We’ve all seen the screenshots of Tomb Raider then vs. now (Playstation vs. Playstation 4) and the reactionary words that went through our heads? “Wow! It’s so life-like,” as we stared at the individually detailed hairs coming out of Lara Croft’s head. “It could be a movie.”
How many times have you thought to yourself,
A) They should make a movie out of this game.
B) These cinematics look like they were filmed in a studio.
But alas, they were computer generated characters, possibly taking cues from a ‘mocap’ suit.
I was/am not a gamer fussed on graphics and how the character interacts with it's world. It wasn’t until I played the Crysis game on PC that I became aware of the beauty and realism of video games. At the time, it was said to be one of the best looking games released and had the capabilities to burn out your motherboard—that is not a myth people. And so, my laptop couldn’t handle it and I endured through the story at what seemed to be a few frames a second. But I loved every second of it. The Story was great. The Character development probably some of the best I had ever experienced—I had only ever played Nintendo up to this point—and the scenery was amazing as well. Due to the low frame rate, I was able to take a great look at the surroundings, and where the enemy in my hands was going to land.
Is A Movie Inevitable?
What I came to realise after purchasing the sequel, was how great this series would be as a movie. And I certainly wasn’t the only one hoping for that.
But I certainly wasn’t the first person to ever want a movie from a video game. Certainly not. There have been many: Mortal Kombat (more than one), Super Mario Bros, Lara Croft/Tombraider, Resident Evil, Hitman, Halo and I guess you could classify Pixels and Wreck-it-Ralph among the ‘genre’. The list is a long one-however what is the common thread with each installation?
A failure in the eyes of the general audience. When I say this, I recognize that many do still like and enjoy these -however, the general public views them as b-grade films. Why? Because up until recent years, the ‘gamer’ has had a certain aura of alienation surrounding it. It has been often considered an immature past time.
The Element of Story Telling
Cutscenes fill in gaps between gameplay and more often than not look better than the game itself, so as to give an enjoyable and cinematic experience.
Storytelling is a vital part of the gaming experience and as a result what is a better way to tell a story than through a movie?
Assassin’s Creed Unity, released 2014, cost an estimated $150 Million to make. That's as much as Thor. However, it took years to craft a game such as Unity. Why you ask? Well because the creators have to keep people entertained for more than 120 minutes, and so as a result thousands of man hours must be dedicated to creating an interactive world. And that's just mentioning the creative side. Stories have to be written. Bugs have to be debugged. Marketing has to market.
But here lies the answer to why it is so difficult for a company to create a movie based on a video game. Time-restrictions. A game, as mentioned above, must keep someone entertained for hours upon hours, and sometimes days. Despite this need though, it can't be too long if the story isn't well crafted. The characters and stories are developed to be interacted with. However, in saying this, there are still countless series which can make a great plot without interactivity, but the development and story procedure requires much longer than two hours.
If Not A Movie?
The alternative? A TV series. If a studio was to create a series based on the adventures of Lara Croft, the character would be given the chance to develop over time; have a climax and challenge every episode. Many stories could be told. Look at Pokemon; probably one of the most well known television shows around. After about 18 years, it is still running new series based on each game.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article about playing video games based on your favourite LEGO minifigures, and the same theory applies here. Having a movie made about your favourite character is enthralling.
An example of the changing times: The Assassin's Creed movie will be released next year, with Michael Fassbender as lead and director, while Ubisoft has plans to make multiple movie iterations of the best selling games—Splinter Cell and Watch Dogs (another personal favourite).
Will I see a Crysis movie in the coming years? Probably not. However, if they were to release another entry into the finished trilogy—not counting that Psycho 'expansion'—I would definitely buy it. Story telling in a video game is often a lot easier, but also much better than in a movie. It's a cop out reason but it's true. There is a lot more time to develop everything involved. Whether or not the studio does is up to them.