How To Make Awesome Video Game Movies & TV Shows

Posted on October 10, 2010

When gamers find a video game universe that truly resonates with them, they want to immerse themselves in it. Holders of video game licenses are eager to offer fans a swath of media to snatch up, such as comic books, movies, novels, and more. We’re still waiting for that jaw-dropping World of Warcraft or Halo movie, and in the meantime these are some good examples of video game TV shows/movies that their future makers should keep in mind.

The Japanese have played a huge role in the video game industry since the beginning, and they’ve also been innovators in animation. It makes sense, then, that Japan enjoys a ton of awesome anime movies and TV series that flesh out their franchises. Tales of Vesperia’s prequel anime, The First Strike, fleshes out each character, including the lovable sword-wielding, cigar-smoking pup Repede. Valkyria Chronicles’s Japan-only TV series follows the general plot of the game, but takes advantage of extra storytelling elbow room to further flesh out characters. Devil May Cry received a similar treatment, translating its stylish, high-flying combat into a gorgeous anime fleshing out the day-to-day of Dante’s demon-slaying business.

Not only do all these Japanese animes expand the fiction of their source games, but they also expertly convey the presentation of the games. We would love to see more of this visual fidelity in TV and movies based on games, animated or otherwise. The horrendous Hollywood Resident Evil movies are good examples of what not to do – they’re bastardizations of beloved characters and refuse to embrace the claustrophobic creepiness of the games. On the other hand, the CG film Resident Evil: Degeneration looks like an hour and a half cutscene featuring series standbys Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy, complete with original voice actors. The faux-Japanese anime Dead Space: Downfall, on the other hand, attempted to set up the first game, but the franchises’ disturbing atmosphere and terrifying necromorphs were drowned out by ill-fitting visuals and uninteresting characters.

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Unfortunately, many of these works are straight-to-DVD or struggle to see light outside of Japan, so few besides the truest of fans know they even exist. Several blockbuster gaming franchises are said to be making the jump to the big screen, and if they take notes from these successes and failures they could finally break the cycle of terrible video game movies.

Is the dusty, desperate world of Red Dead Redemption really best suited to the rumored theatrical release? Rockstar’s character-driven saga may be more at home in a gritty HBO TV series format. Imagine the trials and tribulations of John Marston, Bonnie MacFarlane, and Edgar Ross fleshed out through a Deadwood-style drama. We spent nearly 20 hours getting to know these memorable people, and we fear two hours in a big-budget film may not be enough time to get acquainted.

Halo is on the opposite end of the spectrum from Red Dead Redemption, exchanging character development for all-out action. Gamers everywhere cheered when The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson was slated to produce the project, but would his and the then untested directorial talents of Neil Blomkamp have produced most faithful representation? Sure, they went on to create the spectacular live-action District 9, but that movie was trying to convey a message, and Halo is just about shooting aliens while wearing cool space armor. Dreamworks and Stephen Spielberg are said to be interested in taking the reins, and if they produce a highly polished CG movie, it could be the first step in the right direction for video game movies.

Another highly anticipated film adaptation is the hugely successful World of Warcraft. Sam Raimi is still slated to direct the project, which has recently de-prioritized in favor of a Wizard of Oz remake. We say let them take as long as they want, but use that precious time to have Blizzard’s top-notch CG artists develop an entire film in the same style as their stunning intros and cutscenes. With an animated Warcraft movie, the voices fans have grown to love can remain attached to faces like Arthas and Thrall. This is the definitive way to do the world’s most successful MMO justice.

Our treasured video game franchises deserve the best TV and movie adaptations, but that doesn’t mean getting names like Brad Pitt or Martin Scorsese on the marquee. It means examining what medium best conveys the feel of the game.

Go to Source (Game Informer)

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Categories: Game News, Game Secrets

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