Over the last few years games have improved and progressed a lot, quite in keeping line with the progress of technology and simulation programs and technologies. But one thing that hasn’t been able to keep up with the progress are the film adaptations that are based on games. So what are the reasons that game-adapted-movies have not been able to keep up with the rapid progress, and in the process, destroying the often millions plus fan-base that a gaming title painstakingly builds over years? Here are some reasons why:
Firstly, making movies is a creative process that involves a lot of people like directors, writers, producers, executives, etc. These are people who literally come from a different world; they do not understand the concept of source material and more often than not, do not even understand the video-gaming culture. These are people who are more interested in making big money through the films, sometime with nonsensical storylines, and they end up making terrible decisions. One of the best known examples of the fact that the film industry doesn’t really understand or care about good game adaptations is when David Hayter was turned down to write a script for the Metal Gear Solid. David Hayter was the guy who voiced the Solid Snake in the game, so there was no person better qualified to write the script for the movie adaptation. This particular person’s writing credits include smash hits like X-Men 1 & 2.
Secondly, sometimes terrible directors are chosen for making game-adapted-films. Remember that while making a movie, a director functions like the CEO, taking all the important decisions relating to the making of the film. When bad directors are chosen they obviously degrade the quality of the film adaptation of a game but they also damage the reputation of a game.
Thirdly, games are part of what we call interactive entertainment. Games are mostly about shooting, fighting, killing or jumping off roof-tops, while movies are meant for storytelling. Of course that’s not to say that no game has a decent storyline, but most of these, so-to-say well structured games have never been made to a film. Instead, we have movie adaptations whose storylines could be written down in a single statement. The core of movies is storytelling, they are made to be watched, while interactive environment are at the core of videogames; they are meant to interact with another world. Another thing is the pacing of the story. Games are designed to be played and experienced in time-periods ranging from 6 hours to 600 hours. A lot of the time in this is taken up by repetition; gamers set about puzzle-solving or taking down enemies by hordes between cut-scenes and boss battles. Movies have much shorter time periods that is normally between 1.5 hours to 3 hours, which does not allow for a complex story arc, only simple problems and the protagonist finding the solution before it ends.
Lastly, games do not seem to translate very well into movies. Games have complex storylines that range from too futuristic to downright unrealistic, and can often seem very crazy if they made into a film scene by scene. Movies mostly work on the premise of making something believable, stories that might be possible. Most good games are not suitable to be made into film adaptations for this very same reason.