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. MMO’s are alright in the sense that you can customize your character and interact with others, but the problem there is that the bigger nerd and the less life you have the better your character is in the game. So for someone like myself, who has a life, a job, and responsibilities, I can try my best and will be slaughtered if some fat nerd that plays for 6 hours a day with empty soda cans and empty bags of chips all over his bedroom floor desides to come by and pk me.

    That’s another reason why I prefer shooters, is that it takes at least some level of skill, while MMORPG’s just require the player to click on his mouse and push a few buttons and the character in the game does the actions for him. If it required the player to swing the sword using mouse movements or something, then maybe it wouldn’t be so unfair. But ultimately, it should require for the player to be suspended where he has to really run, swing the weapons or whatever himself, so all of these out of shape nerds don’t “pwn” all of us in-shape people with lives. Heck, it might help solve the country’s obesity problem. And the scrawny nerds might build some muscle mass. It’ll be good for everyone’s health, lol.

    At least shooters require some level of precision and skill with the whole aiming and shooting and stuff. Of course PC only since console shooters tend to have some gay auto aim BS on there… Shooters have to be played with the keyboard and mouse or maybe the new wii controller, anything else is a not worth the time in my opinion.

  2. I partially agree with you Ken J. I do disagree about the amount of skill in an MMO. Though WoW doesn’t reaquire much skill there are MMO’s out there that actually require knowledge and ability to be worth a damn. Sadly though like you said even in MMO’s that require skill your still not gonna matter to the world unless you give up your life. That’s why I recently quit EQ for good. I started to feel like I was sacrificing my life for the game and it wasn’t worth it. However I’ll be getting right back in to the MMO mix when DC universe comes out I can’t resist a good comic book property.

    Ken if you like story and gameplay I can’t recomend Mass Effect to you enough. It’s an amazing Game.

  3. One extra note since we are talking about games that can be made in to movies. I’ve already mentioned a few, but I wanted to add one more to the mix for all you PS3 owners out there any one familiar with Uncharted. That games almost is a movie on it’s own the visuals are so beautiful it gives movies a run for it’s their money. The story is also good enough to carry a movie and the characters are very defined which is usually a problem in games.

  4. The whole issue of not having a life outside of playing the MMO games, it wouldn’t be that bad if they were free to play after you’ve already paid to buy the famn game, so you can take your time, build up your character when you’re not busy with anything else so you don’t have to give up your life since you don’t need to rush it since you’re not racking up the bill the longer you have the game without leveling or anything like that.

    And I heard Mass Effect was good, will give that a try sometime.

    And I WAS excited about Borderlands since it was going to be an online MMOFPS, but now that they’ve changed the characters to where you’ll be playing alongside some scrawny little goth kid, I’m not sure how I feel about that. The art direction I don’t mind, I just HATE how the “sniper” character looks, and the others don’t look that great either…

  5. “famn?” Is that like a combination of damn and a worse 4 letter word? lol

    Or maybe it’s just a typo… 😀

  6. I’m not at all in to FPS can’t really stand them it’s probably my least favirote genre of games lol which sucks because it’s currently the big trend. I will forever hate Halo for making them so popular these days.

    I agree about MMO’s they cost to much and consume way to much time. I’m interested in DC universe and the upcoming Star Trek one as well. I’ll probably try out both.

  7. Well, if all you’ve experienced are FPS’s on consoles, then I can completely agree with you that they suck. The ONLY way to play a FPS is with mouse aiming. When shooting multiple targets in real life shooting, I snap from one target to the next, I don’t slowly and smoothly wave my gun around until I get to the next target like you are forced to with a joystick. That’s how I play with the mouse, I take out one target, SNAP to the next, shoot that until he stops moving, SNAP to the next. I can’t stand shooters on consoles with joystick aiming, it’s retarded. It takes me 10 times as long to dispatch a group of enemies on a console shooter than on a PC shooter.

  8. I think that it’s pretty much pointless to make a movie based on a current game. The games today, as others have so nicely pointed out, already have dazzling visual effects and good to great stories. If there is to be a really good movie made from a game I think we have to go back to the 90’s. That’s when the games had characters and plots but really not so much of a actual story. Castlevania, Space Ace, Dragon’s Lair and possibly Spy Hunter would be a few films I could see working on a movie adaptation. I realize they have been “talks” for that last one for a few years now and who knows if it will ever materialize.

  9. @Paul Young : I agree with your Three things for studios to consider when developing a game-to-film. But we had already seen so many games created into film like Resident evil, the house of the dead, Silent hill and etc. They’re great actually! Now I think, it is still possible for studios to do this MMORPG’s game into film despite on the three things to consider for developing a game-to-film. I know and I believe they can still give some new efforts for World of warcraft and Call of Duty to make as one of the blockbuster movie. Still, let’s give them(studios) a chance to prove that they can make it possible!

  10. I disagree Paul I think they should focus on more current games. Just because games these days have good graphics doesn’t mean you can’t make a good movie with them. There isn’t anything pointless about it at all. As much as I love gaming like I said I play games to see the story and to see an amazing story put on to a movie with real people is even better for me. I wouldn’t want any games to old because to be honest in my opinion most of those games sucked. They were 2D and I don’t just mean the graphics the entire game experience was shallow and 2D.

