The contemporary movie and television worlds are full of adaptations, whether they’re adaptations of novels, comics, video games, or plays. These can vary massively in terms of quality and regarding critical in addition to audience reception. Among the most successful and popular in recent years has been Netflix’s The Witcher.
Adapting The Witcher could have gone quite differently. The world and lore are large and complicated, requiring the showrunners to pay a lot of attention to detail and work hard at worldbuilding. Fans had their own opinions of these characters, leading to a lukewarm reception when Man of Steel’s Henry Cavill was cast as the lead character. However, the show came together quite successfully, with Cavill garnering massive praise and love for his job as Geralt.
Netflix has shown that The Witcher is just one of their most-watched original series. The series was renewed for a second time, which is currently in production after delays due to COVID-19. If the second season does as well as the very first, this may help change the game for adaptations moving ahead, particularly for tv series.
History Of The Witcher
The Witcher began as a series of fantasy novels and stories by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The titular Witcher of the books is Geralt of Rivia, a beast hunter who’s raised to have supernatural skills in order to combat beasts and monsters. release between 1993 and 2013, the books are usually described as being cult classics.
The books were adapted into an action role-playing game, entitled The Witcher, in 2007 by CD Projekt Red. The game, such as the novels, follows beast hunter Geralt and takes place in the same medieval fantasy world. The movie game was extremely powerful and has been followed by The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings in 2011 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in 2015.
Netflix accommodated The Witcher into a TV series that first premiered in 2019. Although inspired by the huge success of the video games, the show is reported to be based on the first couple of books in the sequence. While Andrzej Sapkowski had little to do with the artistic direction of this show, he was happy with the adaptation and with Henry Cavill as Geralt. This isn’t surprising, considering earnings for both his novels and The Witcher video games saw a huge rise after the success of the show.
Together with producing a second season, Netflix is also publishing two spin-offs: the animated movie Nightmare of the Wolf, plus a live-action restricted series The Witcher: Blood Origin.
Popularizing High Fantasy
The Witcher can be described as a”high fantasy” series. It’s set in a fantastical world quite different from the real one, with its own history, rules, magic, and species. This genre has seen mass success in the past with franchises such as Game of Thrones or The Lord of The Rings. Despite this, high fantasy is still frequently looked down upon or considered a”niche” genre. It’s generally expensive to picture and make in high quality, which combined with its perceived market status, means it may be considered a risk to earn and invest in, particularly in television.
Netflix has several successful fantasy series, such as Locke and Key, Fate: The Winx Saga, and Lucifer. But, The Witcher is unquestionably its most successful from the high fantasy sub-genre. Its large popularity proves that high fantasy can attain over a niche audience. If the achievement of The Witcher continues, this could inspire more streaming studios and services to take a hazard on large fantasy or equally pricey genres.
Improving Reputation Of Video Game Adaptations
Whether deserved or not, video game adaptations often have a reputation for being poor, cheesy, or unpopular with fans. A TV adaptation of a video game franchise is especially rare, in spite of the fact that many video games have expansive universes and storylines that may be achieved more justice as a series than just one film. While popular game The Last of Us is obtaining a series adaptation by HBO, this doesn’t have a tendency to be the typical selection for video game adaptations, likely because of their reputation.
Though based on the book series, The Witcher TV show does require some inspiration in your games. The games are more high profile than the book collection, and so the tv show’s brand is much more entwined with the games. Therefore, The Witcher proved a video game adaptation can’t just be successful and popular, but work as a television series and not just as a standalone movie. This could open up the market for more video games to be picked up for television adaptations.
So What Could Be Adapted?
The success of The Witcher opens possibilities for TV series adaptations of video games with complex worlds and multiple storylines; stories that need the length of a television series but also a sizeable budget. In the domain of high fantasy, that the Dragon Age series could work as a television series along the same line as The Witcher, using medieval characters and the world. The entire world and storyline want the time and space to develop and could work better in a tv set than in one film. The Dishonored games, which a Lord of the Rings show writer has previously said she’d really like to accommodate, have a huge world and interesting narrative that could thrive in a TV show format. The Witcher demonstrates that picking up a string like that one could be rewarding.
There are numerous different games that, while not large fantasy, have enormous worlds which take time to research, along with multiple intriguing storylines and characters. Successful games like Ghost of Tsushima, Mass Effect, Fallout, or even Half-Life could detect success as TV shows if picked up by studios or streaming services. Hopefully, the success of The Witcher will inspire others to spend as much time, money, and dedication to creative audio adaptations of beloved video game franchises.