Yes, we’re at it again, taking one thing and turning it into another. But this time we take a look at something that many people actively try to step away from, video game movies. Now I know video game movies are somewhat of a cursed concept, with only a select few actually coming out as successful, and even then I struggle to call Detective Pikachu a ‘video game movie’ because of the additional existence of the anime and other media. But that aside, today I will talk about 5 video games/video game franchises and talk about how I think it could work as a movie. So without further a do, let’s jump into it.
Legend of Zelda
Starting off with what’s probably the easiest one on this list to turn into a movie, Legend of Zelda seems. With Legend of Zelda, its very easy to make a movie in my opinion, or rather movies. The problem with so many big video game adaptations is they try to cram in so much content from the games in just one film. This is something that would ultimately crush a Legend of Zelda game due to the vast amount of content. There’s also so many stories you can use from the franchise to make into a film, Majora’s Mask, Ocarina of Time, Skyward Sword and my personal favorite pick, Breath of the Wild. Breath of the wild has the correct structure for a cinematic outing, the hunt for the guardian robots, the ultimate end quest to kill Calamity Ganon, it has the feel of a Tolkien style narrative. If you were to make a Lord of the Rings style fantasy epic trilogy, I feel like you could really make a great story. I’m not gonna talk casting because I don’t really know anyone, except I feel Vin Diesel would work as Ganondorf.
We already know Kirby works in TV show form, but what about movie? One thing I feel a lot of video games like Kirby need in order to thrive as movies, is one simple thing, animation. If you were to put Kirby in a live action setting it just would not work, like Sonic the Hedgehog. A feature length animated Kirby movie would work for both young fans and old fans. Kirby is one of those franchises that brings people together, like Mario but…pink and pudgy. As for the main plot? Either write something based on one of the games, maybe The Great Cave Offensive or something, or write up a new plot with one of the old villains like Marx or Magalor. Or better yet why not have a movie in the same universe as the 2001 cartoon. Kirby is identifiable and loved by all, so a movie with him in it would surly have widespread appeal.
Bendy and the Ink Machine
The indie horror hit of 2018, Bendy and the Ink Machine is a concept that I believe is prime for a big screen adaptation. A game in the style of old 20th century cartoons, at a time when things like Cuphead and the ever aching feeling of nostalgia is ever present? The iron could not be hotter, now’s the time to strike! Bendy and the Ink machine might have met division over its actual substance as a horror experience, myself and others finding it to be a sub par horror experience, but I will definitely praise the game for atmosphere and presentation. An animated horror movie is something you don’t see much of, so a 20th century animation style Bendy movie would be a real treat and stand out among other movies. We’re in an age where people are leaning back to 2D animation with nostalgia as well as a saturation of 3D animated movies, so this would open up so many doors of opportunity.
One of the most brutal, twisted and scary horror games in recent memory. Outlast is a game known for its terrifying story, creepy imagery, grotesque gore and truly exhilarating chase scenes. In an industry with movies like Saw, Terrifier and other gorefest films, a movie like Outlast would be right at home. While I personally am not a fan of these types of movies, I feel that Outlast could really work as one of these types of films. The brutality and mysterious lore of the game has the workings of a great asylum thriller. Not to mention there’s different games in the franchise, Outlast 1, the Whistleblower DLC and the sequel Outlast 2. I don’t have much to add here, Outlast is probably the easiest horror game to adapt into a movie, and it’s easy to see why. These games are scary, they’re intense, they’re twisted, and this is the kind of horror that I think would really sell as a movie if it appeals to the correct fans.
Layers of Fear
Here it is, the ultimate video game movie choice from me. Layers of fear is an indie horror game/series that stands proud as one of if not my favorite horror series of games to date. These games follow a character as they wander through ever shifting environments, tormented by hellish visions and visages of monsters from their past. I love this kind of horror, the kind that tells a twisted story with ambiguous themes and a heavy focus on atmosphere and impending dread. Layers of fear would make for a fabulous movie, one with a forever changing environment and a really immersive feel to it. The fist game follows an artist as he adds layers to his twisted painting, while the second game follows an actor as they add layers to their character. Either have one of these be the main focus, or have a new angle to take the ‘layers’ approach. Personally I think a Layers of Fear style movie about a singer with ‘layers’ of their performance or a mine worker of sorts delving deeper into the ‘layers’ of the earth as they uncover dark secrets and flashes from a dark and sinister past. This franchise has been met with lukewarm reception, some praising the gamers and their trippy style, others say it lacks real stakes or worthwhile gameplay mechanics, and they are both right. I don’t think these games are perfect, but for what they’re worth, I find the ever shifting environments, the random events that never fail to catch me off guard and the generally ambiguous lore and story.
In the end, there are a lot more movies I could’ve picked, and maybe it’s a bad idea to adapt any of these. Video game movies aren’t exactly high quality media as we know. However Detective Pikachu may be signs of good things to come, and so if this upward trend continues, video game movies may in fact be on the rise again. We all have that one video game we wish was a cinematic spectacle, here’s hoping the next one they try is done right.
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