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Why Video Game Adapted Movies Often Fail

How many times has it appeared video game adaptation film? Lots.

How many have been successful both commercially and critically? Just a few.

We don’t need to mention the proofs one by one but you can already guess. Hmm… if you insist, well, we’ll name two of them: Tekken and Warcraft. Oh, want more? Okay, Street Fighter and Alone in the Dark. Again? Please search on Google.

The majority of people agree that film adaptations of video games often fail. So, what’s the reason?

The concept difference between movies and games

With movies, you watch. If games? Your answer reflects the conceptual difference between the two. We are gamer will participate in the game, while the movie is just watching (unless Black Mirror: Bandersnatch which incidentally is an interactive film).

The effects vary. One of them we can only sympathize with the main character of the film. Meanwhile, in the game you actually play a figure or character or whatever is the main focus. This participation effect has never been seen in any game film adaptation.

Limited duration

Some games with complex storylines are built through small details. That’s why it took you so long to finish. The Last of Us, for example, took at least 18 to 20 hours to completely finish. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim took even 300 hours.

Movies are not like that at all. On average, it only lasts 2 hours, which means it needs a concise and solid story. Video game narrative designer The way Ellison also expressed something more or less similar: “A good film has a short screenplay. Popular games aren’t like that.”

It makes sense if then movie Warcraft considered a failure.

Difficulty determining the storyline

the last of us part 2

The most practical way to create a video game adaptation is to choose a game with a strong story from the start. The choices are many. There’s The Last of Us, Red Dead Redemption, The Witcher, and Life is Strange.

But not all like that. Some games just highlight the side gameplay, e.g. games fighting or football (well lo!), so it had to design its own story to be filmed. If it’s good, really, no problem. But if it fails? Yes like Tekken and Street Fighter her fate.

It’s hard to film a game with a good story, especially a game that basically doesn’t have a story.

Too much has changed

For gamers, video game adaptations are like that fan service (material created to pamper fans). They will not have various expectations, because playing satisfaction has been obtained through games. The film then becomes an attempt to satisfy curiosity gamer related to the picture if their favorite game was filmed.

The problem is, the film is not able to present it. Something changed the storyline as in Resident Evil. Something like Street Fighter, was labeled a failure because of the wrong choice of actors. If these aspects alone are disappointing, what is then promised? Especially if the storyline is also destroyed.


Some production houses tend to push themselves too much into filming video games. In fact, the adaptation medium is not only the big screen. There’s still a series, which should provide a bigger container for exploration. The main reason is because of the longer duration.

The Witcher could be evidence. The series, which was adapted from the game of the same title, has been a success since it aired early last year. So if the effort to adapt video games will continue to be seen, it’s a good idea to use this one medium in the future.

After all, rather than film, games with a complex storyline more like a series. It is divided into several episodes, there are small details in each part, along with small conversations that play a role in shaping the character of one of the characters. Very serial isn’t it?