Two Film Writers Discuss the Challenges of Video Game Adaptations

Two film writers, Josh Miller and Pat Casey, discuss the challenges of adapting acclaimed platform video games to the medium of film.

The Effort That Takes Two film writers discuss the difficult part of adapting a beloved video game. Released on most major consoles in March 2021, the two-player game tells the captivating story of Cody and May, a married couple on the verge of divorce who become their handmade dolls after their daughter cries for them. Split-screen co-op multiplayer has no solo option and requires players to learn to cooperate as the main character. It Takes Two was a commercial and critical hit, winning Game of the Year at The Game Awards 2021, with a film and TV adaptation announced in January 2022.

In discussing Violent Night with, It Takes Two writers Josh Miller and Pat Casey reveal the hardest part of adapting a video game to a new medium, describing several of the challenges they faced. Miller's main comments focused on the game's quality and length, noting that "there's just too much good stuff in the game" to adapt, creating a dilemma of which levels to cut or merge. Casey's point of view was more focused on the overall experience of the film, and how they incorporated "special gameplay elements" into it new media. Check out what the writers had to say about the film below: And Arcane, along with many others making their way to the small screen. Television is a popular medium for video game adaptations, since most video game stories take several hours to complete, and multi-hour episodes are more prone to occur. Film adaptations of some video games have disappointed fans in the past, such as the infamous Resident Evil franchise and 1993's Super Mario Bros. However, because the average length of a movie is often many hours shorter than a game adaptation, and the new medium is inherently less immersive, they face a unique set of challenges. Miller and Casey, as the author mentioned above, had to try and cut the 10-15 hours of gameplay down to a maximum of 3 hours while meeting the hopes of It Takes Two fans. In seeking success to try and emulate, The upcoming movie may draw on the work they did on the Sonic the Hedgehog movie.

Casey: That’s the challenge with any sort of action-heavy movie, including It Takes Two and Violent Night, is to think of ways to vary up all the sequences and with It Takes Two, how to incorporate some of those special gameplay elements in a way that feels movie-like instead. Miller: If anything, [video game developer] Hazelight made it hard on us because there’s too much good stuff from the game. So it is kind of like there’s a bit of triage of ‘oh no, well we can’t fit all this in. What’s the best stuff to keep?’ You try to think of if there are ways that you can meld one level with another level so that fans of the game will get it, they’re like, ‘oh, I see, they combined these two things.'

Can It Takes Two Copy Sonic's Success?

Although the original film's first trailer got off to a rough start, kicking off an online campaign to change the look of the Sonic movie, 2020's Sonic the Hedgehog is a video game adaptation that mixes real life with animated combine, and successfully weave decades of gaming stories and lore into one cohesive, funny, and occasionally sweet tale. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 enjoyed cross-demographic appeal and was even more popular, becoming the highest-grossing video game adaptation of all time. Miller and Casey's approach of simplifying certain levels to create the most impactful cinematic experience could lead to similar success for the film, as long as fans of the original game invest in the adaptation.

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