My first video game I ever played was Pokémon on the first PlayStation. I apologize that I can’t remember the specific game, but I remember my dad got it for me because I loved the show. Games have been a part of my life for a long time. I find as much entertainment value in games as I do with films. Movie adaptions of games though?
That’s a tough case for me. It’s truly a mixed bag as to whether game’s story can be told as profoundly on screen. The first film series that comes to mind is Lara Croft: Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie as the title character. It was wildly successful in the box office, but it never played well with the critics. I can’t give you an honest review as to if the filmmakers stayed true to the game because I was one of the few that didn’t play the game. I did play the 2013 reboot of the game, but I didn’t finish it. Regardless, I personally enjoyed the film.
A case where the film wasn’t nearly as strong as the game was definitely Assassin’s Creed. I played the first game and my dad ended up playing the rest while I observed. The basic summary of the game is that Desmond Miles is descended from a line of assassins and he is able to connect to those ancestors through a machine called the Animus. The film takes the concept and leaves out anything else that is familiar about the series. Michael Fassbender plays a new character named Callum Lynch and his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha. This was something that was acceptable because the game series itself spans away from Desmond. However, the filmmakers didn’t achieve the balance between modern day world and the time jump back into the Spanish Inquisition. They focused on more on Callum’s story and went back in time to only see Aguilar throw a few punches. In the games, we learn more about Desmond’s ancestors such as Altair and Ezio on a deeper level. For me, it felt like I was robbed of that chance to really sympathize with Aguilar in the movie.
That’s the hard part of adapting a game to a movie. Games have the time and space to have a complicated storyline compared to films. Because I don’t have time to finish a game in one sitting, it takes me weeks to get through it. I mainly play Role Playing Games (RPG) so that tends to take longer since I’m an indecisive person by nature. I can only imagine what is like for a screenwriter who has never played video games to fit all those hours of story into two.
Dragon Age for example would be near impossible to turn into a film. The games chronical around the high fantasy world of Thedas which the player journeys through to defeat the dark forces that threaten it. There are three games in the series, each of which has a different main character. Even the supporting characters change around each game. The decisions that the player makes ultimately affects what happens in the other games as well. It would be too complicated for a movie to do it justice. A television show would be a better route if they were inclined to adapt it to the screen.
Case in point, video game adaptions are difficult to accomplish. It’s hard to place the important details from the game into the film that need to be there for the audience to understand story. Sometimes it’s best to leave things as they are. Enjoy the game and don’t worry about whether or not it becomes a movie.