ByCallum Harrison, writer at
^ The one on the right -19 - UK - BA Filmmaking Student - Kingston University London
Callum Harrison

Let me start off by saying - In no way is MY personal solution, the correct solution to making good video game adaptations. Some will think it is horrible - to which I ask you to respectfully comment why and your personal solution or view. Otherwise here it is:


That's right, my big solution is to turn video games into TV shows instead. Some will love this idea other will vomit at the thought but please allow me to explain why the small screen is the perfect way to successfully adapt a video game!

Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Mass Effect?

Video games (some) are aimed to last between 8 - 20 hours depending on what sort of game it is. Some are more, some are less but the general idea of video games are to tell expansive stories, through a large cast of characters and vast worlds to explore. Simply put, the pure length of some games make them difficult to turn into films. Take games like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, The Last of Us and Mass Effect (using these because they have or are being made into movies) these games take a long time to complete 10 hours + at least! I clocked Resident Evil 4 at 18 hours, [Mass Effect](movie:589200) 1 - 3 at on average 24 hours and Silent Hill roughly 20-25 hours. That is A LOT of time and a lot of story covered in a lengthy period of time. Films last on average 2 hours, which is no where near enough time to even begin to scrape the general tone, story and character development of these games. You may get a general idea of Silent Hill in 2 hours but not the full picture (although the first film tried and I did LOVE it).

With a TV show, you have either 12 or 22 episodes depending on what genre it is (sitcom or drama) ranging from hour long episodes to 30 minute episodes. Now 30 minute episodes wouldn't work I don't think so lets rules them out straight away. Hour long episodes however are able to tell and covers sufficient detail to keep views coming back. Look at Game of Thrones for instance; constantly changing character narratives, travelling lands and featuring some of the best TV writing in recent years (Breaking Bad included). Imagine an Elder Scrolls game with the GoT treatment or Resident Evil with [The Walking Dead](series:201193) treatment? They would be fantastic!

This is why TV is perfect for video games. 12 - 15 hour series could perfectly cover the story explored in a game. Of course some elements might be missed but I think that is inevitable for some reason or an other. But fundamentally important story arcs, plot points, characters and even locations can be covered greatly in a series that can't be in a film. A film will choice 2 or 3 identifiable locations, keep a couple of main characters and the general idea of the overall story and then make something they can sell to an audience who may not be familiar with the game but in a way that gamer's and fans can think 'Oh yeah I know that bit'. The above is particularly aimed at Resident Evil because apart from the overall concept and corporation in the first film, I don't think there is a single character in it that is from the game and although they introduced fan favorites throughout, they were sidekicks or supporting roles and never the central character.

Also, over the past 6 years or so, I would say that TV has become more sophisticated in terms of production values. No way would a show like GoT or Walking Dead have been made in the late 90's early 00's but now-a-days TV has more money and a stronger reputation I think thanks to shows like Breaking Bad, GoT and Walking Dead. Mainstream film stars are turning to TV shows now. Vera Farmigra in Bates Motel, Sean Bean in GoT, Joshua Jackson in Fringe, Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates in American Horror Story, Anna Paquin in True Blood, Mads Mikkelsen Hannibal etc. I think big stars are turning to TV because they know that they are becoming a form of entertainment that is seriously on par with film now. Not to say that TV has been terrible in the past because it hasn't been but I am saying that film was somewhat superior because of budget and distribution factor. No one can argue that TV shows haven't found a huge audience. GoT and The Walking Dead have set world records for how many viewers they have had. It's undeniably huge. Also film stars now even lend their voices and likeness to games, Ellen Page, William Defoe, Norman Reedus, Aaron Staton, Michael Fassbender, Stephen Fry, John Cleese, Ben Kingsley etc... so there must be something appealing about them for them to do it!

So, overall TV works because of the lengthy format in which stories are told and because of their power in today entertainment industry. Major film stars are willing to take TV roles also because of their well told stories and there are some stories in video games that are beyond phenomenal and I think they will appeal to big stars because of this. Hopefully we will see game to TV adaptations soon because I can't bare to see more of my favourite video games being ruined in a film adaptation.


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