Video game movies are gaining more momentum as of late, what with the recent progress on the ‘God of War,’ ‘Assassin’s Creed,’ ‘Mass Effect,’ ‘Need for Speed’ and (the latest to be announced) ‘Deus Ex’ film adaptations. While previous video game-adapted films have performed so-so at the box office, we're reaching a bit of a peak with some of the most popular games of all-time getting big screen time. So, which ones should be the next to follow suit?
While some video games may never see themselves in movie form, there are tons more cinematic-style games Hollywood should have no problem picking up. That said, here are our picks for the next video game-adapted movies that could actually happen.
Story: 'inFAMOUS' is a lot like ‘X-Men,’ but instead of “mutants,” the individuals with supernatural abilities are called conduits, named after the “conduit gene” in their DNA. After bike messenger Cole McGrath is anonymously instructed to deliver a strange package, the device inside explodes, simultaneously activating Cole’s electrical abilities and destroying a chunk of Empire City. Now living in the aftermath of the devastation, Cole must discover who gave him the package while dodging the government who blames him for the explosion and the renegade gangs who’ve since taken over Empire City.
Why It Could Work: Back in 2009, the announcement to make an ‘inFAMOUS’ movie was announced with producers Avi and Ari Arad, and screenwriter Sheldon Turner. Considering the little progress that’s been made since, however, there’s always the likelihood that this video game movie will never see the big screen. Still, ‘The Avengers’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ plus the hype around the upcoming ‘The Wolverine,’ ‘Justice League’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ and all the Marvel movies have proven that we all love seeing superheroes brought to life on the big screen.
Why It Couldn’t Work: Like we said before, an ‘inFAMOUS’ movie doesn’t seem like a top priority for Sony Pictures; and as with other feature film ideas that have been placed semi-permanently on the backburner, there's a chance this one may not actually happen.
Story: The details of 'Skyrim’s plot differ, obviously, depending on which character you choose and which of the various side missions you choose to follow, but the central story line revolves around the world of Skyrim in the throngs of a prophesized civil war that’s been said to bring about the apocalyptic return of dragons.
Why It Could Work: After movies like ‘Life of Pi’ and ‘Cloud Atlas,' and upcoming films like ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful’ are heading up next year’s movie releases, there’s been an increasing focus on the visual imagery of movies. A ‘Skyrim’ movie adaptation could artfully continue this trend with a vast world to pull inspiration from. It’s also developed quite the fanbase over the years, meaning ticket sales are already pretty much guaranteed from that crew.
Why It Couldn’t Work: Some gamers get frustrated with 'Skyrim' due to the ridiculous amounts of side missions and subplots to work your way through, which could also be the downfall to any possible movie adaptation in the future. Just as many critics doubted the possibility of adapting ‘Cloud Atlas’ to the big screen, similar concerns plague our minds (as we’re sure they have plagued screenwriters and directors who’ve merely even thought about tackling this project).
'Star Wars: The Force Unleashed'
Story: 'The Force Unleashed' takes place during the time of George Lucas’ original ‘Star Wars’ films, only the story is told from the point of view of Darth Vader’s apprentice who’s been kept in the shadows. Having an incredible mastery of The Force, this dark assassin travels undercover, performing missions for Vader. However, he eventually must decide whether to follow his own path or continue being Vader’s slave.
Why It Could Work: With Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, the new president of everything ‘Star Wars’ related, Kathleen Kennedy, wants to churn out at least two or three ‘Star Wars’ movies a year. While all of these won’t tackle the story line to be introduced in ‘Star Wars: Episode 7,’ why not delve into the world of ‘The Force Unleashed’? It could act as a reboot of sorts...
Why It Couldn’t Work: As ‘Star Wars’ fans ourselves, we don’t know how we’d feel if the announcement was made to revisit George Lucas’ original story line. While the classic films are iconic to the sci-fi genre, those prequel movies were a bit of a letdown in terms of acting (we’re talking about you, Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen). Plus, with a side story like ‘The Force Unleashed,’ there are a handful of characters from the original films that would need to make an appearance – Billy Dee Williams and Princess Leia, to name two – and, as ‘Star Wars,’ we don’t think we could get along with new faces playing those roles. Plus, Kennedy seems apt to create an entirely new story and leave the past in the past.
Story: America has gone through a disaster known as “The Event,” which has left the country in a wasteland-like period of chaos. An unnamed male survivor travels to his home in Haventon only to find that his wife and child have left in search of safety. With little to go on, he embarks in this new world where people are dying of starvation and lack of basic resources to reunite with his family.
Why It Could Work: The game itself is a little too realistic in that it's not as exciting as, say, the hack ‘n slash games of present. A lot of the action is sneaking or trying to intimidate attackers with unloaded guns. However, as a video game movie, 'I Am Alive' could turn into a more interesting look at how people react in a post-apocalyptic world.
Why It Couldn’t Work: We actually think the concept is interesting enough to get the big screen treatment, but are there enough fans out there to incite a studio to take on the project? Not exactly sure. High volumes of fans already back the video games being chosen lately to receive companion movies, which is needed if a studio is going to take the risk and spend millions to adapt them.
Story: This is not the same literary classic by Dante Alighieri. The 'Dante’s Inferno' video game is more like what would happen if Nicolas Cage found himself in hell. Dante is a holy warrior who journeys into hell to rescue the captured soul of his love. What ensues is very similar to the 'God of War' gameplay – hack ‘n slash, weapons and magical (excuse us, “spiritual”) abilities and various creatively depicted images of the book’s demons.
