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Many modern video games play out like movies, with strong storylines, fleshed-out characters, and action sequences that surely give even Michael Bay pause for thought. And yet when it comes to actually making movies from video games, Hollywood and its film-making sister cities around the world have failed spectacularly.
There are some video game movie adaptations worth watching, but most end up pleasing neither film buffs or gamers. Some directors seem to hate the idea of being influenced by the source material, while others stick too rigidly to the confines of the genre. Neither approach really works.
I’m convinced there are some great movie adaptations of popular video games out there just waiting to be made. We just need a visionary to make one or more of them happen. Having already pinpointed five video games that would make great TV shows, I’d like to suggest five that should be given the big-screen treatment they clearly deserve.
Red Dead Redemption
The Game: Red Dead Redemption is an open-world Western developed and published by Rockstar Games. Released in 2011 it is the spiritual successor to a 2004 game titled Red Dead Revolver. For most of the game you play John Marston, who sees action all across the Wild West while hunting down his old gang in order to be reunited with his family.
The Movie: The storyline could remain pretty much intact in the jump from game to movie. Marston is a strong protagonist, and the themes of hope, betrayal, and redemption would make for an intoxicating film. With a big budget to bring the American Old West to life, this could be a Western appealing to both old and new generations of cinema-goers.
The Game:is a unique game in several ways. It conveys a true first-person perspective at all times, and the futuristic, minimalist look of the dystopian future it’s set in takes a little getting used to. You play Faith, a runner who defies the authoritarian regime in charge in order to deliver messages and packages around the city she knows like the back of her hand.
The Movie: I found the game highly frustrating thanks to the odd controls and level of accuracy required to actually get anywhere. This got in the way of the story somewhat, which would actually appeal to a diverse cross-section of society. There could be parts of the movie where the camera takes on a first-person perspective, with parkour specialists providing some thrilling visuals to go with the twisting plotline.
The Game: Infamous was released in 2009 and has since spawned a sequel. You play Cole McGrath, an ordinary guy gifted with extraordinary powers after an explosion occurs in his city. The region is quarantined by the government as McGrath brings a semblance of order while attempting to find the cause of, and people responsible for, the chaos.
The Movie: Like a cross between X-Men and Escape From New York, a movie based on Infamous could work extremely well. The Good vs. Evil aspect could be used in a variety of different ways; we could view both sides of Cole’s personality as he makes the choices, with the audience being kept on the edge of their seats to the very end in regards to which direction his morals ultimately take him.
The Game: There have been three Mass Effect games to date, with the ending to the final installment in the trilogy causing some resentment amongst gamers. But this shouldn’t take anything away from the universe, characters, and storyline BioWare created for these games. You play Commander Shephard as he faces off against an alien race of mechanical beings known as the Reapers.
The Movie: The Mass Effect games represent a high point in story-telling in this medium, so any writer would have an easy task translating the series into movies. Whether a trilogy would follow the games like-for-like or not isn’t important, but getting the look and feel absolutely spot-on would be a mammoth task and of the utmost importance for it to succeed.
The Game: There have been three Modern Warfare games to date, the last having been released in 2011. As part of the Call Of Duty franchise these titles are all first-person shooters, but the storylines and characterization are strong enough to warrant at least one movie, if not more. You play various characters through the series as they battle an ever-changing foe in the near-present day.
The Movie: This would be a modern war film in the mold of Black Hawk Down or Jarhead. Maintain the overarching themes of the games while fleshing out the characters and a Modern Warfare movie could be truly awesome. A huge final battle in which all the main characters participate would leave cinema-goers wanting more. With these games selling millions each year there’s a huge built-in audience just waiting to be sated.
These are merely my suggestions based on games I’ve played that have struck me as being filmic in nature. Do you agree with my choices or do you have other suggestions for video games that deserve the movie treatment? Alternatively do you think games should stay as games and there should be none of these cross-genre hybrids? Whatever your thoughts feel free to let us know in the comments section below.