It has been a long time since we heard any news about the proposed Shadow of the Colossus film adaptation, and many people presumed it to be trapped in the production hell that precedes cancellation.
Shadow of the Colossus film was announced way back in 2009, and the last piece of substantial news we heard about it was a change of director back in 2012. Past that, there was no real news on the film.
It turns out that the project is still being worked on, according to Justin Marks, the director of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li. The acclaimed director explained during a panel on video game film adaptations that the 16 Colossi of the game were being cut down significantly, to three or maybe even just one.
This is one of those unfortunate things about film adaptations of video games. The eponymous Colossi might not be too great in number, but animating them is a serious effort.
When you have a lower resolution model to work with, and a dedicated game engine, there’s a lot more you can do. But in the world of film, there are strict time limits, and the audience expects everything to be of the highest possible quality.
The in-game representations have a limited number of attacks and animations that are strung together to create an epic battle for the player.
In film, repeating the same actions over and over again would bore the audience, so the battle has to be one, long, unique fighting sequence; and that has to be done for each individual Colossi.
Doing that 16 times over would have been exhausting for the crew working on the film, and would probably bore the audience anyway.
The magic of Shadow of the Colossus was in exploring the many secrets of the world and experiencing the story in a first-hand manner. Storytelling in film is a totally different thing, and the studio have to keep the audience in mind at all times.
All in all, it’s a shame that we won’t see an epic saga detailing the fall of each of the Colossi, but it’s no surprise that the film is being pared down to make room for more drama and better action sequences.