Filmmakers Don’t Know Games

Next-Gen.biz had a great article with Jeremy Bolt, the Producer from the upcoming Resident Evil: Extinction film. I love this article because it talks about someone other than Uwe Boll. Sure everyone loves making fun of Uwe, as well as anyone that attempts to adapt a video game to film. Lets face it, video game movies aren’t high quality – but some are at least enjoyable.

Mortal Kombat: The Movie

Next-Gen’s article reveals how little producers care for the material that they’re adapting from. It’s good that Paul W.S. Anderson at least plays the game before writing the film script, but does he and other writers understand what makes the game great in the first place?

“Gone are the days where you could just quickly jump on an IP like a videogame, make a close adaptation, and then just watch the money roll in,” said Jeremy Bolt. From my perspective it seems like filmmakers are still doing this. Obviously films have to appeal to general audiences as much as possible, in order to gross the largest amount of money possible, but why is it that films based on games have sucked, do suck, and will suck?

What it comes down to is one simple thing. You can play a game as much as you want to, but you will always have a different experience than someone else. That’s the beautiful thing about video games – there are multiple possibilities that change the experience users receive and in turn react to. Before any worthwhile adaptation can be created, it is key to understand what made the game good and how it impacted the player.

Lets face it, there has probably never been a film based on a video game that was directly made for the fans. If there ever was, it probably still bombed at the box office. Is any gamer really going to pay to watch a direct translation of what they’ve already done on their own in a video game?

This is a dilemma that all filmmakers face when trying to adapt a video game to film. It’s not an easy process. Much like the comic book to film adaptations, the best films will come when there are more closely tied collaborations between filmmakers, that fully understand why the material has a fanbase, and the industry that created the original material.