More Video Games Being Made Into Movies

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 7:34 am,

world of warcraft call of duty box art More Video Games Being Made Into Movies

Legendary Pictures, the studio that co-produced The Dark Knight and 300, bought the movie rights to Activision Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, the world’s leading MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), almost 3 years ago and it has been rumored ever since that they are bringing it to the silver screen.

Call of Duty, a first person shooter also by Activision, is now also rumored to see action on the big screen as well. The only information to come from the studio and game maker regarding this and the World of Warcraft films is pure speculation, but it would seem that Hollywood is dead set on getting a video game movie right, by evidence of the two-dozen or so live-action films in the genre they shoved out the door in the past 20 years.

Is it even possible for them to get the formula right just once?

Yesterday, Screen Rant writer Ross Miller talked about Wheelman with Vin Diesel, and asked the question: “Can Hollywood make a GOOD video game adaptation?” So far the answer has been a resounding “no”. The comments from that post are full of people that liked certain films and hated others but there has not been a clear front runner in the video-game movie market. The best anyone has done is merely “OK”. Personally, I don’t think it’s a problem with which studios, actors, directors or even writers are involved in the process. I think it has more to do with which stories they are choosing to tell and if they even need to be told in a movie adaptation.

Three things for studios to consider when developing a game-to-film are story, characters and SFX.

1. Story

The stories from these games usually aren’t very original. First person shooters are always killing aliens, zombies, demons or other people, and most of the MMORPG games don’t have any main story arc that can be easily recognized by everyone in the game’s universe. If you don’t have a good story to start with then you shouldn’t try and make one up just to use the title of the game to help sell tickets.

Some games just can’t be made into a movie and I’m not sure if there are any games that easily adapt themselves to film. If the writers take liberties with the story, then rabid fans will jump on it like a lion on a wounded wildebeest. Besides, no matter how much detail a writer puts into the script, it will not be enough and I feel bad for the guy that has to put pen-to-paper for World of Warcraft. There will be die-hard fans that will despise and loath it just because there wasn’t enough screen time for their favorite class or race. Others will point out how the armor doesn’t look a certain way and weapons do not have certain abilities or monsters are too poorly portrayed, etc.

Call of Duty is in the same boat when it comes to plot and I don’t know how it can stand out from other movies like Saving Private Ryan or any other WWII flick. Screen Rant writer Rob Keyes pointed out that its uniqueness would extend from focusing on multiple mostly-separate plot threads from the different armies and their perspectives in the game (i.e. Britain, Russian and American) but how would that make it stand out from any other WWII movie? As it is, Call of Duty is loosely based on Saving Private Ryan and I can’t help but think that it would look like a movie, based on a game, based on movie.

2. Characters

Most MMORPG’s do not have any recognizable main characters to associate with the franchise, except maybe WoW with the Lich King but that’s a stretch. First person shooters like Call of Duty have the same problem. With no main character, the audience will have no reason to care about the film or what happens to the people in it. It’s not enough to simply create characters that all of the sudden exist in this world just for the movie’s sake. They must have existed there before like Max Payne or Lara Croft. Creating believable and realistic characters from a game like this is all but impossible.

3. SFX

Just about every SFX possible for a video game has already been done in a movie and I can’t imagine anything new that can be offered. Doom had the first person shooter scene, Max Payne attempted a a terrible bullet time moment and Tomb Raider gave us digitally enhanced breasts (seriously, read about it here). There is nothing else that can be added to either a WWII film or a fantasy/action flick that we haven’t seen before.

As an example, WoW is already behind the curve depicting the Taurens since Chronicles of Narnia showed us the Minotaurs three years ago. If WoW had come out first, then people would say Narnia copied WoW but now it is going to be the other way around. In a genre like this you have to be cutting edge and bring something new to the table and studios are quickly running out of time before we, the audience, have seen it all.

However, with all the spoof movies that have inundated the theaters over the past few years, I’m surprised the Wayans Brothers, who will release Dance Flick this summer, or the writers of Superhero Movie haven’t jumped on this potential gold mine with a “Video Game Movie”, and if they read this and one comes out, I want royalties.

