Why Video Game Movies are a Thing of the Past


Halo, Uncharted and Call of Duty – are just some of the video games currently in various stages of being adapted for the big screen – and I for one could not care less! Video game movies are a thing of the past, and here is why…

When I was a lot younger than I am now, I remember getting goosebumps the first time I saw the teaser trailer for the first Mortal Kombat movie. I couldn’t believe my eyes – the game I had obsessed over was now a big budget Hollywood movie! I was going to see my favourite characters battle it out on the big screen in three dimensions. I was going to hear them talk and interact, and experience their world on a scale that the confines of a 16 bit console could never allow.

Back when computer games were in their infancy, the limitations of the technology gave cinema the upper-hand in regards to spectacle.

But now the tables have turned – modern video games are just as epic and ambitious as any Summer Blockbuster – if not more so!

Just compare Doom 3 with its cinematic counterpart Doom, as evidence. The Doom movie was nothing more than a watered down, smaller scale mockery of the video game series that it was based on.  The only remotely enjoyable moment in the movie being the 5 minute first person shooter sequence that came during the films climax. Why was it enjoyable? Because it reminded us of the superior game it was poorly imitating.

Technology has moved on so fast, that games are becoming more and more photo realistic with every release. They now have complex scripts, multi-layered characters, and the processing power to bring entire worlds to life. Worlds that are not only there to be viewed, but to be fully interacted with. A statement owners of the recently released  Heavy Rain, or Mass Effect 2 will no doubt support.

The only hurdle game creators face are the limits of their own imaginations. Entire worlds can be created by a group of guys in an office, with nothing more than some powerful hardware and a lot of know-how. Compare this with the limitations your average movie faces – the budget, strict release dates, the logistics of building sets and filming on location etc. All hindering the creative process.

With this in mind, can you ever see a movie being able to faithfully replicate the underwater city of the Bioshock games?

How much more spectacle could a Metal Gear Solid film offer in comparison to Metal Gear Solid 4?

What would be the point of adapting games like Drakes Fortune or Modern Warfare 2 when they are already incredibly cinematic?

Even the environments of older games like Half-life 2 and Gears of War would be far to expensive to even replicate, let a lone top on-screen.

My other qualm with the concept is that we still yet to see a genuinely good movie based on a computer game! Street Fighter, Doom, Super Mario Brothers, Alone in the Dark, the list goes on and on – all them stinkers! When Mortal Kombat is your best effort to date, and Uwe Boll is the poster child of your genre – something isn’t working!

The reason for the all round lack of quality, is that most talented directors are not going to touch a video game movie if their lives depended on it. There is still a stigma attached to this genre – and to be honest – rightfully so. The main problem with basing a film on a game, is that the game’s story is already a cannibalized version of a movie(s) that already exist!

For example –

How often do you hear a game be summarised with a sentence along the lines of –

…its like Predator, but on a boat.- the monsters look like the bugs out of Starship Troopers. Oh, and the final showdown is a bit like end of I Am Legend

you get the idea.

There are next to NO original tales to be told in the video game world.

This is why we just don’t need video game movies anymore. Modern technological advances have made them entirely redundant. Todays games are cinematic enough! Lets us just leave the two formats alone to be their own separate entities, so that they can evolve and flourish by themselves. Mixing the two the two will only lead to low quality imitations of the other that neither audience will embrace.

The world does not need another Street Fighter: The Movie!


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