There has never been a great video game movie and that is a damn shame. Sure, there has been a few fun movies over the years. The original Mortal Kombat from 1995 is a cheesy classic. Detective Pikachu and Tomb Raider (2018) were good movies but had flaws. What is the problem?
The comic book genre has got the movies locked down. Well, Marvel does at least. Why do most comic book movies work but video game movies fail? It’s not the director because competent directors have directed them. Actors aren’t the problem. Studios have given the movies large budgets, so money is not a problem.
I think the answer is two things. The first problem is most of the screenplays have been lackluster and not fully thought out. The second and biggest problem is Hollywood trying to adapt a 20 to 60 hour video game into a two hour movie. It is impossible to incorporate that much story into a movie. I think the only way video game franchises can be adapted is television. Imagine if Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or HBO did a 12-part miniseries of Halo or Mortal Kombat.
Here are some video game franchises that are prime to be adapted into a television series. I do have a caveat though, I have never owned an XBOX or Nintendo. So, games like Halo or Zelda will not be on this list because I have never played them unfortunately.
- Metal Gear Solid– This game is one of the best franchises ever made. Hideo Kojima created a world full of pure chaos and a killer story. The characters are memorable and need to be brought to life. Solid Snake and Big Boss are some of the most developed main characters ever created. Psycho Mantis and Sniper Wolf are some of the best villains ever created. Director Jordan Charles Vogt-Roberts is bringing Metal Gear Solid to the big screen at some point. I really hope he decides to adapt it for television. The big positive is that Vogt-Roberts is a huge fan of the game, so I am hopeful.
- Mortal Kombat – There has many attempts to bring this game to life. The movies in the 90s were fun but cheesy. Machinima did a fantastic job creating Mortal Kombat: Legacy which was a YouTube series. This is the closest that anyone has got to perfecting the live-action aspect. The story has always been simple with a fighting tournament as the main plot. Over the years the story has grown and is more than just a tournament. The characters are memorable. Sub-Zero and Scorpion are known by millions of people and need to be done right. The characters in the franchise really make this shine. There are great villains, great super heroes, and great middle men. James Wan is producing a movie that is due out in 2021 and again I am hopeful.
- The Last of Us – This is one of the best video games ever created. The Last of Us is one of the most awarded games of all time, winning over 240 Game of the Year awards. The characters of Joel and Ellie are tremendous and are very developed. The relationship between the two is the crutch of the story. The story when it came out was so refreshing and very very well written. The game oozes with style and it must be made into a television series. The survival horror aspect of the game is what will really make this pop on screen.
- Red Dead Redemption – The newest installment of this franchise came out last year and was brilliant. The story is great, and the main character John Marston is fantastic. This television series can start out with the prequel Red Dead Redemption 2 or just start from the first game. When western series are great, they are GREAT. I feel like Red Dead Redemption can live on HBO because they know how to make western entertainment. The games feel so cinematic, I couldn’t imagine what a series would look like.
- God of War – This franchise is pure madness with violence on top of violence. I don’t play God of War for the story I play it for the action, although the story is really good. Kratos is a fantastic main character and is in my top 5 top characters of all time. This could easily be like the movie 300 with stylish filmmaking. The newest entry into the franchise came out last year and won game of the year. The story in that game was incredible and again is prefect for television.
- The Wolf Among Us – The Wolf Among Us was a pleasant surprise when I played this game. The story is a whodunit and is very immersive. The characters are from the fables which makes it very interesting. Some of the character are the Big Bad Wolf, Ichabod Crane, Snow White, The Beast, Three Little Pigs, among many more. Out of all the games mentioned this probably could be a movie but also could be a five-part mini-series.
- Mafia II or III – Everyone loves a good gangster movie or series. The Mafia franchise have some of the best gangster games ever created. Vito Scaletta or Lincoln Clay can make a fantastic main character for a television show. The Mafia games have some of the strongest characters ever created in my opinion. The storytelling is great, and it has it all with family, friendship, loyalty, and betrayal.
- Uncharted – The Uncharted series is again one of the best game franchises ever made. The main character Nathan Drake is one the best characters ever made, and the stories are some of the most creative and immersive ever made. There was a 15-minute fan film made in 2018 that was great. If you haven’t seen it, please watch it. There is a movie being made with Tom Holland staring as a young Nathan Drake. I do think it work better as a television show, with love and care I do think a movie can be successful. If Indiana Jones worked then Uncharted will work.
A few other games that would make awesome shows are Grand Theft Auto, Detroit: Become Human, BioShock, Fallout III, Infamous, Assassin’s Creed, Batman: Arkham Asylum, L.A. Noire, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and Far Cry III.
The stories that video games tell are some of the best story telling ever. The characters of the games stay with the players forever. If comic book superheroes can work, surely video game heroes can work too. With the right person who loves the property enough, that will be the day a video game series or even a movie will succeed.
I would love to hear for you what video game franchises deserve to be made into television series or movies.