We always discuss what games they have screwed up and what games they haven’t but let’s talk about what games SHOULD be done as blockbuster movies and why. I vote Kid Icarus and Metroid.

What do you think?

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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  1. I’m going to see if I can preorder tickets to Leisure Suit Larry… lol

  2. Leisure Suit Larry has the potential to be the best Video Game movie ever : )

  3. Ok Guys,

    All you need to do is Go watch Van Wilder or the countless other college movies to get a sense of Leisure suite Larry. BUBBLE BOBBLE IS SUPREME!!!

  4. If we’re throwing out titles like Leisure Suit Larry, I may as well throw in one of my favorite games, The Secret of Monkey Island. No where else will you find a hero named Guybrush Threepwood.

  5. Anyone think Duck Hunt might look good in IMAX?

  6. Well, first of, you gotta get good talent. Good talent is the genesis of good art. You can’t expect Gone with the Wind from Paul S Anderson(although Even Horizon was cool).

    With that out of the way, you then find what movie type is best for your story. This should save you some trouble if the fans end up hating it anyway. Let’s see.
    Resident Evil? Horror. Street Fighter? Martial arts, special effects action. Sonic the Hedgehog? CG film. The Sims? Chick flick.

    Finally, with talent and a general direction in tow, all you have to do is steer the ship. Ensure the protagonists and antagonists are properly adapted, and there you go.

  7. @Batzarro

    Yes, on paper it seems like it should work.

    I think the problem is, decent writer and directors tend to stay away from films based on games, and thus, we get crap.

  8. Of course. Making a movie is not like making a cake. There are so many deciders and changing factors involved that a movie is less the result of individual effort and more an amalgam of ideas from producers, director, executives and marketeers.

    But let’s extract one of my examples.

    Street Fighter. It is not that hard to see the kind of movie it would mostly fit. Hell, the first animated movie knew it. Even the makers of Mortal Kombat. It’s about FIGHTING. But executives, being blind to nothing but the flavor of the week, instead tried to “Batman Begins-it up” and the result was The Legend of Chun Li.

    It’s important to note that I don’t have super high film standards. Hell, I enjoy things like Transformers. But Transformers had a budget, whereas more than half this game adaptations don’t. I know, the studios know they can make a lo budget movie, slap in Mario on the title, and make a a profit. BUT, if they did a game adaptation that was respectfull AND had a proper budget, they might make MORE money.

    Have you seen the Trailer for District 9? Watch it. It’s directed by Neil Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson, who would have done Halo. It’s a cool glimpse of what might have been.

    Pesonally, I think they should start adapting more old school game characters into CG films.I think that SOnic the Hedgehog, Megaman, Mario, Pacman and maybe Mischief Makers would make fine CG films. If they did a Tak TV series, I can’t see what’s so hard about adapting gaming’s most beloved icons to a CG enviroment.

  9. Well, suits who don’t know anything about art and only know about making money will always ruin a film. That’s why we have X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a movie that throws as many “new” mutants at us as it can in order to rake in the money. And money it made, so they know what they’re doing (usually).

    The problem is, most studio execs don’t believe that a gaming audience is enough to make a movie a profit (which is true) an thus, they’ll try to milk as much money out of a movie as possible my making it stupidly accessible to wide audiences and thus you end up with mediocre movies with little artistic integrity. I’m like you, my film standards aren’t super high, but then no movie based on a game has given me as much enjoyment as, say Transformers.

    I’ve seen the trailer for District 9, along with the short film, Alive in Joburg, both of which are very good and if Blonkamp was given the reigns for a Halo movie, it would likely be very good.

  10. @Batzarro

    No. Good talent is only good if some one else says so. Most video games have decent stories that can be minimally altered to work as a flick. You’ve only hit the surface with your horror/martial arts statement, which only confines it to a label of a type of Genre. And not that I care much for Gone with the Wind, but when a director directs a good film the movie viewer expects that same type of quality. So Event Horizon was Gone With the Wind for Anderson and now his films overall suck. Not saying all that suck are solely the director’s fault, but they should be able to know crap when they are asked to direct crap.

