2019 was the year of The Witcher on Netflix, and its huge and slightly unprecedented success got me thinking whether we were on the verge of seeing the beginning of the Golden Age of the video game movie and TV adaptation.
The Witcher is based on a series of books by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, but also a series of very popular video games by Projek CD Red.
The Netflix show’s creator and showrunner, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich has claimed that they adapted the story from the books, but they were also very heavily inspired by the video games.
Now, I will make it perfectly clear here. I have not played much of The Witcher video games. I’ve only played bits of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on my Nintendo Switch, and so far, it’s pretty good.
However, I have it good authority – my two brothers – that the games are amazing and worth playing.
So, this makes The Witcher TV show on Netflix the first genuinely decent video game adaptation?
Is The Witcher the start of the era of video game adaptations?
First off, it’s not a movie, so it can’t be classed as the best video game movie of all time.
Yet, it’s something even more than that. It’s a TV show which was inspired by a video game. That’s even harder to pull off, or is it?
We’ve seen some awful video game movie adaptations over the years. The Mortal Kombat films, the Tomb Raider movies, and the worst of them all, the Super Mario Bros. film.
Now, that was a terrible video game movie adaptation.
There have been a few films to come out in recent years that got us hoping for better in the video game movie genre.
We’ve had the likes of Alicia Vikander’s Tomb Raider and Ryan Reynold’s Detective Pikachu.
However, they’re still not been amazing and suffer the same problem all video game movies seem to suffer from – they’re poorly written.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you The Witcher is well-written. It’s not.
The dialogue is clunky at best, and the non-linear plot makes little to no sense.
Are video game movies and TV shows going to be good in the future?
Read more: Detective Pikachu Review
However, people really loved it, and there’s a reason for that. It stayed faithful to its source material, and it did what a video game does so effectively – it immersed you in its world.
One of the great things about the Netflix TV show is that you felt like you were exploring a new world with Henry Cavill’s Geralt of Rivia, and it worked.
Yes, it’s bonkers. Yes, the story makes no sense.
Yes, Cavill’s acting leaves a lot to be desired. But, none of that matters because the TV show captures your imagination and makes you want to find out more about the world you’re looking at.
That’s the big pull of video games, and why people spend hours upon hours playing them, and perhaps is one of the main reasons why video game movie adaptations haven’t worked in the past.
It’s too difficult to make you feel immersed in the world when you only have two hours to do it.
So, I’m wondering whether The Witcher’s popularity will convince producers and studios to make more TV shows and longer-form movies based on video game properties.
There’s been talk of a Legend of Zelda TV show at Netflix for years, and that would be the perfect place for it.
Might we be saying goodbye to comic book movies and hell to films based on video games?
I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Bloodborne TV show somewhere down the line, and I know they’re working on an Uncharted movie which is going to star Tom Holland.
Although, that movie’s lost yet another director, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen with that particular video game adaptation.
If Sony were smart, they would already have the likes of the Uncharted and The Last of Us films in development and ready to come out, but they’ve oddly dropped the ball with those properties.
If any video game were to make a good movie, it would be one of those two, because playing them is basically like watching a film.
However, I think that The Witcher’s success will open the floodgates and we’ll now see the beginning of the age of video game movie and TV adaptations, just like how Christopher Nolan’s Batman films and Jon Favreau’s Iron Man started this age of comic book films.
Before those films came out, comic book movies weren’t doing so good, apart from the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films, and they were tainted by the release of Spider-Man 3 which was a dumpster fire of a movie.
Perhaps this coming decade will be the years in which Hollywood frantically make movies based on video games, and they have loads of properties to choose from.
Which video games would make good movies and TV shows?
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In this article alone I’ve named a few games which would make excellent movies and TV shows: Bloodborne, The Legend of Zelda, The Last Of Us, Uncharted… but there are loads more.
The Metal Gear Solid games would make great yet slightly bizarre movies.
I know there are loads of video games out there that people would love to see turned into films or TV shows, and producers and studios might start to take them more seriously post-The Witcher.
What do you think? Which video game would make great movies or TV shows?
Let us know in the comments below.
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