D Bags of the Roundtable: Let’s Make Movies!

With Ratchet & Clank getting the big screen treatment, it seemed appropriate to ask the staff’s opinion regarding which other games might make for a quality film. What do we got, boys?

Scott Colby, Head Editor – Translating one a modern game that’s already plenty cinematic to film doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense. There isn’t much difference between the two media; adapting a Mass Effect or a Halo wouldn’t be a complete format shift along the lines of transforming a piece of prose into a movie. Rather than adding to the experience, you’re actually taking away a significant part of it: the interactivity.

For that reason, I’d rather see a movie create a new narrative or a side story of some sort than attempt a straight-up adaptation of a big game. For instance, I feel like there are a ton of stories to be told in the Mass Effect universe. I don’t really want to see Shepard fighting Cerberus and the Reapers on the big screen, but there’s plenty of room in BioWare’s epic science fiction setting for something new. The First Contact War with the Turians could be interesting, or maybe there’s a story to tell on the Citadel during Saren’s attack. It can be done, and I’m always interested to see settings I enjoy get fleshed out further.

John Koziol, Staff Writer – After Battleship was licensed to become a movie, I thought “Well, this is it. Anything can and will become a film franchise.” I should have made the connection after Clue, but at least that boardgame implies a motive, intent, an idea, the weapon…something; not just the battlefield engagement of combat tactics. With that said, I’ll write briefly about a classic game that will make a great movie. Even considering its lack of depth and story.

Tecmo Bowl has been my favorite game for 25 years and I will force it into every article I can. Its ability to license pro players through their union, yet not involve the teams or the league is quite intriguing in today’s market. Any plot can be pasted on top of that star power with great box office success. You could angle it as the third wave of independent football leagues. It can, no–it will portray an alternate reality 1980s Japanese takeover of American football. As long as it has someone pretending to be Bo Jackson doing incredible things, people will be happy. Even when insanely long passes go to Tim Brown every time. Endzone to endzone. Don’t bother covering Tim Brown if you play me in Tecmo Bowl. Seriously.

Nathan Ortega, Staff Writer – A big problem with video game adaptations for film comes down to the talent behind the projects.  Many of Hollywood’s more skilled directors and screenwriters would not touch these properties with a ten-foot pole, which leaves us with mercenaries with questionable resumes.  Couple that with picking properties that either are practically already interactive films or aren’t known for quality storytelling and it’s no wonder the idea of a game to film adaptation is a joke.

I think it can be done, however, with the right talent and concept.  The trick is finding a property with a ton of potential for stories outside of video games so that the film isn’t trying to find ways to shoehorn in elements from the game that don’t work in cinema.  I’d pick Ivalice, the world from Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, and Final Fantasy XII.  It has a rich history and tons of characters and settings to draw from, yet it feels bigger than just one tale.  On top of that, all the games set in that world have a unified tone that is part Shakespeare, part Star Wars, and part Lord of the Rings.

Handled by the right team, it could easily become a lengthy franchise with a lot of legs.  I’d probably lean towards a director with a history of these kinds of films (Peter Jackson, Kenneth Branagh), as they would get how to make these films interesting and fun in summer blockbuster terms.

Brandon Thompson, Staff Writer – I would love to see a movie adaptation of a Suda51 game, but not in the traditional big screen movie adaptation way. Giant budgets have already destroyed some of our more treasured gaming memories. This adaptation must be treated the same way all of Suda51’s games have been treated: independently. The hypervisualized nature of his games makes it almost impossible to recreate the action in a live setting, but challenge has never been something Suda51 has shied away from.

If I could pick which Suda51 game to recreate in a movie, I would have to choose No More Heroes. I’ve played through NMH at least three times and there’s still so much more I want to know about the characters. The story is always captivating and never gets old, but I think the best character is the town itself. Much like Silent Hill, Santa Destroy has so many unanswered questions and secrets that we as players will never know or fully understand. Therein lies the perfect story to tell that doesn’t tamper with what’s already been established in the game. Trademark for No More Heroes movie pending…

Rob D’Allegro, Staff Writer – I think Half-Life or Half-Life 2 could make great movies.  I think Gordon Freeman’s silence and some of the G-Man’s scenes might pose some problems, but a creative director could get around them and make it work.  I can imagine some G-Man scenes working like Frank’s in Donnie Darko, which would probably be awesome.  There’s just a lot of great characters in the Half-Life series, from Alyx to the various scientists and the vortigaunts, and there’s a very cool sci-fi story to be told as well.  Imagine Bill Murray as Dr. Breen!  I can see it now.

However, if the director/producer/executive came out and said they were going to make it more appealing to the masses, then I would be strongly against it.  If you have something great, then diluting what you have for the lowest common denominator is just not going to fly with me.

What say you, dear readers? Are any of our ideas worth it, or have we put together an staff of Uwe Bolls?

Check out episode 138 of the D Pad D Bags podcast, featuring Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite, Borderlands, and Pizza Hutt.

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