We could make this a very short article and say that no video games should be movies, and no video games should have ever been movies. The number of bad video game movies is almost as high as bad remake movies, but that doesn’t mean we should never make video games into movies. If we didn’t, then we wouldn’t have Angelina Jolie dressed as Lara Croft, or Jake Gyllenhaal’s valiant efforts in bringing the Prince of Persia to life.
There are a few people who enjoyed the Sonic movie, and some who swear there are some good Pokémon movies. Though at the moment, Sonic is becoming a problem. Movie developers quickly forgot about the hundreds of video game movie failures as soon as that Sonic money started rolling in. Now we have a Sonic 2 movie and another Mario movie in the works. The truth is that some games should never be made into movies.
Here are just a few games they really shouldn’t make into movies. We tried to stick to awesome games, otherwise the list would be simply too long.
Any Dark Souls Game
With the possible exception of Bloodborne, they really shouldn’t make any of the Souls games (including Sekiro and Elden Ring) into a movie. The only reason why Bloodborne could be made into a good movie is because when YouTubers explain the story in detail, it actually makes for an interesting diversion on its own merit.
Anyway, the charm and beauty of the Souls games is that the areas you visit, the location, the enemies and the atmosphere tells a bigger story than the narrative that runs through the games. When you are exposed to the backstory, it is always in small snippets, and it only describes things like why a giant wolf was guarding a grave, or why a living pot with arms is filled with blood.
The problem with a Dark Souls movie is that it looks very good on paper, but just like the Silent Hill movies, it is very difficult to capture an atmosphere in a movie because it simply isn’t as immersive as a video game. Also, with a game like Elden Ring, you really can’t replicate the joy of discovery or the thrill of defeating a boss when you put it into a movie because they are both very personal experiences.
Red Dead Redemption 1 or 2
But wait a minute you scream, the Red Dead games are awash with narrative brilliance. The character development, the cast, the stories and how they are woven are things of beauty. Wouldn’t we want to see all of this on the big screen?
The fact that the stories are done so well are the biggest reasons why these games should never become movies. It is just like the Death Note animated series that ran between 2006 and 2007. They did the story so well that any adaptation afterwards (movie or otherwise) has looked like garbage. The Red Deads were done brilliantly, and they should bring out more games, but they will never capture that same magic in a movie.
Portal 1 or 2
The reason why these games shouldn’t become movies is partially why Portal clones are so rare. There are some entities that simply cannot be cloned. They are a perfect storm of elements, where even a tiny screw out of place can result in disaster. Even Portal 2, though brilliant, simply don’t have the rounded perfection of the first (still an amazing game though).
The robot from Portal seems like something that would work very well in a movie, but good luck trying to actually make it happen. Trying to capture that sort of magic simply isn’t worth the effort it would require to succeed. It is like if somebody bounced a power ball in their living room and it managed to smash every lamp and ceiling bulb in the room before landing in a mug of tea. It is repeatable, but the amount of effort required to repeat the success would be too much for most well-adjusted people.
Bioshock Infinite Or Yakuza: Like a Dragon
The stories are such central parts of these games that you would have to repeat them beat-for-beat in a movie in order to do them justice. It isn’t like a Resident Evil movie where you can throw a few civilians at zombies and hope for the best. The problem with copying the games so closely is that you offer very little that is new or interesting to the fans of the games, and if you are going to disappoint the fans, then why bother making the movie.
Some may make a similar argument for FFXIV. As they buy their FFXIV Gil from outside vendors and consider how much they have spent on this game in both hours played and money paid, they may wonder how their game would look on the silver screen. The trouble is that you would have to replicate the experience almost exactly, except for the grindy parts, in order to come close to giving people a FFXIV experience. That is not to say that all Final Fantasy games can’t be movies. The ones that came out already were okay (if you leave your expectations at the door).
Any Kingdom Hearts Game
These games shouldn’t be made into movies. They shouldn’t be made into movies because their stories are all over the place. Any game where the story isn’t tied down (or at least interpretable) shouldn’t be made into a movie. There is nothing wrong with a movie leaving things a little ambiguous, but when explaining things would take up most of the movie (or most of the movie trilogy) then it isn’t worth the effort of making.
One could argue that the inability to tie down the plot is one reason why the Metal Gear Solid games shouldn’t be made. Yet, if they simply edited out some parts of the overall plots, they could be made into movies. For example, the guy coming back to life and being on fire could probably be cut. Or, the many incarnations of Snake could probably be trimmed.
God of War
Of all the video games listed on this article, this is perhaps the most difficult to justify. At first glance, you would probably agree that the first few God of War games shouldn’t be made into movies because they mostly involve stomping various gods into the ground. However, the 2018 God of War would probably make a good movie. In fact, if you snip out most of the game play (except the bits with character building), and you just watch the cut scenes, then it is a pretty engaging movie.
The problem is that the relationship between the man and boy needs the game’s thirty hours to really stretch its legs. Even the developers said they wished they could have added more nearer the beginning of the game to show how the boy became a little more distant and before they set off on their journey. It would take a production team of exceptional skill to be able to turn the 2018 God of War game into a good movie, and Hollywood isn’t really swimming with talented people at the moment.
The 3D Fallout Games
Perhaps the older 2D games could have made interesting horror stories, and even Fallout Shelter could have been turned into a survival movie. But, Fallout 3, New Vegas, 4 and 76 may seem like they would make awesome movies on paper, in truth they would be terrible.
Part of the charm of these Fallout games is their setting. It is those moments of discovery, from seeing how rats have bred with moles, or seeing the funny stuff written on cafe walls by disgruntled robots. The discovery, the shooting, the surviving, and even the junk collecting are all big parts of the game. Strip these parts out (as they did with 76) and the game becomes a shallow and hollow shell. A movie would be no different.
What if they focused on a single narrative and the Fallout world was simply set dressing. In this case, if the producers were brave enough to go in this direction (and possibility throwing in a few legacy characters like Dog Meat and the Brotherhood of Steel), then it could be done. However, the producers would always be shackled to the idea that their movie is like an alternate universe Mad Max. Having on differentiate themselves while also creating a watchable narrative in the Fallout universe is a very big ask, and it has the words “Expensive failure” written all over it.