How games conquered the movies

For those who keep staring at the film listings for their local theaters and wondering, “Why?” TechCrunch has the scoop:

Keanu Reeves stars as ‘John Wick’ in JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM.

by Jon Evans

We used to think that as video games matured, as a medium, they would become more like Hollywood, becoming more focused on character development, plot reversals, and tight, suspense-driven narratives, rather than action set pieces alternating with cinematic cut scenes. Hoo boy, were we wrong. Instead the exact inverse has happened. Action movies have become more like video games. And you know what, this is no bad thing.

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I thought of this while watching John Wick 3 last night. (Which I loved, as I did 1 and 2.) It’s not just that its ballet of bullets — especially the one with the dogs — are so like video games, in both structure and form, that they seem to have been practically been torn from a controller; you can practically see health bars and Stun markets hovering over the heads of the characters.

It’s also that the series’s primary costars, after Keanu — with apologies to Halle Berry and Ian McShane — is not any other individual character, but the world of John Wick, the Continental, and the High Table. Worldbuilding has long been a first-class citizen in video and tabletop role-playing games; now it has graduated to movies as well.

Speaking of role-playing games, ensemble-cast movies are more and more like them as well. Consider the Fast and Furious movies, or Game of Thrones. Each has a core group who are clearly the “player characters,” as well as disposable villains and extras who are “NPCs.” Each starts with the characters at a relatively low level of skill/power, and over the course of the series grow to worldshaking might….

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