Imagine a world where video games and films aren’t just their own as isolated identities, but actually work in tandem to construct a shared experience. How great would it be if the events of one in either of those mediums are a direct expansion in the other?
Sounds pretty great, right?
Video game movies often leave the genre worse off than they entered it. Even big brand names like Assassin’s Creed or Tomb Raider, which seem designed for the big screen have failed, not only earning at the box office but also connecting with the audience.
So where do these seemingly perfect fits go wrong?
The problem is not the story, world, or even characters are uninteresting; it’s that the movies try to adapt the video games exactly how they are. People often forget that everything in a game–the story, the world, and the characters–are all designed with the gameplay in mind. They have to make the game feel smooth and creating that “addiction” to play, while also allowing the player to play it how they want.
This is why video game movies fail. However, I believe one would not.
A ‘Destiny’ movie could work
To understand how this game would change every game portrayed on film, you have to somewhat understand how ‘Destiny’ works. Throughout the game’s five-year span (at the time of writing this), one major complaint has been that it has no real story or any interesting characters. Except, if you look a little closer… it really does.
While story lines and developed characters have just moved into the forefront with recent content drops, ‘Destiny’ has been riddled with loads of interesting lore cards since day one sharing the short, and sometimes forgettable, stories. Nevertheless, they often expand upon the world, flesh out events and characters, give background to weaponry, and dig deep into character stories grand enough to warrant their own novels.
While a good chunk of the story can be found within the gameplay, it’s safe to say that the majority of the story takes place in these lore cards. This is what could set ‘Destiny’ apart when it comes to big screen adaptations.
A ‘Destiny’ movie doesn’t have to worry about appealing to the fans of the source material’s story or characters. It just has to tell a new, compelling story within that same world (Like Assassin’s Creed attempted to do). This allows the filmmakers to create a unique story that includes interesting new characters exploring a new corner of the already established world.
For example, a summer movie set in the world of ‘Destiny’ following a legendary fire team as they venture to a new planet. On this planet, they fight a giant monster, similar to the structure of a raid in the actual game. Later that fall, a brand new DLC drops inside the game in which players are now able to explore that planet from the film and access new story missions based around the events in the film. This helps to connect the game to the movie.
Game and movie stories should be separate
The only similarities between the two would be the lore and sometimes the enemies being fought. Overall, these would be very different, contained experiences. However, it would still greatly reward the players of the game for watching the movie. Conversely, the viewers of the movie are inspired to play the game.
This isn’t just highly satisfying for fans of the source material as they are rewarded for actively being engaged in the franchise, but could be massively profitable. This way of thinking would add another way to reach a wider audience creating a new opportunity to increase the franchise’s fan base.
Many people groan when talking about the profitability of products, especially in video games (I’m one of those people too). The company that makes the game and its investors make their stack of cash from the wide audience reached by connecting the film with the game. More importantly, it will be us–the players and moviegoers–who get to reap all of the benefits.
If done right, a Destiny movie could transcend the video game movie genre.
Strategic development of the game and the movie together would start a trend that would forever change the entertainment industry much like what the Marvel Cinematic Universe did for blockbuster franchises.
It is sad to see all of the victims that have come out of this genre, but I have strong faith in it, and believe that this method of connecting the film with the game would break the video game movie curse.