May 16, 2014
Anyone remember Doom? Probably not, but hey, I thought it was actually decent. It still failed clear its $60 million budget, making only 56 at the box office, and is a pretty big failure. Sure, the movie has very little plot and the characters are not very interesting, but that’s pretty much how the game was back in the early '90s. Considering the game pretty much popularized the first-person shooter genre by itself, I’m sure the producers thought the movie could be a hit as well. Doom, while full of cheap thrills, is a pretty generic action movie overall, and serves as proof that the adaptations of video games to the big screen is a risky venture at the very least.
That’s not to say all video game films are total failures, of course. Street Fighter is one of the most renown games from the dawn of console gaming and the series is a huge inspiration to the rest of the fighting game genre. It has become famous in the video game world and is everywhere in culture. It’s almost turned into its own meme, and who has not heard of Hadouken by now? It’s also turned into a comic series, and even became a slots game on Betfair's Arcade site. It’s no surprise that someone tried to make a hit film out of it, but unlike Doom, Street Fighter actually made a decent profit by bringing in nearly $100 million at the box office. Even still, reviews for it were not favorable and it is hardly a memorable movie by now.
While video game films have earned a reputation for being failures, it is amazing to see so many coming out in the next few years. Fans of Assassin’s Creed can enjoy a movie starring Michael Fassbender in 201, and can look forward to more information at E3 in June. Watchdogs is set to come out soon, and amazingly enough, a movie is already planned for this game before it has even been released. Ubisoft is really pushing video games movie lately it seems, and it won’t be long before we see how successful the new generation of video game films are. There is even a film based on World of Warcraft that is planned to release in 2016, so there is no shortage of talent or money in these new attempts at video game crossovers.
Of course, film technology has come a long way since the moderate failures of the '90s and early 2000s. Animation gets closer to being even more beautiful than reality every day, and films such as Frozen prove how amazingly successful animated films can be. This definitely opens up the door for a video game film that heavily features CGI and other animation, such as Warcraft. Of course, modern games like Assassin’s Creed have much more defined storylines that can be explored in a movie, and perhaps they will be more than cheap thrills for viewers.
Given the promising future of video game films, there is still no shortage of cash grabs. Other games planned to release in film format include Flappy Birds and Temple Run. Maybe there is more to these plans than it seems, but they seem quite likely to go the same direction as Doom. Whether or not this keeps video game films in a bad light remains to be seen, and we can only hope that the producers of great films get the credit and viewership they deserve. There is no shortage of talent in Hollywood, and there has never been a better time for video games to hit the big screen.
If you’re looking for an example of a video game movie done right, be sure to check out Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. While the animation is far behind what technology is capable of today, fans of the Final Fantasy series fell in love with this film upon release and it became a hit, selling millions in Japan alone. With modern CGI, it is easily possible for a video game film to be a worldwide phenomenon, and the next big film might be sooner than you think.