Video games, films, and series: the marriage of genres is accelerating, boosted by the hope of juicy profits, like the arrival in cinemas of “Uncharted”, a successful title on Playstation consoles.
Uncharted Films – Video games
The Japanese giant Sony has not skimped on the means to transpose its game to the screen, which borrows a lot from the “Indiana Jones” saga: it has recruited a panoply of famous actors including the Briton Tom Holland, the darling of the young generation and hero of “Spider-Man”, but also the American Mark Wahlberg (“The Infiltrators”) and the Spaniard Antonio Banderas (“The Mask of Zorro”).
Intended for a family audience, this feature film raises a lot of expectations. “It’s a colossal success at stake (more than 40 million copies sold to date, editor’s note) which should not result in a failure in the cinema”, warns Laurent Michaud, video game economist.
If it becomes a blockbuster, Sony, king of consoles and a major player in the film industry, will obviously have a vein to exploit. The group “has a lot of other successful video game franchises it can draw from,” said Mio Kato, an analyst at LightStream Research publishing on the Smartkarma platform.
The recipe is nothing original and big screen ports have long since emerged, starting with a poor quality “Super Mario” (1993).
First real box office success, despite mixed reviews: “Tomb Raider”, which hit the screens in 2001 and starred American actress Angelina Jolie in the role of Lara Croft.
Other characters have also taken the opposite route, for a result that is again often debatable, but some games have been unanimous with players and critics, such as “Goldeneye”, from the “James Bond” saga, on the Nintendo 64 console.
As John Evershed, director of the strategy for American animation studios Trioscope, notes, there has recently been a massive increase in video game adaptations into films and series.
– Building loyalty – “Barely two years ago, there was only one notable adaptation of a television series based on a game: +Castlevania+ (a game by the Japanese group Konami in a universe inspired by +Dracula+, editor’s note ). There are now more than 12 series in various stages of development and/or production,” he told AFP.
Among them: “Arcane”, broadcast as “Castlenavia” on the American streaming platform Netflix. This animated series, a variation of “League of Legends”, the flagship entertainment of the American studio Riot Games, was released in November, a few hours after the Worlds final of this e-sport title among the most followed in the world.
Produced in collaboration with the French studio Fortiche Production, it was unanimously acclaimed by critics.
The French Ubisoft has also decided to decline on the screen its flagship games, such as Rabbids or Assassin’s Creed, expected soon in series on Netflix.
Experts give several reasons for this craze for this kind of adaptation. “Video games have become overwhelmingly important in leisure activity. They are more culturally relevant for 18-34-year-olds than music or cinema (in terms of the size of the industry)”, underlines Mr. Evershed.
The base of the number of players has also widened considerably. As Mr. Michaud remarks, “there are now people in their 50s, 60s who play. When you release a film inspired by a game, you know that you have the possibility of attracting a huge audience”.
In addition, notes Daniel Ahmad, an analyst at Niko Partners, “streaming platforms, such as Netflix, can hope to attract and retain viewers who are gamers in order to increase their number of users, and one of the means of achieving this is to offer content that appeals to them, such as games”.