The Last of Us’ last episode was finally broadcast on HBO last week, allowing fans to compare it to other video game adaptations for the first time. Particularly on the fronts of animated programs, the genre has been doing quite well nowadays. Arcane, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, and Castlevania have established themselves on Netflix in a respectable way, and The Last of Us joins The Witcher in obtaining live-action adaptations.
Yet many fans have noted that series like the Pokemon anime between adapting computer game content for decades, so much so that many people don’t even know the size of an adaptation. Movies based on video games have generally performed poorly, but Pokemon has helped give them more prestige. The Sonic movies and this year’s Mario movie, which keeps releasing fresh trailers, were made possible by movies like Detective Pikachu.
Which adaptation of a video game is the best?
The Last of Us, which averages roughly 15 million views per episode and coincidentally has a budget per episode of the same amount, takes the lead in this discussion. With two more seasons in the pipeline, HBO’s investment in this season—more than the first five seasons of Game of Thrones put together—has undoubtedly paid off.
Comparing video game adaptations, however, has certain drawbacks. How can we properly compare them, given the resources they had to work with was so different from The Last of Us’s single episode and smaller productions like Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, which had a smaller budget? The Last of Us also had one of the most straightforward and episodic video game plots to adapt, compared to shows like Arcane and Castlevania, which had much less source material.
Arcane, which won the 2022 Game Award for Best Adaptation and an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Show, was the greatest success story following ten years of League of Legends. As the most-watched Netflix show, it also defeated Squid Game. Like The Last of Us, Arcane benefited from a big budget thanks to Riot Games’ millions of dollars invested in each episode.
On the other hand, Arcane had a lot more work to do on the narrative front and needed several rewrites just to receive approval. Combing through the patchwork of League of Legends lore to create such a well-liked plot was even more challenging than the small adjustments that The Last of Us required.
Arcane won the Game Awards over Cyberpunk: Edgerunners; however, despite this, the game was commended for providing supporters of the series some hope after Cyberpunk 2077’s disappointing reaction. However, it managed all this while spending less money and producing it faster than other shows.
Castlevania was pushing the limits back in 2017, even though the quality of video game adaptations has significantly increased over the past couple of years. Castlevania showed Netflix that investing in animated video game programs was worthwhile after four excellent seasons and positive reviews all around, which may have encouraged them to take on Edgerunners and Arcane a few years later.
Like Arcane, Castlevania focused largely on strong writing and character development in a fresh storyline while having a comparatively limited narrative.
What upcoming television programs and movies are there?
Keep an eye out for upcoming adaptations like Dungeons and Dragons: Honour among Thieves, which we recently reviewed, and the April release of the Mario Bros. Movie. A new Netflix series and movie based on the Gears of War franchise are in development and will be released on Amazon Prime Video.
On a concluding note:
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Also read: Cyberpunk 2077 Release Date, Trailer and Gameplay