Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is a poor film, but so were the preceding films in the genre. In reality, most video-game movies are terrible. The phrase “a video-game movie” has evolved to mean a low-quality film.
The cause is almost never a shortage of funds, as studios typically invest millions of dollars on a project and rarely make a profit. Welcome to Raccoon City was developed for $25 million, which is not a large sum for a well-known intellectual property. Sony was openly sceptical about the project’s success, yet it was allowed to go as an experiment.
When video games are used as the raw material, even good attempts like Tomb Raiders or Assassins Creed are at best sub-par. The most current Tomb Raider (2018) relaunched the previous Angelina Jolie-starrer series and was based on an action-adventure game franchise. It starred Oscar winner Alicia Vikander and was directed by Roar Uthaug, a Norwegian filmmaker who is known for films like The Wave, a 2015 disaster picture. Warner Bros., one of the world’s largest film studios, was behind the project. Regardless, the picture received a mixed response from critics and did not perform well at the box office.
Johannes Roberts did a poor job fleshing out the characters in Welcome to Raccoon City, making them feel like real individuals, especially for those unfamiliar with the games.
Another factor could be that movies lack the interactive element that distinguishes games from other forms of media. Many scenes or story/character beats that worked because the gamer thought he or she was in the situation (vicariously) may no longer work if the interactive element is removed, as immersion is lost. It’s fine if a character or motivation in a game doesn’t make sense, as long as it serves the gameplay.