Eight Video Games That Could Make Great Films

To put it bluntly, the majority of video game film adaptations turn out to be pretty awful. From Resident Evil to Street Fighter to Hitman, countless franchises have failed to make that transition, especially in live-action. Fortunately, in recent years, Sonic the Hedgehog, Werewolves Within and Detective Pikachu have estabished the potential in a film adaptation. Sonic the Hedgehog in particular has experienced a recent resurgence, in part due to the success in its two recent films.

It’s my job here to pick out several games with the ability to have impressive film adaptations. A couple of rules: I’m firstly going to try and steer away from franchises already with a film iteration. I’m excluding the likes of God of War, Red Dead Redemption and Until Dawn because of their potential to seamlessly cross over into film.

 

BioShock

Out of all the possible suggestions, BioShock is at the top of my list. Sure, this franchise hasn’t had any new activity for a decade, but wouldn’t it be fun to revisit Rapture, this time on the big screen? A BioShock film was in development some years ago; unfortunately, it never came to fruition. Well, I say “unfortunately”, but we may have been spared from a grim film adaptation.

In terms of atmosphere and dystopia, Rapture is rich with potential to make for an action, horror and thriller hybrid. A couple of years ago, I mentioned BioShock in the same context as part of a feature. I stated that I’d like to see “the gore and lighting of Snowpiercer; the thriller conventions of Alien; the claustrophobia of Panic Room“, and I still agree. Seeing a Big Daddy appear for the first time should fill the audience with wonder, which swiftly turns into dread. Plus, BioShock is known for iconic plot twists – maybe we’ll see a shocking twist in a film adaptation.

Unlike other franchises on this list, you can make a canonised story not directly connected to any of the games. Yes, Rapture would be the setting, but a new protagonist could be introduced, and there’s a lengthy time period that can be worked with. While unlikely, I will keep this hope alive to one day see BioShock on the big screen.

 

Spyro the Dragon

Now, there are rumours circulating that another Spyro game is in the works. Whether this is true or not, I believe a Spyro film is an intriuging proposition. Also – thinking in relation to the Sonic the Hedgehog films – a potential animated Spyro film to release within a year of a new game could boost sales, publicity and indicate a resurgence of the PlayStation icon.

Thinking about a potential narrative, let’s keep it simple. Perhaps you base it off the original game, where Spyro must rescue the rest of his fellow dragons, following their transformation into statues, culminating in a standoff against Gnasty Gnorc. Or, a new narrative, where a new villain is established, or we see a hybrid of previous storylines. Please, just make it a Spyro film with no Skylanders cameos. Please, also make sure we see Hunter in this possible adaptation.

 

Donkey Kong

If in 2022 you told me a Seth Rogen-voiced Donkey Kong would kill it on the big screen, I’d laugh in your face. Now, I really like the concept of this gaming icon receiving his own film, especially with the success of the Super Mario Bros. movie that released in 2023. Donkey Kong acts a perfect spin-off for this potential Super Mario film franchise, with an array of colourful characters to utilise.

Whether we go back to this powerful gorilla’s origins of throwing barrels at Mario or look to hone in on the Donkey Kong Country series, there’s so much to explore in a single film. Let’s make sure to include all of the familiar faces too – some of which were present in the recent Super Mario film. Add King K. Rool in as the main antagonist and you have a family-friendly ride!

Exactly like Spyro, this film should be nothing other than animated. Given how another celebrated fictional ape is back on the big screen in live-action, Donkey Kong should make this leap. Aside from using its theme song, I also pray that this adaptation would have little in common with the horrifically bad TV series eponymously named Donkey Kong, which released in the late 90s.

 

Dying Light

Due to the first-person perspective in this 2015 game release, I can understand the difficulty in transforming Dying Light into a film. However, I genuinely believe that Dying Light has many components elsewhere that could transition well into film; let’s begin with the gore! We’ve seen gore and zombies on countless occasions, honing in wonderfully on visual horror. Dying Light also has a solid story, doing what The Walking Dead did so well in its first few seasons. Zombies are, of course, the catalyst for the post-apocalyptic setting, but relationships between people still remain integral to the narrative structure. I only ask for no quick-time event at the film’s conclusion.

