The Last of Us and The Super Mario Bros. Movie has proven that good adaptations of video games are possible. Which has many hopeful for more great game adaptations in the future. But what will they be?
Today I’m going to list five unadapted video games that should receive the film treatment. I will then say why they should be adapted and give suggestions on how the adaptation could be handled.
Why?: Metroid is one of gaming’s most beloved franchises and features Samus Aran, one of its most iconic women leads. To not adapt it would be heresy.
How?: The first Metroid film should remain small-scale. The basic plot would follow the first game, where Samus is sent to stop Space Pirates using Metroids to create new weapons. It could easily be set in a huge laboratory. We would steadily see more of Samus’ abilities throughout her journey. But Samus’ personality should be foregrounded to make big action moments more impactful. Future Metroid films could then increase the action’s scope as the first film will have invested us in Samus’ character.
Grand Theft Auto
Why?: GTA is incredibly popular/controversial but it also tells diverse cinematic stories. Which skewer the American dream and showcases the violence at its heart. Meaning GTA could easily be cinematically adapted and it could hit hard in the current climate.
How? A GTA film should tell an original narrative, to avoid direct game comparisons. Perhaps focusing on a woman character to deconstruct the toxic masculine image associated with the games. The other key elements are creating engaging characters, an emotionally involving, comedic story, and building a detailed world that satirizes American capitalism in pointed controversial ways. This way fans will have more to chew on beyond simple shock value.
Why?: A Prototype film would be a genre lover’s dream. The premise of a virus transforming people into monsters and its focus on bloody carnage would satisfy horror gore hounds. But its superpowered main character and fast-paced action could also give it a unique space in the superhero market.
How?: The games provide several interesting story directions. Seeking vengeance for a murdered loved one or recovering one’s memory both have great dramatic possibilities. However, a Prototype film should prioritize having energetic direction. Also, crucially, it should include practical gore effects. Think Evil Dead meets Spider-Man.
Why?: Journey’s wordless story of a robed figure journeying towards a mountain and slowly discovering what happened to a prior civilization could really demonstrate the visual storytelling side of video game adaptations.
How?: To make a Journey film there needs to be grand visuals, an expressive main character, and a beautiful score. It could easily be told as a beautifully animated tale, like The Red Turtle. However, with ambitious creatives, it could be an awe-inspiring live-action epic. Imagine Dune (2022)’s creative team handling this adaptation.
Why?: The story of a non-magical girl searching for her sister in a magical school where she discovers her previously unknown powers has all the hallmarks of a new successful fantasy franchise. Plus the game’s focus on characters of colour and LGBTQ identities provides a wonderful opportunity for needed visibility in a big-screen franchise.
How?: An Ikenfell film should be live-action to showcase real-world representation. And would be best served by focusing on the mystery story and characters rather than style. Although if the Wachowski sisters wanted to direct another family film their creative flare would be welcome.
Those are just some games that deserve their own film. Which games would you like to see become films and why?