We can make this a very short article and say that video games shouldn’t be movies, and video games shouldn’t be movies at all. Almost as many bad video game movies as bad remakes, but that doesn’t mean we should never make video games into movies. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have Angelina Jolie dressed as Lara Croft, or Jake Gyllenhaal’s valiant efforts to bring the Prince of Persia back to life.
There are a few people who have enjoyed the Sonic movie, and some of them swear there are some really good Pokémon movies out there. Although for now, Sonic has become a problem. Film developers quickly forgot about the hundreds of video game movie failures once the Sonic money started coming in. Now we have Sonic 2 and another Mario movie in the works. The truth is that some games shouldn’t be made into movies.
Here are some games they shouldn’t turn into movies. We tried to stick with great games, otherwise the list would be too long.
Any Dark Souls game
With the possible exception of Bloodborne, they shouldn’t turn any of the Souls games (including Sekiro and Elden Ring) into a movie. The only reason Bloodborne is such a good movie is that when YouTubers explain the story in detail, it actually makes an interesting diversion based on its own merits.
In any case, the magic and beauty of Souls games is that the areas you visit, the location, the enemies, and the atmosphere tell a bigger story than the one that takes place in the games. When you’re hit with the backstory, it’s almost always in little snippets, and it just describes things like why a giant wolf was guarding a grave, or why a living bowl would be filled with arms with blood.
The problem with Dark Souls is that it looks very good on paper, but just like the Silent Hill movies, it’s very difficult to capture the atmosphere in a movie because it’s simply not as immersive as a video game. Also, with a game like Elden Ring, you really can’t replicate the fun of discovering or the excitement of defeating a boss when you put him in a movie because they are very personal experiences.
Red Dead Redemption 1 or 2
But wait a minute you scream, Red Dead games are full of narrative brilliance. Character development, the cast, the stories and how they are woven are things of beauty. Don’t we want to see all of this on the big screen?
The fact that the stories are done so well are the biggest reasons why these games should never become movies. It’s just like the Death Note animated series that ran between 2006 and 2007. They did the story so well that any modification after that (movie or otherwise) looked like rubbish. The Red Deads are brilliantly done, and they should feature more games, but they’ll never capture the same magic in a movie.
Gate 1 or 2
The reason these games haven’t been made into movies is partly why Portal clones are so rare. There are some entities that simply cannot be cloned. It’s a perfect storm of the elements, where even a tiny screw in place can spell disaster. Even Portal 2, while great, simply doesn’t have the circular perfection of the former (it’s still a great game though).
Portal’s robot looks like something that would do very well in the movie, but good luck trying to actually make it happen. Trying to capture this kind of magic simply isn’t worth the effort it would take to succeed. It’s as if someone bounced an energy ball in their living room and managed to smash every lamp and ceiling light in the room before dropping into a cup of tea. It’s repeatable, but the amount of effort required to replicate success would be too much for most well-tuned people.
Infinite Bioshock or Yakuza: Like a Dragon
The stories are central parts of these games that you have to repeat in one movie in order to do them justice. It’s not like the Resident Evil movie where you can throw some civilians at the zombies and hope for the best. The problem with copying games so closely is that you offer very little that is new or interesting to game fans, and if you’re going to disappoint the fans, why bother making the movie.
Some may make a similar argument to FFXIV. Since they buy their FFXIV Gil from third-party sellers and consider how much they have spent on this game in both hours playing and money paid, they may be wondering what their game will look like on the silver screen. The problem is that you’ll have to repeat the experience almost completely, except for the tacky parts, in order to come close to giving people the FFXIV experience. This does not mean that all Final Fantasy games cannot be films. The ones that did come out were really good (if you left your expectations at the door).
Which Kingdom Hearts game?
These games should not be made into movies. They shouldn’t be made into movies because their stories are all over the place. No game whose story (or at least its interpretation) is not restricted should not be made into a movie. There’s nothing wrong with the movie leaving things a bit vague, but when explaining things that will power most of the movie (or most of the movie trilogy), it’s not worth the effort to make.
One could argue that the inability to connect the plot is one reason why Metal Gear Solid games shouldn’t be made. However, if they simply edit some parts of the overall plots, they can be made into movies. For example, a young man who comes back to life is likely to be cut and set on fire. Or, many Snake incarnations are likely to be cut.
God of War
Of all the video games listed in this article, this is perhaps the most difficult to justify. At first glance, you’d probably agree that the first God of War games shouldn’t be made into movies because they mostly involve trampling many gods in the land. Nevertheless, God of War 2018 will probably make a good movie. In fact, if you cut out most of the game’s gameplay (except for the parts with character building), and only watch the cut scenes, this is a very engaging movie.
The problem is that a guy-boy relationship takes thirty hours of game time to really stretch its legs. Even the developers said they would have liked to add more of the beginning of the game a bit closer to show how the boy became more distant and angrier before setting off on their journey. It would take a production team with exceptional skill to be able to turn God of War 2018 into a good movie, and Hollywood isn’t really swimming with talented people right now.
3D Fallout Games
Older 2D games might have made for interesting horror stories, and even Fallout Shelter could have been made into a survival movie. But, Fallout 3, New Vegas, 4 and 76 may seem like they’d make great movies on paper, in fact they’d be awful.
Part of the charm of these Fallout games is their location. It’s those moments of discovery, from seeing how mice breed with moles, or seeing funny things written on café walls by disgruntled robots. Discovery, shooting, survival, and even garbage collection are all big parts of the game. Remove these parts (as they did with 76) and the game becomes a shallow, hollow shell. The movie would be no different.
What if they focused on one story and the world of Fallout was just clothes. In this case, if the producers are brave enough to go in that direction (and possibly cast some old characters like Dog Meat and the Brotherhood of Steel), then it can be done. However, the producers will always be constrained by the idea that their movie is like Mad Max’s alternate universe. Standing out for themselves while creating a narrative that can be seen in the world of Fallout is very much in demand, and it has the words “expensive failure” written all over it.