Over recent weeks, HBO's new show The Last of Us has taken the world by storm. With a rising number of viewers every week, The Last of Us shows that video game adaptations can still pack a punch, contrary to popular belief. Here are five other video game franchises that deserve an excellent adaptation. This list does not include games that currently have projects in active development.
Overwatch was developed by Blizzard Entertainment and is a multiplayer first-person shooter released in 2016. The story of Overwatch involves the titular group of heroes from around the world coming back together to save the world after initially disbanding after quelling the Omnic Crisis - a worldwide uprising of sentient robots. The universe of Overwatch is home to an entire world's worth of colorful characters, rival factions, and intriguing locales. Out of all modern gaming franchises, Overwatch debatably has the most potential for a fantastic adaptation.
Because Overwatch's story and characters span the globe, a potential movie or film can choose who they want to focus on. Perhaps we could get a movie about how the Overwatch team stopped the first Omnic Crisis or a television show that follows the black ops team Blackwatch. We could even get a Japan-set film about the ninja Genji and ace archer Hanzo's brotherly rivalry. These projects could lead to an Overwatch team-up film mimicking the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
An Overwatch Cinematic Universe would be excellent and prosper because the Overwatch property has the same strengths as Marvel - an entire world of heroes and stories that they can pull from to differentiate each project from the other.
Sony's electrifying superhero franchise - no, not Spider-Man. Before Spider-Man and Miles Morales were the premier superhero faces of Playstation, gamers on Sony consoles had Cole MacGrath in the Sucker Punch-developed Infamous franchise. First released in 2009 on the PlayStation 3, Infamous follows Cole MacGrath as he attempts to uncover the truth of the events that led him to gain the ability to control electricity. Other games in the series feature Delsin Rowe, who has the power to absorb the forces of others and Abigail Walker, who can control neon light. A unique feature of the Infamous games is that players can choose what path the story will take and decide if they want the protagonists to become heroes or villains.
The first Infamous game came out one year after the first Iron Man film kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe and started the superhero frenzy that has gripped the world today. Infamous was ahead of its time, portraying a darker and more realistic depiction of superheroism while maintaining its fantastical leanings.
An Infamous adaptation would be right at home with Marvel, DC, and other superhero projects such as Invincible. Releasing it in this day and age could make the property even more popular, as many more people have their eyes on superhero content than before. An adaptation could go above and beyond by including branching paths like in the games, through interactivity like in Black Mirror's Bandersnatch choose-your-own-adventure episode.
Super Smash Bros.
The ultimate gamer fantasy deserves to come to life in an epic crossover film! Super Smash Bros, Nintendo's premier crossover fighting game, has delighted gamers since 1999 with its fast-paced and beginner-friendly fighting mechanics. Nintendo has managed to cross over franchises like Castlevania, Kingdom Hearts, and Metal Gear Solid alongside Nintendo franchise's mainstays, all so gamers can pit their favorite gaming legends against each other to see who'd come out on top. It's essentially the video game equivalent of when you were five, and you'd smash your favorite action figures together.
It's easy to see how this can translate into an epic action-packed film starring Nintendo's beloved characters. The Sonic the Hedgehog film franchise has received commercial and critical acclaim, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie coming in April is also set to make a splash at the box office. Hence, audiences are undoubtedly keen on seeing these gaming legends on-screen. What better way to use the audience's newfound love of these characters than pitting them against each other in an epic action film?
A Super Smash Bros. film doesn't need to reinvent the wheel regarding its plot. The film can initially have characters like Mario, Link, and Sonic fight each other, but then eventually, they would all team up to fight classic Smash Bros. villains like Master Hand or Tabuu.
Hot off the release of the first game's remake, a film or television adaptation of the horror sci-fi classic Dead Space would terrify audiences everywhere. Released in 2008, Dead Space tells the story of Isaac Clarke as he navigates the USG Ishimura, a spaceship infested with monsters called Necromorphs. Along the way, Clarke dons the futuristic RIG armor and the iconic plasma cutter weapon to hold his own against these hellish monsters.
A live-action Dead Space horror film would be excellent with the correct script, director, and tone. The derelict Ishimura is a creepy backdrop for a movie, and the Necromorph monsters would be a unique standout compared to other sci-fi horror films. Necromorphs are not aliens like Xenomorphs or Predators but are corpses mutated by an alien virus. This distinction uniquely separates Dead Space from other "stuck on a spaceship with an alien" films like the Alien franchise.
Horror legend John Carpenter, director of The Thing and Halloween, expressed interest in directing a Dead Space film back in 2013. EA, the publisher of the Dead Space games, also acknowledged interest in adapting the franchise. As of 2023, plans have yet to be formally announced to turn Dead Space into a film. There have been two animated films, 2008's Dead Space: Downfall and 2011's Dead Space: Aftermath, but neither are adaptations of the games and instead serve as prequels to the first and second Dead Space games, respectively.
Another sci-fi classic from the seventh generation of consoles, the Mass Effect series is another property ripe for adaptation. Mass Effect revolves around a future where humans and aliens have colonized various worlds across the cosmos using advanced technology from past civilizations. The player takes control of Commander Shepard, a highly decorated human soldier and features interactivity in the form of choices presented to the player that affects the game's story.
The world of Mass Effect, taking place in 2183, provides a wealth of potential story ideas and characters to be used in a possible film or television show. An adaptation can draw on the many alien species seen in the games, such as the blue-skinned Asari and the reptilian Krogans, to create a universe that feels like a natural and lived-in future locale. The sentient starships known as the Reapers would look breathtaking if fully realized in live-action. A Mass Effect adaptation could take cues from Star Wars or Star Trek because they are examples of how to create a believable and imaginative sci-fi world without alienating audiences.
The games, considered to have some of the best stories in gaming, of course, will serve as a blueprint for an adaptation. To give respect to the source material, a television show would be preferred over a film as a show would give the story more time to breathe and flesh out the world of the game.
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