David Hayter isn’t just the English language voice of Metal Gear’s Snake, he also wrote the first X-Men movie. So he probably has a good handle on why it’s so hard to make a good video game movie.
“The history has been less than stellar in the same way that comic book adaptations were less than stellar before we really did X-Men,” says Hayter. He does, however, call Tim Burton’s Batman movies “fine” and Richard Donner’s Superman movies “amazing”. “I think the reason the other comic book movies prior to 2000 were horrible was because the studios didn’t take the storytelling seriously.”
“When we were… adapting X-Men, the first X-Men, [the studio]kept saying, ‘Why is it so serious? Why are these people so serious?’ It’s like, ‘Well… it’s life and death, and the world hates them and [everyone is]trying to kill them, so you’d be serious too. So I think there is a huge element of studio executives seeing the value and the numbers that the video games sell in but [they]don’t really appreciate how elevated that medium has become, and how far beyond studio movies video games have become.”
“If you don’t take the source material seriously, then you’re never going to adapt it well. And you’re certainly never going to adapt it to the standards of video game fans, who are pretty exacting and have come to expect a pretty serious product when they put down their money.”
According to Hayter, it will take a few X-Men or Iron Man quality blockbuster films. “And suddenly you will be getting better quality in terms of the writing and the directors that come on board these things. I just think there’s still a subtle prejudice with them that has to be gotten around.”