Video games have become a more popular medium in recent years and as a result, there’s been more content based on video games coming into the world. Obviously, this content is a massive boost for the gaming industry. But more than that, it brings the rich lore video games hold to a wider audience.
Most recently, HBO adapted the acclaimed Sony game The Last of Us into a TV show. The story centers around two main characters, Joel and Ellie, trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. It’s a beautiful game, with amazing graphics, movement and story. But the problem with video games is how expensive they can get.
While The Last of Us is coming to Steam, a platform that mainly supports computer play, the game is currently only available on PlayStation consoles. So if a person wanted to play the game right now, it would cost about $300 for a PlayStation 4 console and $20 for the game. For the most recent PlayStation 5 remake, the game is $70, and a new PlayStation 5 console is between $400 and $500. HBO Max costs just $10 a month.
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While they can’t play the game, viewers are able to appreciate the art that goes into the show, and they don’t have to sit through roughly seven to eight hours of a video game playthrough for it. TV shows and movies bring these games to life in a new way and for a wider audience.
But these shows and movies aren’t just for a new audience. They’re also for the people who have already fallen in love with the game. There are easter eggs game-lovers can find in the show.
In 2021, Netflix released the TV show Arcane, based on the story of two characters from League of Legends. Unlike The Last of Us, Netflix’s series goes beyond the world of the game, as League isn’t a story-based game.
But, each of the characters in it has a story. Arcane takes two of these stories and builds a cinematic world around them, showcasing the champions and how they developed into playable characters in the game. League players — who are notably one of the more toxic gaming communities — praised the show, with one Reddit user calling it “surprising and interesting to even lore geeks.” The series even went on to win multiple Emmy and Annie awards.
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Having the base lore to build on allowed Netflix to create a compelling world with a built-in fanbase. This gamer base is part of why so many recent video game adaptations have been popular and well-made.
Creators know gamers are passionate about their games, and they know the lore and world that surrounds them.
Some games, such as the Overwatch franchise, have gone so far as to create their own “cinematics,” adding a richer story to their games. The story and characters keep gamers and viewers invested.
Adapting well-known stories that have already been popularized in one culture gives new content validity. Plus, the content comes with a pre-tested audience that has already helped develop the stories of the game. The Last of Us and Arcane haven’t disappointed. Hopefully, the trend continues with The Super Mario Bros. Movie and whatever comes next.