We all know that video games have come along in leaps and bounds in the past 20 years. What were once cartridged, single save, video games on the Sega Megadrive are now downloadable content with seemingly limitless possibilities. This has brought about an incredibly fast paced expanse in the graphic quality and need for storytelling within all video games across all platforms and has raised the question: Why aren’t these huge movie releases yet? Now, don’t worry, I’m not going to get into a debate about the quality of storytelling and how it differs from console to film; I am instead going to compile a list of 10 video games that have the basis for an extraordinarily successful life as a film franchise. Hold on to your hats, I foresee controversy in the paragraphs ahead!
A Disclaimer: All video game franchises linked to already existing Hollywood film franchises will NOT be included in this list. Sorry Arkham fans!
10. Far Cry (2004-)
Far Cry is a multi-time BAFTA winning video game for more reason than one. But, perhaps most interestingly to any film executive out there looking to make a quick buck, it’s how the villains are written that truly defines the series as a stand-out player in ‘video game land’. Vaas, for example, was such a great bad guy in Far Cry 3that his character became the inspiration for countless independent short films, as well as a whole host of fan fiction. He was psychotic and probably a sociopath, but the strength of his beliefs made the gamer question their own while playing opposite him. Voiced by Michael Mando, Vaas Montenegro inspired imagination and would be a character that many video game fans would love to see further examined on the big screen. With some stunning location shots, an age rating of at least a 15, and some good location scouts, a Far Cry movie franchise could be a huge player in the contemporary cinema-going market, making it number 10 in this list. .
9. Assassin’s Creed (2007-)
There’s no doubt that time travel, time morphing, and cool hooded attires are all fashionable within the movie industry as of late, and Assassin’s Creed could certainly take advantage of that. With its roots set in the future, the sci-fi audiences could be brought in to what would likely be a robust historical epic spy movie complete with awesome kills, and a dive from a large building every now and then. With multiple eras of civilization already explored, and infinitely more to visit, the producers of a potential Assassin’s Creed movie franchise would have a lot of scope for creativity and a whole bunch of epic ideas to take from the already existing product. As long as they cast well – may I suggest Oscar Isaac? – They’d be in with a fighting chance to land one of the more potentially artistic and politically charged blockbusters of any given Summer.
Spoiler Alert: Michael Fassbender has been announced to be leading an official Assassin’s Creed movie due for 2016. BE HYPED!
8. Grand Theft Auto (1997-)
Grand Theft Auto is a long lasting and incredibly well established video game with intense and dark stories. It is, however, the series’ use of the anti-hero as their main protagonist that could have a Grand Theft Auto movie franchise hitting on all cylinders with contemporary movie audiences. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 17 years, GTA has been one of the most controversial video games ever. Whether it be the language, or some of the tasks you can control your character in doing, Grand Theft Auto has pissed a lot of people off. For this reason it might never become a movie franchise, but it’s for this reason that it should! One of the greatest aspects of any GTA game is its incredibly clever satire on contemporary USA. With a huge movement of young people becoming more and more socially conscious, a GTA game could be the tool needed to tap into the anti-America attitude that has become popular as of late. After all, we could all do with more heroes like CJ from San Andreas, am I right?
7. Red Dead (2004-)
Developed by the same guys as GTA, the Red Dead franchise got a new life in 2010 with the release of Red Dead Redemption for the 3rd generation consoles. Its already hugely cinematic look and inticrate storytelling make the games (especially Redemption forwards) must-have additions to cinema screens in the near future. It has all of the elements of a well made Western and, when considering how well Django Unchained did at the box office, this could be a huge “in” for this franchise should someone wish to purchase the rights.
6. Fallout (1997-)
Nuclear war and post apocalyptic worlds are just two of the huge themes that film makers could tap in to if they were to buy the rights to make feature length film versions of the Fallout franchise. With tensions rising in Eastern Europe and the West becoming ever more conscious of our carbon footprint, Fallout could be a huge Summer blockbuster with a lot of spice.
5. Kingdom Hearts (2002-)
Kingdom Hearts is essentially a masterpiece of cross promotion. Incorporating the Disney universe with the Final Fantasy universe,Kingdom Hearts won the hearts of hardcore gamers and children alike, courtesy of the wonderful work of its producers Square Enix. Given the opportunity to truly explore the Enix characters on a big screen adaptation from Disney, a movie franchise from the giants of the silver screen could be a hit in much the same way the original video game was; satisfying hardcore gamers and casual fans alike.
4. Bioshock (2007-)
If ever there was a video game franchise that consistently freaked us out, it was Bioshock. With heart and sentimentality overarching a horrifying and somewhat shocking distopia, a well put together art team would have a field day on the set of a film version of this franchise. Just imagine the visuals! What would be vital here would be the choice of director as building suspense in a way that lives up to the video games would be vital in the success of this franchise. With enough will power, this could be a classic of cinema, not just a big money hit.
3. Metroid (1986-)
In at number three is perhaps the most underrated series on this list and is almost certifiably a movie goldmine waiting to happen…Metroid. Imagine it; a female lead sci-fi spectacular! It would be huge box office in an era that seems to ignore the female audience as much, if not more, than ever before. Invest correctly, cast correctly, and avoid the Twilight-shiny visuals and this would be a surefire success; especially if they had Samus kicking ass for 10 minutes before “revealing” she’s a girl. Come on, I can’t be the only one excited about the potential of this?! There’s much more to Metroid than that (as if we needed more), as this game franchise has been running for so long that the film-makers may have as much content to take from as they would with the game at number two…
2. The Legend of Zelda (1986-)
Nintendo’s Zelda games have long held such a respect amongst gaming enthusiasts that this particular title has been able to transcend time, so why not entertainment? In my opinion, if you’re looking for a contemporary fantasy product with an already strong fanbase to exploit in much the same way as Lord of the Rings did between 2001 and 2003, then The Legend of Zelda game franchise is probably the best option. With such a huge emphasis on the spirit of man within the realm of mythology and fanastical magicry, a Zelda movie would be able to offer a once in a lifetime event to film goers of all ages if done correctly, something that would have most gamers salivating over.
1. Halo (2001-)
You talk about the next Star Wars sitting at your finger tips! This is the architypal “video game to film” video game, if ever there was one. Halo, in video game terms, is the Star Wars of that industry. It is huge in terms of its “box office” (games sales), it has a massive array of supportive content like comic books and cartoons; it even has its own incredibly successful selection of official merchandise. These all work together to underpin the fact that a very loyal fanbase is chomping at the bit for their feature length Halo fix. Despite that, the megaminds of Stephen Spielberg and Peter Jackson haven’t been able to get any potential project off the ground. I, personally, see no reason as to why! Halo is hugely expansive in terms of its narrative and it offers such unique characters, character traits, story, settings, etc. that it’s a goldmine for anyone willing to invest a couple of hundred million in acquiring the silver-screen rights to the Microsoft owned, Bungie created, franchise. With Masterchief being as iconic as he is, it’d be tough to cast, but there’s absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t try! This is Halo, after all; the ultimate sci-fi epic of the hardcore and casual gamer. Dollar bill signs should be spinning in the eyes of the film industry. For me, it’s just a matter of time before it happens.
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