Video games are great at lots of things: immersion, delight, even storytelling every now and again. But when it comes to turning those successes into film or television adaptations, something goes terribly wrong.
The most recent example came in late December 2016, with Michael Fassbender starring in a movie adaptation of the “Assassin’s Creed” franchise. Critics ravaged the film. “I suppose you could say the film made me slightly more likely to play one of the games, but only because I’d do just about anything before I saw this movie again,” wrote Slate senior editor Jonathan L. Fischer.
It has an 18% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Netflix is promising something different with a just-announced animated series based on the classic game series “Castlevania.” Here’s how Netflix describes the show:
“Inspired by the classic video game series, ‘Castlevania’ is a dark medieval fantasy following the last surviving member of the disgraced Belmont clan, trying to save Eastern Europe from extinction at the hand of Vlad Dracula Tepe himself. The animated series is from Frederator Studios, a Wow! Unlimited Media company, written by best-selling author and comic book icon Warren Ellis and executive produced by Warren Ellis, Kevin Kolde, Fred Seibert and Adi Shankar.”
The show’s producer, Adi Shankar, says it’s based on the third game in the series, “Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse.” Here’s what that game looks like, for reference:
He also has a message for the folks who think this show is destined to be another bad video game adaptation: “I’m personally guaranteeing that this is going to be the best f—–g video game adaptation ever made to date,” he told Collider. “I’ve seen it, and it’s f—–g amazing.”
Shankar got more specific in a post on Facebook:
Here’s hoping he’s right!
To Shankar’s credit, his past work includes the excellent “Dredd” film, and the show’s writer is acclaimed graphic novel author Warren Ellis. Additionally, the production company is Frederator Studios — better known as “the folks behind ‘Adventure Time,'” among other things. But it’s a bold claim to make regardless given past precedent.
From the sound of things, we’ll find out for ourselves sooner than later; season one is scheduled to arrive sometime this year, on Netflix of course.