-so works (e.g. Eragon), so-so adaptations of great works (e.g. Harry Potter), or great adaptations of lacklustre works (e.g. Apocalypse Now). Sometimes, you get great adaptations of great works that are adapted in turn (e.g. The Dark Tower movie, adapted from the Dark Tower novels, adapted from Childe Roland). Granted, I've only read "Childe Roland" in that case, and I'm sure many people will take umbrage with me calling Heart of Darkness "lacklustre," but hey, go figure.

As for Prince of Persia, I don't think there's anything really wrong with it per se. It's fun, enjoyable, and harmless fluff. Being "fluff" is enough to stop it from being "great," but it's a perfectly functional film IMO. Certainly the vest mainstream VG adaptation I've seen.

Ronald Nand:

Xsjadoblayde:
Are films really a mark of prestige for these IPs? Or are they more about reaching to a wider audience, like a gateway drug to videogames? I know some people who watched the Hitman film and were inspired to try the games. Granted, these were females who inevitably fancy the pants off bald Timothy Olyphant, but it's a bloody start, right? They found themselves enjoying the games, so i'd chalk that up as a positive. I think maybe you're getting a little over defensive of your videogames, they don't need protecting from the big bad movie business. There will always be cash grabs, but that does not mean it cannot be done well, it's just the reasoning going into these projects are often cynical. And what was wrong with Prince of Persia?? Ben Kingsley frowns upon you!! :)

That's interesting, because 47 barely acts like the game character in those movies, its all action and very little of what makes the games special, the planning and stealth. Did they end up playing the game with stealth/accidents or did they go guns blazing?

Erm...what? I don't think they were that anal about how precisely his actions synchronised between film and game. They merely enjoyed the film, then enjoyed the games (Absolution, blood money and contracts were all i had to impress) separately after trying them, realising that some of these games aren't as bad as they first assumed. Why do you think something like that would matter that much to them? I forgot to hand them the gamer opinion survey at the time, sorry! ;)

Hawki:

You can thank Roland for this response, as I missed your original post.

I think having a film adaptation is usually a mark of prestige. And no, it's not because games are a "lesser medium," it's because that, if only motivated by profit, it means the core material is either good enough or big enough (or heck, both) to warrant the attention. So sometimes we get great adaptations of great works (e.g. Lord of the Rings), so-so adaptations of so-so works (e.g. Eragon), so-so adaptations of great works (e.g. Harry Potter), or great adaptations of lacklustre works (e.g. Apocalypse Now). Sometimes, you get great adaptations of great works that are adapted in turn (e.g. The Dark Tower movie, adapted from the Dark Tower novels, adapted from Childe Roland). Granted, I've only read "Childe Roland" in that case, and I'm sure many people will take umbrage with me calling Heart of Darkness "lacklustre," but hey, go figure.

As for Prince of Persia, I don't think there's anything really wrong with it per se. It's fun, enjoyable, and harmless fluff. Being "fluff" is enough to stop it from being "great," but it's a perfectly functional film IMO. Certainly the vest mainstream VG adaptation I've seen.

Yeah true , i guess being acknowledged and adapted into most forms other of media would be a sign of respect. Ride to hell isn't getting any adaptions for good reason! Movies have the widest reach to the public, naturally. So i don't think it is the media believing it is somehow inherently better, just Yahtzee appearing to have a bit of a complex about his hobby/career for whatever reasons. :) I maintain hope for the future still. Prince of Persia was a pleasant reminder of such hope, not a masterpiece of course, but a solid step in the right direction.

I don't think a movie being made about a video game is an achievement, is more of a cover-up of all of the remaining bases. The Tolkien books were read for centuries, and they only hit the mainstream after the critically acclaimed trilogy, I'm not sure how much but if at least 20% of that audience that is not into reading decided to do so because of that game, that would be a step forward becasuse an audience is never too big if they like what they see. That's what we want, more people to recognize this new media.

Also, due to video games going through the phases of kids' toys, to angst teen escapism, to vehicle of violence/sexism/racism/any-otherism in eyes of the non-gaming audience, a good video game movie would improve the situation greatly, because some games go above of what movies can do, not just for fun, but as a media.

Casual Shinji:
I wouldn't say games are better than movies, because I like the idea of having a quick, well-paced story play out infront of me at about a two hour running time. But when it comes to the action blockbuster games certainly seemed to have surpased movies. Mad Max: Fury Road is the one exception, but summer action epics do fuck all for me anymore. Uncharted 4 has given me greater satisfaction in that regard than almost the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe combined.

In addition to the action genre, I'd say horror games are better than horror movies aswell. Sure, some horror movies are amazing, I'm not disputing that, but at least in my case, I find horror games genuinely scary, where in movies I can just sit there for 90 minutes thinking "hey, here comes the scare in 3... 2... 1... boo!"

The movie will play itself, the characters will make dumb choices, but in a horror game, I have the control, so if I want to advance the story I have to move forward, and then later on I'm the one running from monsters, ghosts, whatever.

Firstly, they keep doing because when you hear a movie cost $100million to make, that means they'll spend around $100million on marketing. If it's based on a game (or well known franchise from some other source), then that's a lot of free marketing already.

The best adaptations are usually their own thing. Think of the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series. Really nothing to do with the game itself but definitely well loved.

People enjoy watching football, people enjoy playing football. People enjoy movies about football IF THEY'RE GOOD MOVIES even without the football. What people enjoy about playing and watching football is not the same as watching a movie about football. A movie needs to tap in to what people enjoy about it. Sports games it's all about the tension. Batman it's all about being a dark reluctant hero.

Making an Uncharted movie is stupid because it's already a game version of Indiana Jones. They'd be better off doing The Last of Us and making it like The Revenant.

Games are long, you get invested. Movies have to be very clever to get you invested in such paper-thin characters. TV series would be better. I'd love to see a Mass Effect TV series. Star Wars doesn't do it for me (you have lasers but most people wear hemp robes? Mitachlorines or something, WTF?) and Star Trek is a bit too sanctimonious. Both extremely popular as tv series (the Star Wars Clone wars cartoon I mean).

A good piece of art stands on it's on. If it can tap in to some cultural memory from some other piece of art, that's great but lean on it too much (which they do with fan service and not understanding the source material) and you get what we have, terrible adaptations.

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