  11. Batzarro The Sims wouldn’t have to be a chick flick.

  12. How can you make The Sims into a movie? Isn’t the game’s premise that you have people you create live a normal life? So the movie will be a bunch of people living a normal life but can’t speak in english??

  13. Unless you throw in the Naked Sims patch and then we would have a completely different movie.

  14. I agree Ken you can make a movie about normal every day people and just call it the sims that’s the best you can do, but who the hell wants to see that? John wakes up John takes a crap John goes to work John reads a book John goes to bed.

  15. An interesting (read, clichéd) take on the Sims wouldn’t be about a bunch of normal people doing normal things, but would instead be a cross between Tron and the Matrix, with “sims” being controlled by players until one sim becomes self aware and tries to escape (i.e, the same damn story we’ve seen a bunch of times before).

    It would be a great movie were the movie “Gamer” not coming out later this year.

  16. I know it was a movie franchise before the video games but back in the 90′s i remember playing an Indiana Jones game on my PC called Idiana Jones: the Fate of Atlantis. I Think thats what it was called. When they said they were making a 4th indiana, I was so hoping it would be about this game. In it Jones found the ruins of Atlantis after a following many clues and traveling to many cities all the while with nazi’s on his back also looking for Atlantis hoping to find mythogical weapons like the fabled Atlantic laser weapons.

    It was a great story and would’ve been much better the the one used for the 4th movie.

    Maybe they will use it if ever a fifth or a reboot.

  17. Daniel F: Well, that’s more or less the audience. Maybe they could make a Truman Show-esque twist, with normal people discovering their lives are not real, and that they are Sims.
    In essence, light hearted comedy. But we’ll see how that actually turns out(yes, they are working on it.)…

    As for the genre thing, I feel that certain games would fit better as movies within certain already established genres. It’s entirely up to the people involved whether that limits their potential or doesn’t. Take Mortal Kombat. The first game was about a Tournament, so they made it about a tournament. The game had gritty dark locales and so did the movie. While the violence of the games was toned down, most of the other thematic elements of the game where present. Street Fighter should have been like Bloodsport crossed with Dragonball. That’s Street Fighter 2 in a nutshell!

  18. I really don’t think the sims audience is girls I think they have a strong dose of both genders. All of my friends are sims players. We have all been sitting around mindlessly going through our real lives in anticipation of playing our new virtual one. Kidding aside I’ve always loved the sims.

  19. how many video game to movie adaptations can they crank out? especially since they are all garbage in terms of quality (the movies they come out with, not the games).

  20. Now, I’m not saying all it’s audience is female. I’ve played it too, and I’m ALL MAN and ALL STRAIGHT, Snarl! But as far as games go, it’s got a high rate of female purchasers.

  21. @Daniel F
    Have you been stalking me? How did you know I did all that? :-)

    This Sims movie concept looks like that Jim Carrey movie where his whole life was filmed.


    First off Christophe Gans is working on Fantomas movie also still attached to Onimusha with Samuel Hadida butthe project is still delayed and they should change some screenwriters
    that should be all Japanese so Keiji Inafune is writing the script but Necronomicon co-writer Kazunori Ito should replace John Collee,Onimusha will have a cast and crew that are all Japanese.
    Devil May Cry will be another game to film if Avi Arad and Larry Kasanoff to team up to produce the film while David S Goyer to write the script,Kasanoff should get the rights to Darkstalkers series with Capcom.
    The Last,World Heroes the Street Fighter rip off game could go into a big screen with a loosely scifi action movie with special FX and a little Big Trouble In Little China storyline with an Alien marrying two female fighters,so there will be some Hollywood producers Rich Thorne Rodney Liber Matthew Rhodes and Shwan Williamson to make the World Heroes movie with Charles Stone III to co-write and direct the film.
    Thank You.

  23. “The Last,World Heroes the Street Fighter rip off game could go into a big screen with a loosely scifi action movie with special FX and a little Big Trouble In Little China storyline with an Alien marrying two female fighters,so there will be some Hollywood producers Rich Thorne Rodney Liber Matthew Rhodes and Shwan Williamson to make the World Heroes movie with Charles Stone III to co-write and direct the film.
    Thank You.”

    Are you serious? Do you have a source for this?