Game Studios Chasing Live-Action But Real Potential Lies In Anime Adaptations

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More Adaptations Like Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Are Welcome!

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  • The gaming industry is actively pursuing live-action adaptations for various IPs today.
  • However, I believe making anime for these franchises is a better and safer choice.
  • In my opinion, animation is better suited to the over-the-top nature inherent in most games.

Successful gaming IPs often receive film and TV adaptations that don’t always work. The Last of Us and Fallout are both recent exceptions, but for every hit like Fallout, I can think of utter failures like Dwayne Johnson’s Doom and 1993’s Super Mario Bros.

In my opinion, studios should prioritize anime for their adaptations instead. As far as I can tell, this is where the real potential lies.

Why it matters: Anime is massively popular and is watched worldwide. It is also more reliable than your average film based on a gaming franchise.

Cyberpunk Edgerunners
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Is Arguably One of the Best Anime Adaptation of A Video Game

The Strength of Animation

Determining whether animation is a better fit for gaming adaptations doesn’t take long.

Games often feature characters that don’t work in live-action because of their designs, abilities, and personalities. However, you go to the medium of animation, and none of that matters.

Many franchises already rely on CGI cutscenes and even animated specials in certain cases. This makes the transition from a game to an anime much more natural. Imagine how great an adaptation of the Greek God of War would look with Studio Trigger’s slick animation style.

Now consider how awkward it would be to translate that version of Kratos to live-action based on his over-the-top antics. From my perspective, adapting games into live-action presents a similar challenge as translating an anime like One Piece or Dragon Ball into a live-action film, primarily due to the character designs.

Cyberpunk edgerunner is absolutely incredible!
byu/Bakemonomon innetflix

Successful Anime Adaptations

For me, the best anime adaptations of a video game are Steins Gate and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. While the latter doesn’t follow Cyberpunk 2077’s events, it has a strong connection and presents an original narrative.

You might be aware by this point how bad the condition of Cyberpunk 2077 was when it was launched. Even in late 2022, not many were going back to the RPG, but this anime helped revive the IP.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners’ story was well-written, the characters were memorable, and it had enough quality to stand on its own as an extension of the source material. This is how all anime should be treated.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is but one example of how well games work as anime adaptations. Castlevania and Arcane are also fantastic in their own right. I watched the former without much knowledge of this franchise, and I found it hard not to try the games after completing the anime.

Meanwhile, Arcane hardly needs any praise. I may not be Arcane’s biggest fan, but the plot and characters were undeniably top-notch.

Steins Gate
Steins Gate is My Favorite Anime Adaptation of A Video Game

The popular Steins Gate anime is also based on a visual novel of the same name. Most fans of the series may not even be aware that this was the case, but the franchise was already quite popular as a game.

The anime, however, cranked things up a notch and offered an unforgettable experience. This adaptation is so brilliant that it makes me crave more anime based on my favorite IPs.

Another brilliant translation is Pokemon, a franchise that started out a series of games. Today, Pokemon has grown into such a huge anime IP that many fans might not even know that the series started out as a video game from Game Freak.

The-Last-of-Us
The Last of Us Was Incredible, But It Was A Rarity In An Endless Pool of Failures

Live-Action Adaptations Are Hit or Miss

I am not against films and TV shows based on gaming franchises. In fact, I think they are quite enjoyable when done right. I am a huge fan of the recent Fallout TV Show, which was nothing short of brilliant and even encouraged me to revisit Fallout 4, like many others.

However, I still believe that anime adaptations are better. Live-action films and TV shows are much harder to nail and would not work for all the absurd ideas that games often experiment with.

The Last of Us and Fallout worked well because Naughty Dog and Bethesda were constantly involved in these projects. Without their input, these TV shows could have turned out much worse.

Overall, I appreciate the current era of gaming adaptations. Despite my contentions about live-action, recent examples have certainly raised the bar. Besides, plenty of studios are also pursuing anime adaptations.

I look forward to Devil May Cry, Tomb Raider, and all the other exciting adaptations that may come in the near future.

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