Screenwriting : Video Games to Movies by Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services

Video Games to Movies

Hey! What are your thoughts on video game movies? I was born in '86 so basically grew up in the world of Nintendo and cartoons, Pokémon...

I haven't watched SONIC yet and don't know if I'll rush to it(hey oh!), but what's your take on why video game movies don't end up coming out great? Personally I think it's a fear to commit to the source material. DETECTIVE PIKACHU essentially worked because it embraced the world of the video games as realistically as it could. Then you have SUPER MARIO BROTHERS which, because of an insane directing team fighting against actors and producers, existed in some brand new landscape that tried to explain why the video games have plumbers fighting dinosaur-like creatures and well, obviously it didn't work (amazing set design, though). I thought WARCRAFT was decent, the issue clearly being that the studio forced Duncan Jones to cut down on the runtime, making several scenes feel disconnected and arcs cheated. I bet the original cut was over three hours and a lot better (maybe).

So as a screenwriter, what video game do you think you could adapt into a movie that works? I'm a big fan of the FINAL FANTASY series, but how do you take a 40-60 hour game and turn it into 90-120 minutes that still tells a full story, satisfies fans of the series, and brings in a new audience? Or would you pick something simpler like PONG (could be fun, building out a weird tournament style film around it a la BALLS OF FURY)?

I think it's an interesting challenge, and we might be entering a larger world of these adaptations if stuff like DETECTIVE PIKACHU and SONIC THE HEDGEHOG continue to do decent numbers.

Derek Reid

I rented Sonic last night. Pretty funny in places and great character-animation. The brother of a Stage 32 member actually did the re-worked Sonic after people complained about the first one, which turned me on to the movie originally.

Dan MaxXx

HALO has been in development for over twenty-years. The problem with that game, and many popular video games, is it's a first-person Point of View perspective and it's hard to transfer the same game emotions with an actor playing Master Chief.

"Hardcore Henry" tried it with a first-person POV. It was entertaining for 10-15 mins before I got dizzy watching from a camera's POV.

Martin Reese

The amount of story they have to put into a lot of these games is amazing. Heck they hire writers for videogames for a reason. If they just kinda follow the basic story of the game they may have more success. Of course this depends on what game you're talking about.

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services

Dan MaxXx did you read the Alex Garland spec that sold for $1,000,000? It's really good. The issue with Halo not coming together was Microsoft screwed themselves over. They tried to force a bidding war and the studios got annoyed and cut them out apparently.

Brent Bergan

My kids loved Sonic! It was a fun movie. I would love to find out why Donkey Kong is so mad... the current kids games are even bigger - basically a universe they write as they go with no end in site, lots of great opportunities

Jeff Caldwell

I'm looking forward to the next live action Mortal Kombat movie. I think it could be great if done right. The web series was cool. I wanna check out the new animated one too.

I also think Twisted Metal could be cool.

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services

Jeff Caldwell I loved the webseries. I haven't watched the new animated film yet, but I've heard good things. Not to trash anyone, but I don't think Paul W.S. Anderson is the right person to take on video game content.

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services

The Resident Evil films were successful, but as a fan of the games I still wish they went with George Romero's original script and take.

John Ellis

For me, in general - meh.

Here's a Wikipedia list of theatrical live-action releases:

You'll notice that many made a bunch of money, but only 4 gained a Rotten Tomatoes score of 50% or higher (only 3 for Metacritic). So I say again - meh.

Jeff Caldwell

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services I agree. Also funny that he did Death Race, which is basically Twisted Metal. I don't mean that as a shot, I know it was based on the 75 film, just funny how that worked out.

Jason Mirch

Such an interesting question Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services! I am also curious, which projects like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and video games looking more and more cinematic in their game play and transitions, do you think more "choose your own adventure" or hybrid video game/films will be on the horizon?

Stephen Carter

I agree with John - meh. Maybe it's a generational thing, but most seem shallow and overblown. Don't ever remember actually looking forward to one. (I love video games though). On the other hand, the Marvel franchises are killing it.

Ryan Cho (Cho)

I think that most of them don't work out because the video game itself has a lot of material, depth and character growth. In a feature film, there's so much content that they can show within a certain time/budget. It's a hard transition.

I'm the biggest fan of Kingdom Hearts, but I think that'll be a very strange video game adaptation, I'll think it'll be weird looking.

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services

Yeah Kingdom Hearts might work as a series but never as a film. Way too much going on.

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