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How Can The Bloodborne Movie Adapt The Plot-Lite Game?

Bloodborne with Clapperboard

Bloodborne could be making its way to the silver screen. James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy, is teasing a brand new project as part of Comic-Con 2018, with the reveal taking place in Sony's Hall H panel on Friday. Although this mystery film is still very much in the air, there are signs to suggest that Gunn is making a Bloodborne movie.

Time is nearly up to find out exactly what Gunn has in store for audiences, but the image shared by the director is much too close to the Heir rune from the FromSoftware-developed title for comfort. Meanwhile, the fact that the game was published by Sony Computer Entertainment means that the Sony panel would be the perfect place for such a project to be unveiled. That said, the question has to be asked: is Bloodborne suitable for a movie adaptation?

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After all, Bloodborne is labyrinthine in more ways than the city of Yharnam's twisting, turning corridors. Its main character is effectively anonymous, a player-created shell thrown into a strange gothic world filled with eldritch monsters. From there, the story is as dark and mysterious as the setting, unfurled through cryptic notes.

In short, although Bloodborne does have a narrative of sorts to tell, its gameplay and atmosphere are treated with much more importance. As a game, the FromSoftware title is a hardcore player's ideal, lauded for its extreme challenge and in particular its brutal boss fights. It's a game of struggles and slim victories, all told within a dream that never quite reveals its true intentions. It's Silent Hill 2 on steroids, with a 19th-century makeover.

That's not to say that there is no plot to be found within Bloodborne. Indeed, its nightmare landscape hides a deep narrative of a city overcome with a beast plague, its denizens morphing into vicious creatures through an obsession with the miracle cures of mysterious blood infusions. When playing the game this setting slowly unravels, layer after layer, as the player learns more about Yharnam, the Healing Church, a dead civilization, and a range of mysterious old gods.

However, this narrative is far from easy to follow, even with all of its disparate pieces laid out. It's told in an unconventional manner, not truly through player actions and instead through a loose collection of notes and barely decipherable dialogue from the few non-violent characters. It's a level beyond even Dark Souls, somehow more intangible and therefore perhaps even more difficult to fit into a two-hour movie narrative.

Bloodborne Message Scroll

Something that doesn't exactly help matters from a filmmaking perspective is the lack of a real cast of characters. Bloodborne begins in a society already doomed, the few unaffected survivors are either civilians locked away in houses or fellow hunters - hunters that may already be succumbing to the beast within. Bloodborne is a lonely experience, with friendly faces only coming from the player allowing other gamers in to lend a helping hand.

This, of course, could be remedied relatively easily. A Bloodborne film could start before the events of the game, following a new set of characters attempting to survive the cursed city of Yharnam. However, that could lead to some of the game's impact being lost, a sense of isolation that works so perfectly in the title thrown aside. Previously in video game adaptations, this solitude being removed has not exactly had positive effects, as seen with 2005's Doom and the Resident Evil series.

Should James Gunn be working on a Bloodborne film, this could perhaps be his biggest challenge. Gunn's best work often comes with a strong cast of characters and an offbeat comedic tone, whether in Guardians of the Galaxy or earlier titles like Slither and Super. Slither may have shown Gunn's expertise with the grotesque, but Bloodborne's plot is pretty much po-faced throughout. Gunn has showcased his dramatic skill-set through his scripts for Dawn of the Dead and The Belko Experiment, but Bloodborne would perhaps be the biggest challenge of the lot.

If anyone is up to the challenge it's Gunn, but the difficulty of adapting Bloodborne should not be understated. It's a game of trying to find order within chaos, and failing time and time again. Its appeal comes from more than just its world and narrative, and finding a way to replicate what makes the game special in a film adaptation would be something that takes meticulous planning.

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