Video game adaptations have been prime commodities for Hollywood for the better part of the last couple decades. Although they haven’t received the best reception from viewers, it hasn’t stopped studios from developing the material. Over the years we’ve seen Hollywood introduce us to iterations of our favorite games in films like: Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia, Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Tron, Need for Speed, Hitman and most recently The Angry Birds Movie.
Now, some of these films fared well in theaters, but were panned by critics and fans alike and others carried a mix bag of comments. Yet, nothing has stopped Hollywood from their pursuit of adapting video games considering that we’re set to see Assassin’s Creed, Warcraft and Uncharted in the next two years.
That’s all well and good for major films, but when it comes to television adaptations; we’re sorely limited. Not including web-series we’ve only really ever seen animated cartoons like: Sonic the Hedgehog, Monster Rancher, Pokemon, Mega Man and Kirby to name a few, and only a couple live-action ventures by Hollywood to adapt video games to television (Defiance, Where in the World/Time is Carmen Sandiego, Mortal Kombat: Legacy and Maniac Mansion). That’s pretty slim pickings, but it seems as though Hollywood is expanding to Netflix and a Mirror’s Edge adaptation is on the way.
The Netflix series will bring the story of Faith (above) as she works with a network of “runners” who act as couriers of illegal messages while avoiding government surveillance in the futuristic dystopian society. The game carries an elegant visual style, and is prime material for a series on Netflix. With the market prime for similar material thanks to the appeal of A-list talent to join shows on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon it makes perfect sense to have more game adaptations hit the small screen. Here are 5 games that should be next up for streaming adaptations:
Now before you scoff at the idea, hear me out. It’s easy to see Borderlands being a cartoon action comedy, because ultimately that’s part of why we love the games. But imagine this if you will: A satirical dark comedy that is full of snark and wit; possibly a cross between House of Lies and Firefly. I think that combining the sci-fi western feel of a group of unlikely heroes (Firefly) with the 4th wall breaking narrative satire (House of Lies) would be an incredible fit for a Borderlands adaptation.
There hasn’t been a solid space opera on screen since Star Trek and Stargate went off the air. Sure there was Battlestar Galactica, but even that was entirely too short-lived. A premium streaming service like Amazon or Netflix should be prime stomping ground for a Mass Effect series based on the original trilogy of games. A premium series that follows Commander Shephard through their quest to save the galaxy from the Reapers would be easy to transition the story to a series based galaxy-wide tale of sci-fi goodness.
Legend of Zelda
I know that this has been a rumor going back over a year now, but I stand firm to my belief that Zelda should have a live action show based on it. The universe that Zelda encompasses is so vast and there are an incredible amount of grandiose stories that could be crafted out of the fantasy universe. Weaving together the tale of Link and Zelda would bring fans out of the woodwork to watch the series, especially if it combined elements from two phenomenal shows: Game of Thrones and Vikings. I think taking the adult tone of Game of Thrones would be huge considering that a large portion of the fan-base would be adults who grew up playing Zelda, but then by mixing in Vikings you’d get some nuances that GoT doesn’t have.
Who doesn’t love a good espionage thriller? To an extent that’s how I imagine Watch_Dogs would play out on a streaming service. In the game you lead Aiden Pearce, a grey hat hacker, through Chicago in order to avenge the death of his family. A Watch_Dogs series would follow a similar pattern to Person of Interest in terms of some of the side missions that Aiden would take to become the vigilante antihero of Chicago. Watch_Dogs would focus on the dangers of technology and combine aspects of Person of Interest with the humor and wit of Burn Notice. I think the narration that we have in Burn Notice would go over well in a Watch_Dogs series.
As much as I loved the first two iterations of Bioshock, I think the third game in the series has the most potential for becoming a major television/streaming show. Bioshock: Infinite follow the main character, Booker Dewitt, as he is sent to find a young woman named Elizabeth. A episodic series following Booker could take leadings from Lost and Under The Dome. I think that combining the supernatural and mystery from both of these shows would fit perfectly with the adventure Booker faces while exploring Columbia to find Elizabeth and eventually escape with her.
Ultimately, there are so many games out there that could be turned into Netflix series, I’ve even written about a few before (read here) but what do you think? What games would you want to see developed by Netflix?