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video game redemption

Lucia M. CabanelasLucia M. Cabanelas

Madrid

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There have been almost as many golden ages of video game adaptations as there have been of series and, as in the case of television fiction, the claim is not justified. The cinema, always eager for inspiration, resorted to the visual power of console phenomena such as ‘Tomb Raider’ or ‘Resident Evil’, but his jump to the big screen, like almost all video games turned into movies, was limited to recreating the spectacularity of the visual effects, in the artifice more than in the narrative. The strategy was repeated ad nauseam, sometimes with good box office results like the recent ‘Uncharted’ and almost always with great faces in the leading role –Michael Fassbender in ‘Assassin’s Creed’, Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Prince of Persia: The Sands’ of time’–, but it never finished consolidating itself, giving up completely.

Henry Cavill in 'The Witcher'
Henry Cavill in ‘The Witcher’ – Netflix

Now something is changing. The adaptations in the form of a series of the irregular ‘The Witcher’, which convinced the legion of followers who discovered it with the joystick of their controller, or the most recent of ‘The Last of Us’, which debuted as the second best premiere from HBO, show a paradigm shift, the maturity of digital culture, which has taken a leap in terms of graphics but above all in terms of video game narrative.

The merit of these no longer goes through the visual but the emotional. The linearity of videogames and their missions has disappeared with the possibilities of the open world that they offer and, above all, with their stories, which often take up more hours than the gameplay of the videogame itself, with information and dialogues that give context and depth to the plot.

In this sense, the format of the series seems to have become the perfect mold for the adaptation of this narrative evolution, fitting a new way of telling that engages and transmits in equal parts. The very structure of the format, through several chapters or seasons, allows replicating the depth that is already essential in the new video game sagas.

The clear example is ‘The Last of Us’, capable of generating the same interest in the main mission of the plot of the video game or the series as in the relationship between its protagonists, Ellie (Bella Ramsay) and Joel (Pedro Pascal), who ends up being almost more important than the fungus. No one wants to face the apocalypse alone, not even in a video game.

What is to come

The need for streaming platforms to feed their huge catalog with content has paved the way for these types of adaptations to take hold. The renewal for a second season of ‘The Last of Us’, announced by HBO Max this week, is just the first stone on the road to what is to come. In the immediate future, the bets are clear: Netflix will adapt the video game ‘Horizon Zero Dawn’, one of the great revelations of PlayStation, while Prime Video will do the same with ‘Fallout’, with the creators of ‘Westworld’ at the controls. , and ‘God of War’. Even the immortal ‘Tomb Raider’ will have her third chance to redeem herself… now on the small screen but without Angelina Jolie or Alicia Vikander.

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