Dear Hollywood: A students guide to making the best video game adaptation

Diego Blanco explains what factors make viewers want to rage quit the modern on-screen video game adaptation.


“A look at the Halo TV show on Paramount+, which is also renewed for a second season despite mixed reviews.” Photo by Adrienn Szabo –

Diego Blanco, Entertainment & Opinion Editor

Video games are the incredible, they can be an escape from one reality to another. Players could be fighting dragons or building a farm but, the best games however are story games.

A unique story with amazing mechanics, it’s what separates the game from other media. It is an expanded story that fits the media, but many movie and game companies decide that taking a game and shortening it down to a movies runtime will make just as good. Unfortunately, this is a practice that most likely ends in a box office failure.

The idea of making a video game into a movie can work, but trying it with specific titles does not work. A great example of originality is “Spider-Man.” It has had many video games and movies, but one of the most loved games is “Spider-Man” released in 2018. It does not follow a specific movie or comic. It takes multiple stories and creates a completely original story using what’s contained in those comics.

The game works because it uses the material to create something new, that becomes a special experience for the audience. The 2018 Spider-Man game shows how to adapt something into another form of media, yet over many years, it has shown to be a difficult task to turn it into movies.

A perfect example of adaptation done well is both “Sonic The Hedgehog” movies. They both have a completely original story despite being in a franchise 30 years old.

The Sonic movies are funny, well crafted and have great music along with great performances, and all are built off of many different pieces. Jim Carrey’s portrayal of Doctor Robotnik is based off “Sonic Boom” and the Sonic comic books.

Everything around the Sonic movies screams, “we understood this brand and what it means to fans.”

 While Sonic shows care put into it, a movie that doesn’t is “Uncharted” released in 2022. The best aspect of the “Uncharted” games is gameplay and character writing. Which the film completely ignores both. Viewers cannot have gameplay in a movie but the can experience a well crafted action scene.

When it comes to characters the writing also lacks creativity, instead of introducing the characters and having their charisma play off each other. It is presented very odd and it the writing is what viewers would expect from a sequel. When the characters have already gotten to known each other a lot more. That is where casting also comes into play.

Jim Carrey as Doctor Robotnik was perfect, because it felt natural and he understood the character. Tom Holland, on the other hand, is not a convincing Nathan Drake, while Mark Wahlberg is a great Victor Sullivan.

These contrast in character acting and the weird writing leads to some dialogue and scene between the character off and makes the movie feel weird because the connection between character is all over the place. “Uncharted” represents the exact copy that does not have the same impact as the games.

The truly awful adaptations are rare, but the majority of the time they come from companies that have the rights to properties and make something where very little effort was put into and it’s always very noticeable when something is cared about.

“Uncharted” clearly attempts and fails but the worst adaptations out of anything is the Netflix’s “Resident Evil” adaptation. “Resident Evil” is known best for its amazing concepts and comedy mixed with dark moments all together, “Resident Evil” has one of the most universally liked franchises. 

Unlike many other bad adaptations, audiences almost unanimously agree “Resident Evil” is awful. With a 55% on Rotten Tomatoes by critics and a 27% by audiences, the show was so awful and hated Netflix canceled the entire show after only one season. Resident Evil represents everything that is wrong with modern video game adaptations.

The story of Resident Evil follows Jade Wesker who fights infected people and all sorts of blood hungry creatures, that’s the story and also the only thing in common with the games aside from reused lines and names from the games. The show takes itself incredibly seriously despite it being part of a franchise of comedy and when it does make jokes it’s the most overly disgusting jokes, which does not help at all, the show goes from a incredibly serious to gross comedy in about three episodes.

The way to make a faithful adaptation is to not base it off an already existing story, creatures, beings and characters. Having a story that follows the exact same story does not work, because it will be compared to the original source. Writers need the story to be something original with inspiration from the games. 

The Halo TV show supposedly has the same lore as the games and books, but the majority of the show contradicts the established lore despite having new characters and an original story. It is infuriating when viewers are trying to understand something when they are constantly told two different things.

A good way to come up with an original story is to take multiple stories and see what can be changed to make it something new. Movie universes like the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes up to ten different stories for one movie. Those type of movies work because they take a concept that fans already know and altering it so the story is not repetitive and something new.

Writers should be faithful to the franchise’s rules and lore, but use multiple storylines to create something new or create something completely original that respects what came before.