Game-to-movie adaptations are nothing new; Super Mario Bros., which grossed over $20million at the international box office lays claim to being one of the first, behind Japan’s releases of anime movies Super Mario Bros.: Peach-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! and Running Boy Star Soldier no Himitsubu, but there have been numerous others, of every genre imaginable since. So, what is it about video games that makes them such an attractive silver screen prospect, and what’s in store for the future?
From control pad to cinema screen: Gaming adaptations and their audiences
There’s something inherently special about video games and the ways in which they’re able to captivate audiences. Whether it’s an engaging storyline, relatable characters, or a magical world brought to life in front of our eyes we just can’t get enough of those pixels on our screens, regardless of whether the movie seems a sincere adaptation, or one for adaptation’s sake.
Take Mortal Kombat, for example; widely panned by critics for its dumbing-down of the game series the movie still earned more than $120million at the box office, and is often cited in articles exploring the genre. 1994’s Street Fighter is similarly quotable, while movies from the Final Fantasy series, Resident Evil universe, and the Tomb Raider canon have delighted and dismayed audiences in equal measure.
One thing is for sure; previous game-to-movie adaptations have always aimed to please gamers, while appealing to new audiences around the world. Whether or not they’ve been successful is one thing, but filmmakers are certainly learning how to hone their craft based upon critics’ comments, and reviews.
Coming soon: The latest gaming adaptations to hit the big screen
In recent years, video games have become more and more ambitious, enticing gamers with backstories, supporting characters, and invented universes, all of which combine to create ideal cinematic fodder; indeed, some of the latest releases could happily stand alone as movies, and are earning legions of fans in their own right.
Take the recent Warcraft release, for example. Created by Blizzard Entertainment, the newly opened studios of gaming giant Activision Blizzard, the movie has been granted the responsibility of reigniting the buzz surrounding the franchise, which has dwindled of late.
Once the most popular MMORPG on the planet, World of Warcraft has seen fewer subscribers in recent years, but the buzz surrounding the movie could change that; indeed, as Activision CEO and Call of Duty Endowment founder Bobby Kotick looks on, the movie is set to win the gaming platform legions of fans, enticing those who revel in science fiction and fantasy but may never have ventured online before.
Directed by Duncan Jones, and starring Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, and Dominic Cooper, Warcraft pays homage to the many locations and storylines already popular with gamers, while ensuring that those unfamiliar with the franchise are educated and entertained.
Similarly surrounded by hype is the Assassin’s Creed movie, which stars Michael Fassbender, Jeremy Irons, and Marion Cotillard, and is due for release in December. While the Assassin games were once amongst the most popular video games franchises, releasing a new storyline each year, the last two installments received only lukewarm responses. It is therefore safe to say that filmmakers Twentieth Century Fox, along with the games’ producer Ubisoft, will be hoping to create a buzz around the franchise once more.
The hype is certainly looking good, with movie and game fans alike excited to see whether the characters, storyline, and locations can deliver. Even further ahead gaming fans and moviegoers have the final Resident Evil installment, The Final Chapter, to look forward to. Set for release in 2017, and starring stalwart Mila Jovovich, the movie will aim to wrap the plots of all six films neatly in a bow, while bowing out of the gaming adaptation
While Assassin’s Creed and Warcraft are set to arrive this year there are a host of game-to-movie adaptations set to hit the silver screen in the future, including Assassin’s Creed 2, which is already in the pipeline despite its predecessor’s pre-release status, BioShock, Minecraft, Sonic the Hedgehog, Asteroids, Call of Duty, Dead Rising: Watchtower 2, and Devil May Cry – to name but a few. It’s true that many of these adaptations are only in their early stages, but the fact that studios are willing to invest time and money in their creation says a lot for video game adaptations; they’re not going anywhere, so keep your eyes peeled.