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6 Movies That Could Be Amazing Video Games - Page 2

Third-Person Action/Adventure

One of the single greatest movie-to-game adaptations is 1997's PC release Blade Runner, a point and click adventure game that tells a story tangental to the one from the eponymous 1982 film. The story for Blade Runner, the game, follows a separate protagonist and blade runner during the same time period of the film, with plots and events that often intersect with Harrison Ford's (though Ford's character never actually appears in the game). For my money, this method of adaptation is one of the richest and best ways to tell a new story while honoring and perhaps even improving another. (Another good example of this is Enter the Matrix.)

This is how I would approach a video game version of the 2002 cult hit Equilibrium, a movie set in the dystopian world of Libria, where feelings are outlawed and the law in enforced by gun-toting warrior monks knows as Grammiton Clerics. Equilibrium not only has a deep universe ripe for exploration, but the unique martial art of the film--a fanciful form of statistically perfected and choreographed gunplay known as "Gun Kata"--is simply begging to be adapted into a fun video game mechanic. You could start the game as a Cleric in training, with Gun Kata skills that improve as you level up, and the story could quickly throw you into the terrorist underground of "sense offenders." Perhaps, during a mission in the Nethers to wipe out a terrorist cell, you are badly wounded and left for dead, only to awaken a few days later, your body free of the emotion-erasing drug Prozium. Then, filled with the weight of emotion and the guilt over what you've been doing, you join up with the terrorists in an attempt to take down Libria. Perhaps you even have a role in recruiting Christian Bale's partner, played by Sean Bean, who is discovered and killed early in the film, and maybe, in some subtle way, what you do in the game is directly responsible for Bale's character eventually succeeding in starting the sense revolution. Without a doubt, you should at least be acquainted with the Underground's leader, Jurgen (William Fichtner).

Like with Blade Runner, I imagine an Equilibrium game would flesh out dangling plot threads and seemingly random events from the film. For example, early in the film, Christian Bale's character attempts to go to an "Equilibrium" building to replenish some lost Prozium, but the building is in lock-down following a terrorist attack. What if, in the game, you are involved in breaking into the building and are directly responsible for the lock-down? You could also have fun little tie-ins, like perhaps you character once owned the dog that eventually becomes Christian Bale's undoing in the film. The bottom line is that the story is chock-full of potential, both in terms of the narrative and in terms of the gameplay. It could be a full throttle action game with a high body count and deep philosophical overtones, and if that doesn't sound like an awesome video game to you, you are dead inside.

Independence Day
First-Person Shooter

The first-person shooter has been the dominant video game genre for a decade now, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Most FPS games feature a character who weilds a variety of predictable weaponry--a pistol, an assault rifle, a shotgun, and a sniper rifle--and who is tasked with mowing down hordes of enemies, be they zombies, Nazis, aliens, demons, or demonic alien zombie Nazis. Still, despite how cookie-cutter the genre can be, it has also grown as a storytelling medium and spawned a few truly groundbreaking games like Bioshock and Fallout 3.

Necessary components of an FPS are a constant stream of enemies, a reason to carry weapons, and an interesting setting. This is why Independence Day would make a good FPS, not as a simple adaptation, but as a sequel. Imagine it: you are part of a squad of marines tasked with going into one of the crashed alien vessels and eliminating whatever is left of the alien threat. Independence Day leaves plenty of gaps to fill, and a storyline could emerge surrounding the secrets that the aliens still have. There could be varied enemy types, enemy weapons, and surprising plot revelations that would not require twisting the well-known story into any knots, because much of what was happening on board the alien ships is still a mystery.

They've been trying to get an Independence Day sequel off the ground for years now, but it's never quite worked out. It remains a popular bit of popcorn entertainment that geeks think on fondly, so gamers would easily get excited by a video game sequel. If you could get Bill Pullman, Will Smith, and/or Jeff Goldblum to lend their vocal talents to the project, so much the better, but the cool thing here is that you have a chance to build upon an existing mythology in a way that makes perfect sense. Hell, a video game sequel almost makes more sense to me than a new film.

I Am Legend
Survival Horror

Yes, Will Smith makes a second appearance on this list. I've been deeply critical of the recent adaptation of I Am Legend, but when I sit down and think about turning it into a video game, I discover to my surprise that I cannot think of a movie more suited to it. I imagine playing as Smith's character, Robert Neville, as he explores a post-apocalyptic Manhattan in search of supplies and answers, all the while knowing that zombie-vampire-creatures are stalking him in the shadows. Though I'd primarily call this game survival-horror, it would really be a mix of several different genres: during the day, you could have the freedom to explore the entire city in sandbox fashion, but if night falls before you get back to your safehouse, it quickly becomes a brutal fight to survive.

You need to get food, batteries, ammo, and other supplies, and pickings are slim. You have your dog to alert you to danger. You can stumble into nests where the infected sleep. You have to trap one in order to test your cures. You can visit the South Street Seaport at midday, where your AM radio broadcast instructs survivors to find you. You can go to the video store where you can talk with your mannequins. Heck, you can even play golf on an aircraft carrier.

Now, naturally, the story would have to deviate from the movie. Perhaps the entire thing can be a prequel (after all, the filmmakers have been trying to produce a prequel for quite some time without success), ending roughly where the movie begins. Who knows what adventures Neville had before? Perhaps there could be a storyline of you finding another survivor who is then kidnapped by the infected and you have to try to rescue him, only to discover in the end that it was all an elaborate trap set up by the infected to take you out. Regardless of the plot, though, the central idea of a sandbox-style survival game with wildly different gameplay between day and night is incredibly alluring to me. I want to explore an abandoned Manhattan with nothing but a shotgun and a backpack while monsters hide in the shadows; don't you?

These six movies are just examples. I would love to play any of these, but the possibilities are endless. I'm not trying to argue that every movie can be a good video game--that's simply not true--but that many great movies could become equally great games. I know a lot of people decry the lack of originality in the world, but a good adaptation can show just as much imagination, if not more, than a brand new IP. More importantly, though, I know millions of people would pay good money to play games like these, so I hope game developers are listening.

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-e. magill 7/17/2012


Copyright 2012 e. magill. All rights reserved.