  11. I still believe Bioshock has great potential, and the story behind the new Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising game sounds interesting as well since it’s based on a real life location.

    The story is that there’s an island called Skara island in the pacific. It was a Chinese island that was taken over by Japan during WWII. Russia liberated them from the Japs, but kind of kept possession of it instead of giving it back to China. That is all true, the hypothetical story of OFP:DR is that since they found one of the largest deposits of untapped oil (also true from what I’ve read) under that island, now China wants it back and they are taking it by force. That’s basically the storyline of the game, China has taken hostile action against Russia, and I guess the USA being the good allies we are, are going to help the Russians fight off the Chinese…

    That could be a pretty interesting war movie with a hypothetical situation based on a real situation.

    Although personally I would rather see the Russians be the bad guys since Putin is being all crazy, lol. Maybe China could negotiate with Russia to reclaim the island, and at first they agree, but then a rogue group within the government disagrees and want to keep the island part of Russia to take advantage of the oil, so they do some crazy Tom Clancy stuff to ignight an all out conflict between the Chinese and Russian forces there, and while we at first go to help Russia we discover that the Russians instigated the hostile actions first, try to negotiate a cease fire and restore the terms of the handing over to China, the same Russian group attacks the American forces, then it becomes and all out conflict between the USA, Chinese forces and Russia. And toward the end there would be a nuclear threat, I guess the Russians are losing the fight, so this same rogue group decides if they can’t have it, nobody can, but we actually have secret talks with Russian officials who are against the hostile take-over of the island, against this rogue group, and eventually the rogue officer(s) are apprehended and all hostile actions are ceased, and they are tried for war crimes.

    Man, I need to submit this idea to Tom Clancy… 😀

  12. No matter how good graphics are these days you it’s still not real people and movies still have better FX. Even the best of game stories would be told much better in movie format with out repetitive gameplay or anything in the way of it. As long as it’s done right.

    I agree about Resident Evil though those movies were crap. The very best Game movies still sucked. I would say the best was Max Payne and it still wasn’t good.

  13. @wow review – I’m all for the studios spending as much of their money as they want to try and make a really good video game movie. I just hope they aren’t dissappointed when no one wants to see it. BTW, I’m not sure there is a formula anywhere in the universe where “House of teh Dead” = Great. Just saying.

  14. Rofl @ Paul that comment about House of Dead had me laughing. Yea house of dead sucked lol.

  15. wasn’t Army of Two and Kane & Lynch supposed to be made into films? Those two properties would make good translations, same with GOD OF WAR!!! THe game was basically playing a Fantasy Film! Even from the game director’s mouth, David Jaffe, he said that he wanted the experience to be like playing a movie.
    And no Vid diesel as Kratos talk. Even though he has the voice, nope. Let him drive cars instead of killing minotaurs.


  17. As much as I love God Of War if Vin was Kratos I wouldn’t even bother watching it. It’s the worst idea ever. The guy breathes suck in to every thing he does.

  18. Sorry,…. Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault (been a while)

  19. @Jess

    Uh… I know, but that’s… ONE game, out of HOW many WWII games based on the European Front?? Thus my statement of 99% not 100%…

    There was also movies about the Pacific Front, Flags of Our Fathers, Thin Red Line, Great Raid, but there was like a million other WWII movies about Nazi’s.

  20. Meh I find South Park to be incredibly stupid. There have only been a very small handful of episodes that I actually found funny. The rely far to much on poop jokes and other disgusting humor. I don’t mind explicit jokes or even their sometimes racist jokes, but I don’t need the poo humor. It’s a show that try to pretend like it’s clever, but really proves how childish it really is.

  21. I’ve said it before on the Wheelman Forum.

    FREAKING MAKE A BUBBLE BOBBLE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then Hollywood will forget ruining video game movies on purpose, or they’ll try to produce Oscar worthy content after they see what a debacle Bubble Bobble will be.

  22. Bubble Bobble and possibly Burger Time. Oh and a Leisure Suit Larry movie.

  23. @ Paul Young


  24. Can’t wait for Super Mario Bros. to come out on Blu-Ray. That movie was the bomb!!


  25. I would totally watch a Leisure Suit Larry movie lol.

  26. world of warcraft is just out of the question…if they’re going to make a call of duty movie, it shouldn’t be the first one of the series which is a copy cat to all other WWII movies…its movie should be about the 4th installment of call of duty because that was much more original…plus if the movie does turn out to be better then “ok” they can make a sequel to the movie(modern warfare 2)…modern warfare being one of the best games ever made should be made into a movie as well as gears of war…

  27. Mortal Kombat to this point (the first movie, if you please) has been the only video game-based movie I’ve remotely liked. And it was probably accidental.

    However, I can see WoW being a good movie. They have plenty of inspiration to do a good fantasy movie series now, and there’s obvious hunger for something new and good in that genre from movie audiences since LoTR. The Narnia movies didn’t work to sate that appetite. Neither did Eragon or Golden Compass. At this point, the only potential movies that might work is the Hobbit series, but WoW could be good. If they put a lot of effort in the story and special effects…

    I don’t think there already being Minotaurs in another movie matters much in this case.