NewsWhy is making video games based on movies and...

Why is making video games based on movies and vice-versa so difficult?


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Image by Ernesto Rodriguez from Pixabay

Veteran gamers will already be familiar with one of the great frustrations of the games industry. No, we’re not talking about day-one patches because publishers rushed out releases. We’re thinking about another kind of dismay entirely, and that’s when some bright sparks decide to turn our favourite video games into movies.

Right now there seems to be a plethora of such movies hitting our cinema screens. Over the last couple of years, we’ve had several. There was Mortal Kombat and Werewolves Within, followed by Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City in 2021, then Uncharted and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in 2022. We’ve also had The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Five Nights at Freddy’s in 2023.

If history is any indication, most of them usually end up being utter pants, not worth the price of admission, often horrifying for true fans of the original games. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at this IMDB list of reviews at

The same thing also happens in reverse, with practically every major cinema blockbuster accompanied by their very own licensed video games, and they too come with their own particular variety of success or failure. Since the first “official” licensed movie to game title was Raiders of the Lost Ark back in 1982, released on the Atari 2600 console, it almost seems commonplace for every major movie feature a game release.

But it would seem that trend is also slowing down, mostly because bigger budget AAA games can take anywhere between two and four years to produce. For a lot of major studios, that’s too long to wait as part of their merchandising revenue cycle. That being said, it does open up the door for smaller games studios to throw their hat in the ring, and we have seen a few more of those lately.

Regular readers may recall that we took a closer look at one movie to game release quite recently, giving valid opinions about Jumanji: Wild Adventures and with something of a critical eye, which you can read at

In many respects, this was a good example highlighting that movie to game crossovers don’t always get it right. And in this case quite surprising, really, given that Jumanji and its sequels were based on a fictional board game, featured in a novel of the same name published back in 1981. Thankfully, some developers and studios manage to do a better job with officially licensed games.

By stark comparison you then have something like the quintessential Aussie movie franchise. To be fair, the iconic Mad Max series lent itself perfectly to gaming action, filled with violent and gory combat, high-octane car chases across the wasteland, capturing the very essence of the cinematic experience.

Avalanche Studios and Warner Bros. Games did a really good job with their Mad Max game, which conveniently enough, came out the same year as Mad Max: Fury Road hit movie theatres. Both received positive reviews throughout the media, while the game still receives much praise from users at gaming platforms like Steam and GOG.

Interestingly, the Mad Max franchise also spawned a range of online pokies, combining the Australian passion for spinning reels and games of chance, with the famed post-apocalyptic world. And that movie crossover isn’t alone, as pokies themed around movies tend to be some of the most popular at casino sites. Fans of that particular gaming niche can find out more at

What this appears to suggest is that it’s not always too hard to hit the right note, as the Aussie gaming scene seems to indicate, having made the transition from film to game quite successfully. Most importantly, they have managed to engage and entertain players, and that’s ultimately what matters most of all.

But to leave you with something to ponder, so long as any game to movie releases aren’t made by German director Uwe Boll (Google him and you’ll see!), there’s always a half-decent chance the production will be reasonably good. All we need is that directors, producers, and even the actors are genuine gamers, fully understanding their source material and audience.

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edney
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.

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