These Games Need Movie Adaptations!
Yes, I know. Movie adaptations of games tend to suck. Wait, they almost always suck, often in legendary ways! (Think House of the Dead, Street Fighter) But done decently, don’t they thrill? Don’t they gratify? Wouldn’t you also agree such adaptations are capable of introducing new audiences to the adapted titles, therefore ensuring longevity for these games?
Here are 7 game franchises I think would do well with movie adaptations. These titles long possessed the qualities for cinematic presentation, and in the hands of directors who understand what they are about, I’m confident their big screen versions would fulfill gamers’ expectations. As mentioned above, such movies would also bring in new audiences. The creativity behind them, the skill with which their stories were written, it’s really such a waste if these masterpieces are forever restricted to the gaming world. Their tales truly deserve to be enjoyed by more.
1. The Legend of Zelda
There are tons of fan-made movies and trailers for Nintendo’s best-selling RPG franchise. Ever so often, there are also rumours about a movie adaptation in the works. Curiously, after thirty years, no such movie came to fruition. This is baffling, given The Legend of Zelda is arguably one of the easiest games to adapt for the big screen.
Don’t you agree? “Zelda” not only has the perfect medieval setting, the stories also always involve the same characters, thus making it convenient for movie adaptation. And then there’s the soundtrack, already standard repertoire in game music concerts worldwide. In my opinion, what’s missing is the right person to assemble these ingredients into a splendid movie. This needs to be someone who appreciates the delicate balance of adventure, love, and faith behind Link’s many adventures. The absence of candidates is likely what’s keeping Zelda from hitting the cinemas.
Here’s the other Nintendo title that baffles me. Metroid is a no-brainer to adapt into a movie, simply because there are so many movies available as reference. An intrepid female space hunter up against deadly aliens? Sounds 70s, sounds Alien/Aliens to you? Perhaps what’s holding back Nintendo is the fear that the genre is already overdone. That, and recent storytelling trends of co-existence with aliens, rather than gunning them down.
Genre saturation considered, I think Metroid could still be made into a thrilling movie. Samus doesn’t necessarily have to be gunning down aliens all the time. Didn’t she once rear a Metroid? At the same time, who to play Samus would surely generate great excitement among gamers. I myself have several names in mind. I’m sure fans of the series would each also have entire lists in their heads.
Talk about a Metroid movie began all the way back in 2003, with John Woo acquiring the rights a few years later. Development froze in 2007 after various creative licensing issues.
This is the franchise I pinning most hope on for movie adaptation. With what Blizzard is already doing with Warcraft, I suspect something might already be in the pipeline.
Arguably, Starcraft would make for a better movie than Warcraft (2016) too. Mainly because Starcraft has lesser games and thus has a far simpler story. Audiences wouldn’t be bewildered by numerous backstories and characters, it would be a straightforward, Star Trek like tale of animosity between three leading factions of the galaxy. In fact, the very first campaign of the original game, which detailed the rise of Terran Emperor Arcturus Mengsk, would easily suffice for a great movie. This could be followed by a sequel about the rise of Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades. What I’m saying is, the games themselves already laid the groundwork for a whole series of movies. They just need some rewriting for presentation on the big screen.
4. Ninja Gaiden
I include Ninja Gaiden in this list with some hesitation. Firstly, enjoyable as they were, the ninja movies of the 80s all came across as decisively corny. Secondly, an Anime version of Ninja Gaiden was already produced in 1991. This was only released in Japan. To confess, I have not heard about it till writing this article.
What made me ultimately decide to list Ninja Gaiden? I think it’s the feel of the revised Ryu Hayabusa tale. That of a dark, enigmatic character with an intriguing backstory. Relentlessly battling evil in a world with no distinctive time era. On the latter, some truly gorgeous CGI backdrops could be generated for this strange world, which is a mix between steampunk, the modern, and the medieval. This could be Oscar winning material potentially if I might say. For effects, for editing, and maybe even for costumes.
A movie adaptation of Bioshock has been in development hell since 2010. As recent as 2017, Gore Verbinski, the original stated director, indicated on Reddit that the movie might have a chance in his life and age. I take that to be a confession that little has progressed to date.
Which is such a pity, given Bioshock rides on such a fantastic, philosophical story. A few movies would be needed to present the whole tale, but if done correctly, I am sure it would resonate with a wide range of audiences. Moreover, the underwater, Art Deco inspired city of Rapture has so much potential for jaw-dropping movie sets. Like Ninja Gaiden, this could be Oscar winning material. Fingers crossed, for Verbinski to quickly revive interest and discussion in the Bioshock movie project.
6. The Elder Scrolls
You saw this one coming, didn’t you? If Warcraft could be made into a movie, if The Legend of Zelda has all the workings for a spectacular movie trilogy, why not Bethesda’s beloved medieval fantasy franchise? The one for which centuries of lore and history have already been written and published?
Yet, Bethesda turned down every offer for movie adaptations of The Elder Scrolls. In 2015, they declared that not only do they feel games are “the best form of entertainment in the world,” they are also uncomfortable with the lack of creative control once a franchise is signed over for movie production.
In all fairness, Bethesda couldn’t be faulted, with adaptation flops the likes of Hitman: Agent 47. Still, I’m hoping for the right person to eventually change their minds. On the issue of creative control, I’ve read that authors frequently relinquish such control upon signing over their books for movies. But does it always have to be that way? Wasn’t J.K. Rowling actively involved with the Harry Potter movies? I’m sure with the right partners, an Elder Scroll movie would do justice to Bethesda’s masterpiece. Who knows? This might also pave the way to, gasp, a Fallout movie.
Compared to other entries in this list, Dishonored has both lesser games and shorter history. It also stands apart in the sense that its gaming world is utterly unlike those in most video games. At any time, only a tiny fraction of the (speculated) gaming realm is ever accessible by players.
In spite of these, I feel the time is right for a Dishonored movie. Abundant lore was injected into the twin entries by developer Arkane Studio, stories which feature a variety of intriguing characters. Using these tales, an engrossing, darkly macabre movie could be written. In the form of a gripping side adventure of protagonist Corvo Attano. Those who have played Dishonored would agree that one assassination is hardly the only adventure Royal Protector Corvo would ever have. Why would the ambiguous entity who granted Corvo his powers let all his awesome abilities go to waste, when it had so much fun watching him struggle?
The main difficulty with a movie adaptation of Dishonored is the same as that for The Elder Scrolls. I.E. the resistance of publisher Bethesda Softworks. It might be a while before they change their minds.
© 2017 Kuan Leong Yong