Oh, Hollywood. The movie industry always seems to believe that turning video games into movies is a good idea, although no such movie has done well yet. There’s something that just doesn’t work when converting games into movies. Part of the problem is that movies lose the interactivity that gamers experience when playing those video games: a film just can’t duplicate that.
But Hollywood insists on trying and continues to latch onto whatever video game trend it can get its hands on. The latest is Life Is Strange, the time traveling action adventure RPG by Square Enix that captured the imaginations of gamers all over the world. Life Is Strange tells the story of a teen girl who suddenly finds that she can manipulate time to change the way events unfold around her. This leads her to discovering that she must figure out how to save her friends and then later, the world.
Life Is Strange is one of those games that focuses solely on storytelling. Throughout gameplay, the player must make choices that affects how the game proceeds, and ultimately, how it ends.
And that’s the problem with a movie adaptation. Unless Legendary Digital Studios plans on making Life Is Strange into an interactive movie, it’s going to lose much of its appeal.
Sure, Life is Strange has some wonderful characters: the quiet and creative Max, the outspoken and blue-haired Chloe, the suicidal Kate and the mysterious photography teacher Mark. As the game progresses, players uncover mysteries and figure out how to save those around them. But these choices eventually lead to a possible world-ending disaster. This is a story about the butterfly effect and its consequences.
That sounds like a great premise for a movie, but it really isn’t, because the game depends on the player to decide what happens next. A movie takes away that choice. In the game, the player must become Max and feel the heavy weight of consequence for decisions she makes. A movie will never achieve that feeling in its audience, no matter how hard it tries.
So as a video gamer who gets it, who understands why these games are so compelling, please, Hollywood, don’t turn this wonderful interactive storytelling experience into a one-sided adventure movie. Life Is Strange is already a work of art and should continue on the way it is.