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How flimsy games characters lead to bad movies

David S Goyer, writer of the recent Batman movies, believes video games can become the basis of great movies, once they begin producing more compelling characters.

Speaking at the BATFA and BFI Screenwriters' Lecture series, he said that the best video game movies were based on strong characters like Lara Croft, adding that an Assassin's Creed film might also do well.

Goyer, whose credits as a writer include Man of Steel, Blade and Godzilla has also had a hand in scripting Call of Duty: Black Ops.

"Most good video games are about immersive environments," he said. "If it's a first-person shooter you are the character. Most games, and this is changing, tend not to have strong characters. If you think about video games you think about how cool that level was, I did this or I did that.

"You realize that if you're adapting an environment or a milieu for film, a video game actually does a better job of it. A film will never do as good a job or immersive a job as the video game."

At Comic-Con in San Diego earlier this year, a panel including various writers and directors debated why video game-based movies are so often poorly received. Speakers agreed that games tend to create shell protagonists which the player then inhabits. Movie lead characters serve a different function, and are more fully inhabited by their own personality.

A list of recent movies based on games shows how, despite often performing well commercially, they generally merit derision among critics.

"Once we start seeing video games that have memorable characters then I think we'll start seeing more successful video game adaptations," said Goyer. "We'll see if Assassin's Creed works, that seems the best candidate right now."

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