Why It Could Work: We’re starting to enter into a new era of movies where the “angel” trend is slowly dominating the big and small screens – ‘The Mortal Instruments,’ angelic characters on ‘Supernatural,’ and the TV show adaptation of ‘Embrace,’ plus the Biblical story-adapted films like ‘Noah’ and Will Smith's ‘The Redemption of Cain’ – which means Hollywood will soon be looking to make the idea of angels more digestible to mainstream audiences. What better way to do that then to bring a classic Italian poet turned action hero to the big screen? Doesn’t Nic Cage sound perfect for that role?
Why It Couldn’t Work: We admit the idea of Dante being an action movie star is a bit farfetched. Plus, if Hollywood were to adapt a ‘Dante’s Inferno’ movie, it would probably try to hit the nail a little less on the head with a more modern interpretation of the classic epic poem. But still, the game is extremely similar to 'God of War,' and if that’s getting the video game movie treatment, well…
Story: In an alternate, dystopian world filled with steam punk imagery called Dunwall, bodyguard Corvo Attan has been framed for the murder of the Empress he’s sworn to protect. However, while waiting in prison for his beheading, he’s approached by a supernatural entity who imbues him with magical abilities so that he may escape and destroy his enemies.
Why It Could Work: 'Dishonored' only debuted this year, but we’re already extremely into the premise and the game’s cinematic appeal. Susan Sarandon (‘Cloud Atlas’), Chloe Moretz (‘Carrie’ reboot), Carrie Fisher (‘Star Wars’) and Lena Headey (‘Game of Thrones’) are just some of the acting talent who’ve lent their voices to the gameplay, which hints that the storyline isn’t horrible. Plus, the image of a mysterious cloaked assassin reminds us a lot of 'Assassin’s Creed,' which would make a nice precursor to a ‘Dishonored’ movie should someone decide to pick up the rights in the future.
Why It Couldn’t Work: A few critics have chastised 'Dishonored' for a predictable narrative, citing the lack of surprise from the "turn of events" or the unmasking of certain villains, which doesn't bode well for this potential video game movie. In addition, all the visual effects and the building of sets that would presumably be involved requires a large budget that most studios probably wouldn't be aching to give out.
Story: Juliet Starling is a sweet but deadly zombie killer who dresses primarily in a revealing cheerleader outfit while wielding a chainsaw. And that’s basically it!
Why It Could Work: The crazy thing is that a 'Lollipop Chainsaw' movie actually makes decent sense. With the success of previous films about scantily clad heroines who kick major butt – ‘Sucker Punch,’ ‘Grindhouse,’ ‘Resident Evil,’ not to mention the upcoming ‘Machete Kills’ – one that follows a zombie-killing cheerleader with pigtails seems like it could have mass appeal, no?
Why It Couldn’t Work: 'Lollipop Chainsaw' is already a movie… well, sort of. Presumably some gamer with a dirty mind transformed the already ridiculous premise into a porno, and because of the rated M nature of the game, maybe it should stay a porno. If a 'Lollipop Chainsaw' movie were to come to fruition, the audiences would presumably be limited to an 18-and-over audience due to the graphic nature of the game.
Story: An underwater city known as Rapture was built in 1960 with the hope it could become a utopian society. However, class warfare, fueled by a scientific breakthrough that bestowed super-human abilities on people, soon through Rapture into chaos. The new breed of sea slugs, whose molecules generate these powers, were implanted in the city's orphaned girls as a means of mass production. Now the place is overrun with those seeking to kill these children and claim the slugs for themselves, and the orphans' protectors known as "Big Daddies."
Why It Could Work: The sci-fi storyline of the 'Bioshock' series has a flow that's pretty easy for most people to digest, and its entire premise is something most of 'Bioshock's fan base wants to see brought to life on the screen. Not to mention everyone wants to see a real-life "Big Daddy."
Why It Couldn’t Work: We don’t have to speculate with this one; director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo made the reasons pretty clear: “The studio and the video game company, they have to reach some kind of agreement about the budget and the rating.” He made these statements back in late March and the 'Bioshock' movie has since been presumed dead, considering the studio ran into the same glitch back in the day when the first announcement was issued. Still, we can dream, can’t we?
Story: Alan Wake is a best-selling horror book author who moves to a small town after suffering from insomnia and depression. Once there, he meets a strange woman and begins to have nightmarish dreams, which he then attempts to document in his writing. Pretty soon, however, he notices that the events he writes down are happening in real life.
Why This Could Work: Critics have been praising this psychological thriller game for its TV show-like storytelling, which makes 'Alan Wake' one of the more obvious video games to adapt into a movie.
Why This Couldn’t Work: We actually can’t see too many legit reasons why 'Alan Wake' couldn’t become the next video game movie, especially with such an awesome premise, so the only one we can point out is the problem of successfully getting backing for a project like this. 'Alan Wake' isn’t known to a lot of the none-gaming world, so to peak the mainstreamers’ interests, a high-profile performance from the lead is needed (something like Leonardo DiCaprio circa ‘Shutter Island’).
Story: In the distant future, humanity is stuck in a war against a collective of alien races known as The Covenant. Genetically altered soldier Mast Chief John-117 and his team escape Earth to a ring-world called Halo, where they must fight for control.
Why It Could Work: We already assume someone will eventually make a 'Halo' movie – the trailers are epic (David Fincher produced the latest one for Halo 4!), and 'Halo' has an immense fan base. Neil Blomkamp and Peter Jackson were thinking up one for Fox back in the day, but ran into too many hiccups to see this project to fruition. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, does it?
Why It Couldn’t Work: Blomkamp has previously described how Fox was not impressed with his direction for the 'Halo' movie, stating that they wanted something more along the lines of ‘G. I. Joe’ “or some crap like that.” So even if someone else took hold of the reigns, we could end up with something more generic than the epic movie franchise we’re all picturing in our heads. Though, Guillermo del Toro has expressed his hopes that this movie will end up getting made, so perhaps he’s the man to do it.