2016 is a big year for video game movies. I previously wrote an article about several film adaptions of video games that weren't that bad, but it's important to remember why they are often seen as such. So before we get started, here's the big offenders of video game films.
THE BIG LIST OF OFFENDERS:
- 1) Too often, and the most obvious offender, is the overt use of fan fare. Things like dropping in a bad guy who doesn't further the plot, or changing the camera angle to a certain POV just to get the audience to go “Oh wow, they clearly did their research.” It doesn't add anything to the story, and just feels creatively bankrupt.
- 2) Video games are, by their very nature, interactive. A lot of what makes them so captivating is the fact that the player is driving the plot forward with their own actions. Movies, by contrast, are passive experience. Think of it like this. Movies are being told a story by your friend, while video games are participating in that story.
- 3) Video games are, very often, longer than most films. Because of this, it's hard to compartmentalize stories that often exceed 20 hours into a solid 2 hours of screen time. This often leads to rushed story lines and major changes that serve a speedy conclusion rather than a unique story element.
So, while the first two are really a matter of writing and monitoring the story flow properly without going off the rails, the third is the hardest to control. Think of “Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” condensed into a 2 hour film. A lot of the finer elements of the story would be lost for the sake of saving valuable screen time.
Of course, one medium that doesn't have to worry about running out of time to tell stories is television. The small screen is capable of telling stories that can take well over 100 hours. While it may not be the most immediate solution, here are 5 games that could use the small screen treatment. And, just to be clear, SPOILERS AHEAD.
Or, if you cannot read (I don't judge)...
Final Fantasy 9
There are a plethora of stories to be found within the “Final Fantasy” series. While the environmentalism of “Final Fantasy 7,” the anti-egalitarian horrors of “Final Fantasy 13,” and the haunting end of the world in “Final Fantasy 6,” the series is absolutely dripping with deep story telling. However, “Final Fantasy 9” seems to be the easiest to translate to television. With its clear fantasy setting, deep and likable characters, and a story that really translates into an epic, this entry could have a very successful run with the right team behind it. Much like how “Game Of Thrones” takes a huge sprawling story and stretches it across presumably 75 hours, “Final Fantasy 9” could see a similarly exciting run.
Issac Clarke's sprawling space horror odyssey could be a nice enough jumping point, but the evil that is the Necromorphs is a universal issue. It would be amazing to see the story branch out to other characters, even before the Necromorph outbreak. One of the most interesting things in the series is the religious cult that lies behind the outbreak. This could stretch out into some very interesting stories, similarly to how outbreak stories like “The Strain” and “The Walking Dead” have played out.
If you were looking for a story with enough backlog to cover a few seasons, look no further than Ubisoft's sprawling historic epic. Just clearing Desmond's story alone could take a few seasons, and would be the perfect blend of action and drama. It also has the benefit of almost having an anthology feel, with the changing protagonist across multiple titles, and therefore multiple seasons. This and the changing locale mean the show could almost effortlessly keep itself fresh over time.
If “Dead Space” could show us the horrors of both monsters and people in a very cataclysmic situation, “Silent Hill” could spend a few seasons reminding us that sometimes, people are just evil. Sure, there's monsters a plenty, but the real horrors are the things people are willing to do to one another for their own ideologies. Add in that the series doesn't follow the same protagonist twice, meaning, again, we have an anthology situation on our hands, and you have a really great horror series, coming into your house once a week.
This one seems like an excellent raw intensity action series. While it may seem like the series couldn't contain enough character development, exploring the people around Agent 47 would do enough to string together the moments of suspense and action. Plus, the story of Agent 47 is fairly minor to begin with, so seeing someone attempt to add more depth to it wouldn't hurt.