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Why Does Hollywood Struggle To Adapt Video Games But Continues To Do So Well With Comic Book Adaptations?

For perhaps the last twenty or so years, Hollywood has increasingly focused less on new IP’s, and more on adapting video games and comic books onto the big and small screen. Whilst there’s been significant mis-steps on both sides of this, there’s been far far more on the video game side. The comic book adaptations have become some of the most profitable for Hollywood, whereas to this day, Hollywood struggles to adapt video games.

If They Can Do One, Why Not Both?

Ella Balinska as Jade Wesker

On the face of it, you’d think if studios far and wide can adapt comic books with regular success, they’d be able to follow the same route with video games. Both have the source material already there, comic books literally have the storyboards, and a lot of video games these days are cinematic enough it should be a piece of cake. However, for every Marvel one billion dollar comic book film, we have a box-office and critical flop Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, or the more recent and equally terrible Resident Evil Netflix show.

Related: ‘I’m rooting for the zombies’: Netflix’s Resident Evil Mentions Disgusting Zootopia Porn, Internet Convinced Netflix Doesn’t Care Anymore About Quality

The real answer to the question comes with who is behind the films. For example, near enough every Marvel Studios property on the big and small screen is overseen by Kevin Feige, he himself a huge comic book lover and fan of the original stories he’s putting to the big screen. He then ensures the directors, writers and cast are either equally invested in the history, or at least invested in bringing a faithful adaptation to screen.

Of course comic book wise there’s also plenty of the other side of this coin, you don’t have to look far in Morbius, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Venom: Let There Be Carnage to see that. Whether it’s the studio interference caring more about the money than the story, or just people behind the scenes who don’t understand the source material, there’s a few comic book mis-steps.

A Playable Movie Should Make A Watchable Movie?

The Cast of Doom

Over the years we’ve had plenty of video game adaptations, from 2005’s Doom to 2021’s aforementioned Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. In both of these examples, the directors and writers stuck closely to the source material, whilst providing their own spin. Doom even had an FPS section to emulate the games! Resident Evil had the mansion, the small, claustrophobic feel in the city, lots of legacy characters, and easter eggs to future plot points from the games. They were both still poor. More recently the Halo show was released on Paramount+, with a lot of fans less than enthused with the silver screen’s portrayal of Master Chief, and the world of Halo in general.

Related: It had to be adapted for television: Paramount+ CCO Praises Halo For Overwhelming Subscribers Despite Horrible Fan Reviews

One of the few diamonds in the rough of video game adaptations is the Sonic The Hedgehog film, and its more recent sequel. Both deemed to be incredibly accurate and fun portrayals of the characters involved, this is one of the very few adaptations that actually worked, and who thought it’d be the super-fast blue hedgehog that’d be the best?

Maybe one day we’ll get a decent video game adaptation, and there are a few I’d like to see if done well (Gears of War anyone?!). But for now, I think we’re stuck with the near constant success of comic book adaptations (at least with Marvel Studios anyhow), whilst Hollywood struggles to adapt video games for us.

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Written by Luke Addison

Luke Addison is a writer for Fandomwire. He's an avid consumer of all things movie, TV, comics and gaming, especially Marvel.

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