While Hollywood has struggled for some time now with making a decent video game adaptation, there is still hope yet for these six potential video game movies.
Hit or miss, there’s no doubt there’s profit to be made in making a silver screen adaptation of a video game. Detective Pikachu showed that the concept still had legs, while Alicia Vikander’s Tomb Raider did a decent job at giving Lara Croft more to do in the recent film reboot.
What makes a video game movie bad? It appears that in an attempt to make a movie have mass appeal, like the Assassin’s Creed adaptation, the film starts to lose the roots of what makes the series so special in the first place.
There are a plethora of popular video game franchises that have yet to see a big screen adaptation. With a resource pool full of many potential hits, Hollywood is always on the brink of bringing in another one of our pixelated pals to mass audiences.
Whether or not there’s enough content to draw inspiration purely from the original source content is up for debate, as the embellishments made in video game movies do tend to deviate a bit too far from the game’s source material.
Perhaps that’s the curse of the video game movie adaptation: the mediums serve two different purposes, and when mixed together, taste like toothpaste and orange juice.
Nonetheless, here are our picks for the next big Hollywood video game movie adaptations, and how they might even turn out to be all right.
‘The Last of Us’
Gritty and emotional, 2013’s The Last of Us hit the video game industry with a fervor not often seen. It was a moving tale that focused on the human emotions of protagonists Ellie and Joel, with human actors performing in motion capture for the game’s film-like cutscenes.
Its translation to the big screen would be the natural next step for The Last of Us. The film would practically be able to borrow every major sequence from the video game, as many of the events in the title played out like big Hollywood action set pieces.
Whether the film splits up the story into smaller chunks, such as basing the film up until the events of Tess’ death, or condenses the entirety of the game into one massive movie, it’s nearly impossible for a The Last of Us film to fail.
The movie would have to be a hard-R, which is a fairly uncommon rating for video game movies. However, Deadpool proved that audiences were willing to tune into darker tales in droves, so The Last of Us should have no problem drawing in ticket sales of comparable value.
The Pac-Man series seems ripe for the picking when it comes to adapting the classic video game series for younger audiences. The nostalgia factor here is also pretty strong, ensuring butts in seats of arcade fanatics of the original 1980 pellet muncher.
There would likely be an Angry Birds approach here, as Pac-Man is a cute protagonist surrounded by grumpy looking secondary characters. Showing different personalities for each of the ghosts would add interest to the film, having the specters act as Snow White‘s Seven Dwarves of sorts.
As Pac-Man has already appeared in 2015’s Pixels, we need to stay away from making him another mindless monster destroying New York simply for the sake of chaos. The two Pac-Man television show adaptations are more of the line of thinking here, but with the film adaptation, let’s think even bigger.
The Pac-Man movie would need to rely on a whimsical story, rather than a heavy action-adventure the likes of which the Dora the Explorer film adaptation is committing to. Think more “let’s find the ultimate super fruit” rather than “let’s take down the overlord Wizard of Oz ghost before he enslaves the entirety of Pacland and dooms us to an eternity of farming pellets for a penance of gold.”
Kingdom Hearts would make for an amazing movie. Unfortunately, the copyright issues to make the movie would be amazingly difficult. However, if all of the different Disney movies and Final Fantasy franchises could be successfully melded into multiple video games, we don’t see why this couldn’t happen again in a movie.
The Final Fantasy series might want to take a break from film adaptations for a bit, seeing as they haven’t had a successful venture in quite some time. Kingdom Hearts is riding high off the success of Kingdom Hearts 3, and the story is primed for a prequel movie adaptation.
Kingdom Hearts would never work as a live-action movie, for if real-life actors were filmed alongside so much CGI, the final product would end up looking a bit silly. Also, the story would be tough, seeing as the travel-to-multiple-worlds plot would feel clunky in a two-hour long format.
The Kingdom Hearts film might focus more on the events of the first Keyblade War. While we did get a taste of what was going on in those times of peril for the Kingdom Hearts cast in the X Back Cover cutscenes, it didn’t quite feel theatrical (or even interesting). Maybe this time, let’s remove the masks from the faces of our protagonists so that we can actually be interested in what they’re doing?
‘The Legend of Zelda’
Nintendo tends to be very stingy with creating movie versions of their main franchises. We can see why, seeing as the live-action interpretation of Super Mario Bros. was more than cringe-worthy.
IGN’s already teased our inner fanboy with their infamous 2008 April Fool’s joke. We have very little we’d change from their presented plot. Keeping it simple, a live-action Zelda would feature a brand new regeneration of Link as he fights the evils of Gannon while trying to protect the magic-wielding Zelda. We get chills already thinking of the potential epic battles.
Whether or not the Legend of Zelda TV show actually happens, we’re still of the opinion that the best way to adopt a live-action Legend of Zelda would be on the silver screen. The epic adventures Link and Zelda embark on simply won’t feel at home on the small screen. It’s a tall ask, but Nintendo very well already be hard at work at giving the Legend of Zelda the live-action interpretation that it deserves.
The original Spyro games, created by Insomniac Games (Ratchet and Clank, Sunset Overdrive) were memorable because of addictive platforming gameplay coupled with a spiky title character (both his personality and his tail).
Year of the Dragon saw a raft of supporting playable characters including Sheila the kangaroo (with an Australian accent, of course) and, our favorite, Sgt. Byrd — a flying penguin with rocket launchers perched on his shoulders.
Again, an animated movie would be the obvious approach here. The Spyro franchise is full of little characters with big personalities, and could make a perfect family film. There’s also a host of villains that could feature in a Spyro film, from Ripto to the Sorceress.
Unfortunately for fans of the purple dragon, plans for an animated Spyro movie were canceled by Activision in 2010.
With the Spyro trilogy bringing the fire-breather back into the limelight, the time to make a Spyro film is now. The Spyro gaming franchise has already passed through several pairs of hands. If the rights find themselves in the best pair of hands, we have no doubt that the world of Spyro could flourish in film.
‘The Elder Scrolls’
Let’s be honest: the main storylines in Elder Scrolls games are hardly what we play them for. We’ve spent over a thousand hours in Morrowind and haven’t actually defeated Dagoth Ur. We just find exploring more interesting.
We think it’s fair to say that making a Skyrim movie as a direct adaptation of the game would never work. Aren’t we all fed up with movies about prophecies, vengeful gods and adventurers rising from obscurity to save the world? An Elder Scrolls movie could easily fall into this trap, unless the filmmakers are willing to abandon the familiar storylines of the game and jump headfirst in the rich world that Bethesda has created.
In a world with around a dozen distinct, intelligent races, along with many varied provinces and deep lore and history, there are so many stories to be told. We’d particularly like to see more exploration of the Morag Tong or the Dark Brotherhood, or even just a different look at the rivalries between the Great Houses of Morrowind.
We’d also like nods to that meme and, obviously, the opening scene must involve a prisoner.
Which video game movie adaptation do you want to see made?
Written by: Anna Roberts and Mitchel Clow