Dead by Daylight is a few years old, but it’s still one of the most popular horror video games. This is likely why it’s now jumping to another major medium, with a movie adaptation by James Wan and Blumhouse just announced. The film is only one of several recent video game adaptations, and these don’t show any signs of stopping.
Video game movies and TV shows were once despised by fans and audiences, but they’ve become increasingly good — and popular. With other cinematic trends possibly on the downturn, now’s the time to see if games can provide a similarly deep well. Here’s a look at why video game adaptations like the upcoming Dead by Daylight are only going to increase.
Once Hated, Video Game Adaptations Are Now Respected
For years, many scoffed at video game adaptations, especially fans of the source material. The projects were usually poorly done, failing to match the games they were based on or even simply be good movies. The lack of budget made some games impossible to even attempt to bring to life, and in the case of others, they didn’t have too much of an ingrained narrative to provide for a great story. As video games have evolved, however, they’ve become more story-based, making the jump from games to movies easier. Hollywood itself has also begun taking these properties more seriously, resulting in some great films.
The pendulum began swinging for video game adaptations with the release of 2019’s Pokémon: Detective Pikachu. This live-action adaptation of the Nintendo video game series was well-received, despite many thinking that a film based on the property would be impossible. There was a similar sentiment felt for Sonic the Hedgehog, especially given how horrible he initially looked when the trailer for his movie was first released. This design was quickly changed, however, with Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 being big-time hits.
2021 also saw Sony’s Uncharted brought to theaters, which reflected how cinematic those games were, to begin with. Now, these adaptations have reached the ultimate peak, with the HBO adaptation of The Last of Us being deemed prestige television. That’s now continuing with Dead by Daylight‘s adaptation, which should be leaps and bounds better than the Resident Evil movies. Such a bevy of these projects signals an interesting trend, one which is right on time to succeed.
Video Game Adaptations Can Replace Superhero Movies
Superhero movies have ruled the theaters for over a decade, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in particular, being a massive hit. Many have wondered when this seeming bubble would burst, even as it continued to show no signs of doing so. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and that may have finally happened for the capes and tights crowd. The MCU is showing signs of box office stagnation and loss, with its recent movie Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania being a huge disappointment both critically and financially. The DC Extended Universe never took off consistently, and it remains to be seen if James Gunn’s reboot of the shared universe will be a success. With surefire hits now potential bombs, there’s a chance for another “genre” to take over.
Video games offer a great source of properties to adapt, be they comedies, science fiction, fantasy or action/adventure. On the other hand, even if superhero movies have these elements as subgenres, they’re still within the superhero mold. This somewhat decreases their potential scope and appeal, with some audiences simply sick of superheroes. Video games have no such blanket weakness, allowing their adaptations to reach all sorts of audiences. Plus, with how cinematic some games have gotten anyway, it should be easier than ever to translate them into good movies. This is something that even comic book superheroes don’t always have, especially if the hero in question is without too many major storylines.
Mario, the granddaddy of video games himself, is about to also get a new movie, one which should erase the stain of his live-action adventure. That film forever tarnished the idea of adapting whimsical video games to film, though that’s no longer the case in Hollywood. With Dead by Daylight joining the plumber, Pikachu and several other characters on the big screen, it’s only a matter of time until games dominate the theaters the same way they have thumbs.