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Good Games Shouldn’t Make Terrible Movies: How Hollywood Can Get it Right

What delicate cocktail must occur to make a game to film adaptation not suck?
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information

We’ve been waiting for a good game to movie adaptation for a long, long time. Yet ever since the cinematic abortion that was The Super Mario Bros. film, we’ve seen nothing but disappointment.

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Many a time we’ve been given hope by some pretty impressive team ups between acclaimed producer and shining new director (I’m obviously referencing the legendary almost team up of Steven Spielberg and Neill Blomkamp). And still more frequent we’ve been burned by rumors of bizarre casting (Mark Wahlberg as Nathan Drake – seriously?) and budgeting disappointments (Hideo Kojima cites insufficient budget offers as the only reason Metal Gear movie hasn’t been made). But I hope, nay, believe there is a light at the end of this proverbial tunnel in the near future.

 **Swear to me!**

Can Hollywood Discover the Gamer’s Influence?

Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, Rango) was originally in charge of a long rumored Bioshock movie. Unfortunately the studios refused to give him the budget he needed because Verbinski declined to helm it unless it could be a hard R rating, which given Bioshock’s subject matter, is a fair demand.

The Hollywood bigwigs were probably sitting in their baby-seal-leather chairs with their ivory smoking apparatuses thinking that they couldn’t POSSIBLY make money off of the gamer culture if they couldn’t make it a family film. We’re probably too jobless and dumb to know how to get to the theater anyway, right? But didn’t they say this about the comic book culture until X-Men? And they said the same thing about women in films prior to Bonnie and Clyde, didn’t they? All we need is one really solid adaptation for the people with the money to get those weird cartoon dollar signs in their eyes.

 **I’d like to get in that**

Get into the Game’s World

Sure, a movie of Snake’s adventure in Shadow Mosses or Issac Clarke’s dark journey through the USG Ishimura would be cool to watch; but we’ve seen that already. Scratch that, we’ve experienced it. A movie that just rehashes a story that people have already experienced is not going to cut it. They’d obviously have to make concessions in regards to the story and piss us off by skipping something important. Someone needs to take it upon him or herself to actually sit down and invest time into a screenplay that lives within the game world as opposed to a separate cinematic universe. 

We need to have a film that operates within the canon of a Dead Space or Metal Gear, while also making a meaningful contribution to it. I’m not talking about filming Solid Snake buying groceries (lots of protein, I’d imagine); what I’m saying is to film Solid Snake on his first mission (yeah, I know it was a game, but it was almost 25 years ago and I can’t be the only one who wants to really see it). They can make an original story that no one has ever seen before, providing it respects the source material and doesn’t make Snake into a blonde, whiny idiot – like Raiden or something. For something like Dead Space imagine this: A psychological thriller/horror film about the first widespread nechromorph outbreak during mankind’s existence.

All we need is a concept that plays nicely with the themes and tropes of the game’s universe and we have ourselves a movie. The best example of this is how Ubisoft treats the Assassin’s Creed series: they make it a point of leaving the games as games. In the expanded AC universe they add characters here and there that inform the canon of the main series, not mimic it. Which brings me to: 


**Fassassin’s Creed**

Star Power (no, I don’t want a Guitar Hero movie)

This one is already coming into fruition thanks to complete badass, Michael Fassbender. For those of you living under a video game-news-proof rock, The Fass (yeah… we’re close) has been brewing up an Assassins Creed movie with his production company New Regency along with the help and blessings of Ubisoft. Fass has signed on to play the main assassin in the movie, and I’d bet you any amount of money we won’t be seeing Altair, Ezio or Connor (for which we can all be thankful). 

The important thing take away from this is that we have an A-list actor not only acting in the film, but also funding a portion of it. This is an enormous vote of confidence for the mere concept of video game to film adaptations, in addition to something that puts my mind manic at ease.

**Don’t cross us… Were quick to anger**

Listen to Us!

Listen to the fans! Seriously, we know better than you. If we say to cast Nathan Fillion as Drake, do it or risk the wrath of the gamers. Hell, if we tell you to cast Danny DeVitto as Marcus Fenix you’d be better off doing it, whether you think its a good idea or not (it’s not). At the end of the day we are the ones that will give you a return on your investment. Adversely, we are also the people that can make sure your film doesn’t make a cent. So bigwigs – the decision is yours.

And by yours I mean ours.

 **No Uwe – thumbs down**
Also Uwe Boll has to Stop

No clarification necessary.

What do you think we need for a great game to film adaptation? Can the Fass cut it, or do we need to go back to the drawing board? Comment down below and maybe I’ll commission a beautiful marble sculpture of your likeness (clothed).

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Max Jay
I am an aspiring video game journalist and a professional awesome person. My words make knowledge parents in your brain that give birth to baby-smiles on your face. You can listen to my podcast by going on iTunes and searching Video Game Podcast Show!