Whenever a movie has been announced for a particular game, gamers get excited, then they get a little nervous, and a little worried that the movie won’t be able to do the game justice. After all we’ve seen more than our fair share of flops from movies that are based on video games, like Doom.
Speaking to USA Today, Kirk Kjeldsen, an assistant professor in the cinema department at the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University, attempted to explain why movies that are based on video games tend to not do so well. This is in response to EA wondering why the Need for Speed movie did not perform better, especially since it did show a lot of promise at the start.
According to Kjeldsen, movies and video games are “completely different animals”. He explains that this is because the way a movie is structured is different from how video games are structured. “Translating a non-linear narrative into a linear three-act structure is like making a song out of a painting or a sculpture.”
Kjeldsen adds that the video game movie which came close to impressing the critics was none other than 2010’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, stating that the movie did a good job at taking the best parts of the game and discarding the rest.
However another professor of film studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Wheeler Winston Dixon, states that the simple reason why video game movies don’t do well, or “fail” according to him, is because they aren’t interactive. “With video games, the player is really the star of the movie, directing the actors, deciding what plotline to follow — and most importantly for most games, whom to shoot down to get to the next level. When this aspect of the game is missing, viewers no longer feel like part of the action.”
Is what they are saying true? Well if there is any truth to their claims and analysis, hopefully upcoming video game movies like Assassin’s Creed and World of Warcraft will be able to learn from this and hopefully not disappoint the fans that play its games.