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  • Xavier Cullen

The art of games: How video game adaptations are taking over the TV and film industry

"Arcane" was the number one Netflix show in over 30 countries just three days after it released. (Image provided by Riot Games)

It was only a few months ago that the Netflix original show “Arcane” took the world by storm. Based on the League of Legends universe, “Arcane” became not only one of the most popular video game adaptations of all time, but also one of the most-watched shows on Netflix at the time.

Not only is it Netflix's highest-rated original show with a rating of 9.3 out of 10 on IMDb, but it also debuted as the streaming service’s number one most-watched show in 37 countries. To say Arcane was popular is an understatement. Dethroning Squid Game’s two-month dominance on Netflix is no easy task, and Riot’s new show did it almost immediately.

But the success of “Arcane” means so much more than the numbers say. The show marked yet another example of a video game turning to the big screen in spectacular fashion.

Movies such as “Sonic the Hedgehog,” “Pokémon Detective Pikachu,” and “Warcraft” were all major commercial successes when they hit theatres, and TV shows such as “The Witcher” have gained a lot of popularity with their star-studded casts and high production value.

Whilst some vary in critic ratings and box office profits, they all further the idea that video games are an art form. Fantastic stories, beautiful animation, and heart-pounding action can make for a great game, and all of these features can be found in movies and shows as well.

Fans of these games love to see their favourite franchises brought to life by incredible animation and actors, and the adaptations succeed by staying faithful to the original material. These movies and TV shows retain the fans of the games while also bringing in a new audience of people who aren’t gamers.

Coming later this year, video game fans can expect some big-name video games to be adapted. Netflix is set to release “The Cuphead Show” on February 18th, and director Ruben Fleischer’s “Uncharted” movie will come to theatres in the United Kingdom on February 11th 2022, and in the US the next week. On April 8, 2022, the sequel to the 2020 “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie is also set to release.

Whilst “Arcane” most certainly didn’t start this trend of video game adaptations, it has proven beyond any doubt that these projects are possible.

As time moves on, the old stigma against video game movies and shows might wear off. When more and more commercial and critical hits keep piling on, it’s only a matter of time before the video game industry as a whole is treated as an equal part of the entertainment industry.

GosuRabbit is a marketing agency that specialises in providing entertainment, esports and gaming marketing services for brands, businesses and agencies across the globe.

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