A Dying Light film could further flourish with successful executions of thriller elements. For zombies that run, they need to strike fear in the hearts of the characters and audience. What Dying Light does so well in the early stages is have mostly walking zombies, so that when you see a runner, panic floods your mind. When night falls, the Volatiles should make a cameo and further emphasise this. As such, a night chase scene would be incredible to watch unfold. This is where we see the parkour Dying Light is known for come to the forefront. Some scenes in Dying Light‘s terrifying sewers would be welcome too. In a world where more zombie films flop than flourish, a Dying Light film could break this pattern.

 

Control

I believe out of all of the games mentioned so far, Control has the highest ceiling for a successful film, with comparisons to Inception and Arrival crossing my mind in particular. Describing Control in one word, I would choose “unsettling”. Its implementation of brutalist architecture coupled with perturbing enemies contributes to one of my favourite atmospheres in gaming. Due to Control’s enthralling art direction, I’m confident we could see this utilised succesfully on the big screen.

Focusing more on the content, I feel you have to have Jesse as the main character equipped with telekinetic abilities. Unfortunately, I believe Jesse as a character was one of the weakest parts of Control, alongside the narrative. By putting these factors into a film world – and by having Christopher Nolan, as an example, directing – these elements could be fleshed out even more to make a gripping and eerie film that feels appropriately bizarre.

 

Far Cry

So, Far Cry has already had a film. Released in 2008, the film Far Cry was loosely based on the game franchise and was unsurprisingly dreadful. I prefer not to count this rendition, especially because I only came across its existence following research for writing this. Far Cry has had its fair share of intriuguing cults, villains and worlds, but I believe a specific focus on influences from Far Cry 3 could help in creating a fantastic Far Cry film.

I choose Far Cry 3 for influence because of two particular reasons. Firstly, it’s due to everybody’s favourite Far Cry villain…Vaas! If Michael Mando – Vaas’ original actor – was onboard, we could see a legendary villain performance on the big screen. Rather than being killed off halfway through the film, I’d love for him to consistently be present, having a larger role than in the game. Something else I’d love to see used from Far Cry 3 is the character of Jason Brody, specifically how other characters react to his killing spree throughout. Rather than a mindless action film, it’d be interesting to see the change in a person due to a kill or be killed mentality.

 

F-Zero

Talk about reviving a franchise that’s hardly had action over the past 20 years! I thoroughly believe there’s potential for a fantastic live-action adaptation of what once was a staple racing title. F-Zero is about going fast…like, really fast. This concept alone sells itself without any characters being mentioned. Even then, Captain Falcon – renowned for his ‘Falcon Punch’ – would be an interesting presence. How would he be portrayed?

Perhaps Captain Falcon is a legendary racer a new protagonist looks up to? Or this film could capture his debut in the F-Zero scene! There are several possibilities here that could serve well for a film adaptation. A potential studio would need to nail the feeling of outrageous speed in a series of intense races. If this is executed well, the racing alone would sell cinema tickets. There’s more risk in this adaptation than most on this list, but I have faith.

 

Metroid

There’s plenty of potential in a Metroid film. Just look at Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986) for significant influence, in conjunction with the Metroid games. Unlike all the possible movie ideas mentioned above, I could see a Metroid film being fantastic as live-action or animated. Although, I believe that for budget reasons – unless one of the world’s top studios funded the film – that animation is the most suitable option for a Metroid film.

Metroid needs to feel gloomy, gritty, claustrophobic – focusing on some of the more horror elements of the series. This film adaptation should be somewhat unsettling – like the first game – with crude aliens and foreign environments. As for Samus’ characterisation, it’s easy to draw comparisons to her and Ellen Ripley. However, Samus should be represented as even more menacing, especially because of her powerful suit. On the other hand, enemies and, particularly, main antagonist Ridley should be presented as formidable, to say the least.

I feel the main question to ask about a Metroid film adaptation is its target audience. Should it feel like a more child-friendly version of the Alien franchise, or should it go above and beyond any other Nintendo franchise – even The Legend of Zelda – in horror and thriller conventions? In either case, I see the vision alongside the potential for more than a singular film entry.

 

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