You know the age old dilemma gamers fans have when it comes to movies based on their favorite video games? Why can’t film studios make a good movie based on a video game? So long as the director’s name isn’t Uwe Bull who seems to be a sicafant whenever it comes to the source material.
Well, when in doubt turn to TV, or in this case Netflix. With the recent release of Netflix’s series based on the Castlevania series, gamers may finally get the on screen adaptation they’ve been waiting for. Stunning animation that pays strict attention to detail, a tremendous ensemble of voice actors that are tailored to their characters, a studio that doesn’t shy away from depicting gore, and above all, a story that remains true to the source material.
Netflix truly delivers on one of the most beloved and iconic game series of all time. It encapsulates the audience and leaves us wanting more, getting us excited that we bing watch the entire first season in one setting. But there’s the downside…. there’s only four episodes.
Just when you think that you’re going to waste away your entire weekend binge watching a show, it ends after about an hour and a half. That’s not a season, that’s a movie! Why would Netflix only release four episodes for a season? Especially leaving it on a cliffhanger that would have any fanboy squealing like a teenage girl seeing their favorite pop idol in person!
So why did Netflix only keep season one to four episodes, and what does that mean for the future of game adaptations?
The most likely answer to the first question is that Netflix just wanted to test it out and see what the reception would be a Castlevania series before they fully commit to it. After all, animation (or in this case anime) is very expensive and time consuming. If they’re going to invest time and money into a show like Castlevania, they’re going to want to make sure that it’s going to be worth it for them. Not to mention that game to screen adaptations don’t have the best reputation.
Netflix is taking a huge risk here. After all, gamers/fan boys are very protective of their beloved franchises, and don’t hesitate to voice their opinions on something they don’t like. Do I need to bring up the Ghostbusters reboot? Not that fans of the originals weren’t wrong, if anything, that should be an example for studios and directors to respect the source material. It’s also an anime, which also carries a huge stigmatism with it thanks to some more than unpleasant subcultures. And its target audience is adults, another huge obstacle for an anime based on a game series.
But they did it, and Netflix already working on making season two.
So what does this mean for game to film adaptations?
Well, if movies are a no go, that means that studios and producers can turn to Netflix. Where movies have a set time limit for what they can show, Netflix can allow a series to run as long as it needs to. There’s often too much material to flush out in a couple hours. And games aren’t the only mediums facing this dilemma, movies based on books often face the same trials. What to keep and what to cut. Then there’s the fans that’ll get upset because you cut this character out, or you didn’t talk about this part, or they forgot to mention this important item.
What Netflix’s Castlevania proved is that basing a series on a video game can work, and that producers don’t have to be afraid that the risks are greater than the rewards. And fans can finally see adaptions of their games in a way that truly gives them the justice and respect they deserve.