Why Every Video Game Movie Is Doomed To Fail

When it comes to adaptations, only Anime and Manga have got it worse than games. But why the heck can't we get a good video game adaptation? Here's why.

Why game adaptations suck
This pretty much sums it all up

Video games are an exceptional medium that allows the player to get immersed into the story of the game as a participant. There are great examples, like Red Dead Redemption 2, where the storytelling and world building is so refined, you get completely lost in the experience. So how come video game adaptations are always so bad... not you Arcane!

The Problems With Video Game Adaptations

With this, we pretty much already stated the main difference between video games and movies/TV shows. It is the ability to interact with the portrayed world.

A good TV, is something you need for both, though.

A movie is more like watching a let's play because of the story. But it still is lacking, even compared to that, as it is limited to a maximum of 3 hours runtime.

It is just impossible, to adapt the feeling of interacting with the story outside of video games, which is a key component for the success of gaming.

Missing The Point

This also translates to the problem with the portrayal of a game's main character. Take for example Master Chief, the protagonist of the popular Halo franchise.

In the games, he never takes off his helmet and has a quiet and stoic personality. That's pretty hard to adapt without making the character feel hollow and uninteresting. Yes, I am looking at you, Galadriel. That is why they tried to give him a little more personality, which failed miserably and just pissed off fans.

We would still like to see some good adaptations. Maybe for one of these games:

This is also a perfect example of how adaptations often fail to capture what really made a video game great. Often they just adapt the general concept and story, without integrating the subtle meaning behind those concepts.

That is why the only adaptations that actually work are made by skilled people, that love the source material, like Henry Cavill in the Witcher. They pay attention to certain details that someone else might overlook. They understand, what makes the thing they love so great.

It Is About The Fun Of Doing It

Another thing is, that not every game is the same. Some games just can't be adapted, because they focus on certain things that can't be adapted, like gameplay.

Think for a second, is there any studio that could make a good Breath of the Wild adaptation? Some of the gameplay mechanics, like puzzles etc. would just look goofy in a movie or series.

Other games like Call of Duty don't really have a narrative that could be portrayed. We're playing CoD for the fun of the gun play, that is the selling point.

Playing a game is just an incredibly personal experience, that defines the game for each person individually. The way a player approaches a problem, builds, etc. are things that can't be translated into a different medium.

Nothing To Say

Oh, and then there is the fact, that most video game plots aren't really any good. Most of the time, the story is pretty generic and only serves as an excuse for the player to do fun stuff, like kill monsters the size of a small building with a sword twice your size.

I know, I know there are also some Red Dead Redemption 2's, but how are you gonna condense an 80h plot into a 3h movie? It's just not happening bro, sorry.

The only way it could work, is as a series, which shows like Arcane or the Witcher have already proven. The narrative structure in video games, most of the time, is pretty episodic anyway, be it missions, quests etc., so that should also check out.

Learn From The Good Ones

Another thing I would like to add, is that if your show can't stand on its own and has to rely on the name of a franchise, it is already doomed to fail, so don't even bother.

Just make a great show that would be enjoyable to watch even for people that don't know the source material, pick the right source material to adapt, and hire skilled people who love the game. That is how you could make a video game adaptation work. Is it really that hard?

We have some good examples that it is possible right here:

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