The recent news that the beloved Ratchet and Clank series is to receive a movie adapatation in 2015 had me thinking…that’s just one game in a now growing list of Sony’s Playstation IPs that are soon to be upon us in theaters. Other games with the same fate include Metal Gear Solid, Uncharted, and now Heavenly Sword as well. Whilst movies of games are a sensitive area of contention for many of us, there is still a definite and palpable potential for them to succeed. There are so many interesting games spanning multiple genres and styles on Sony’s systems that would make wonderful debuts upon the silver screen, and so I wanted to make a list of games that would cover the most interesting examples of them.
And here they are, starting with:
1. Sly Cooper
Sly’s smart-mouthed, yet smooth charm makes it very hard not to imagine him in a leading role in a heist movie. With his entourage made up of mastermind Bentley, sassy Carmelita Fox, and dim-but-charming Murray, the series’ signature banter between such well-written characters would metamorphose into something much larger. Without the interruption of gameplay, the writers of the script would have more space to build a bigger story and fill it with even more witty dialogue than is precedented for the series. Following the likes of Ocean’s Eleven, a slick, smart, and wry Sly Cooper action flick would definitely find itself doted on by adoring franchise fans worldwide.
Now this is one I would personally go crazy over for two main reasons; I really like Yakuza, and the games would work better as movies. Fans of Yakuza may actually agree with me on this one. Anyone who has played a Yakuza game will know that, for the most part, Yakuza’s gameplay is middling. While the randomized combat encounters are fun and have decent fighting mechanics, the encounters are too frequent (and it’s tough to enjoy anything beyond the 30th time thugs challenge you then give you money before running away, bleeding.)
No, the main draw is the story, characters, cutscenes and dialogue (which also suffer by being partially rendered and fully voice-acted in cutscenes, but mostly conveyed through text boxes). By doing a chronological entry-by-entry live action remake of this gritty Japanese crime epic, its flow would no longer be marred by players trundling through the game in the wrong direction. That particular frustration comes courtesy of the lack of a functional waypoint system (which, obviously, wouldn’t be an issue in a movie).
To me, Yakuza already feels like a movie tie-in series without the movies even existing yet. Give voice to the unspoken lines of dialogue, bring to life those beautifully animated cutscenes, and you’ve got yourself a formidable film series.
3. Demon’s Souls
Surprising is Demon’s Souls strong presence of lore in its mostly unnarrated traipse through the wounded land of Boletaria. Demon’s Souls’ story and world-building is often overlooked by gamers – and understandably so. For after its dramatic opening sequence, sparse are its offerings of plot or tale. What Demon’s Souls would thrive on as a movie would be its ineluctable dread, along with its undeniably oppressive horror, fear, and darkness. Interspersed with the atmospheric lore it already has, a Demon’s Souls movie would be a horror unlike any other.
By utilizing the game’s unique hatred for its protagonist, a Demon’s Souls movie would promise to be one of the most punishing examples of filmic storytelling and narrative. Brutal deaths, enormous demons, and gallons of blood and bone would be this one’s calling card, placing it firmly within the hands of a latent cult fanbase.
Ah. The one to satiate the need for fast-paced, high-decibel, cockney-villained action. Killzone.
Sony’s flagship FPS has enjoyed success just under what you’d expect of a shooter this big. It was deemed by many as the ‘Halo-killer’ of its time. It was not. It was praised as being one of the prettiest console games of this generation. It sort of was, yes. But what it really was was a great shooter with tons of personality, a visually stark colour-palette, and a distinct identity of its own. In terms of a modern-day movie equivalent, you could look to District 9 as its aesthetic sibling. Both feature battered technology, aged and brutalized buildings, rough human characters, and large explosions.
A Killzone movie franchise would fill the gap in most consumers’ minds where we desire near-mindless destruction, lots of guns and war, and Killzone’s universe is well-suited for such a space. It’s name is “KILLZONE”, to make my point clear, and anyone who is a fan of bullets and loud noises would be a fan of this, especially under the theoretical helm of talented directors such as Neill Blomkamp or JJ Abrams.
ICO. Arguably one of the seminally artful games created to date, ICO could, if adapted to the big-screen, provide a subtle and unforgettable cinematic experience akin to Journey. Illustrative of humanity’s innate penchant for compassion, an ICO film would encompass a broad range of human experiences and emotions, delving into the workings of a relationship built around fear and protection, featuring a relationship formed around a relentless sense of justice, and maintained by a too-vulnerable-to-reveal love between the protagonist and his female companion.
Ideal for those with a weakness for the unspoken word, ICO could revitalise the idea of film without dialogue, or film with nuance of a character so detailed that the story is told through it. There is something so indelibly beautiful about the world of this game that makes the prospect of recreating those arid-yet-vibrant landscapes, and those melancholy-yet-spirited edifices a marvel in itself.