Video Game Movies That Don’t Exist, But Should

Horizon Zero Dawn video game movies

The film industry has begun a new era of looking at video games for new ideas. Gamers need to let Hollywood know what fans would like to see, considering that some games deserve a movie adaptation more than others.

Here are video games that we think could translate well into movie tie-ins.

1. Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
Image Credit: Rocktstar Games.

This one feels like a no-brainer. Movies about organized crime with charismatic personalities driving the plot always make a good time, but video game movies with the social commentary and cultural satire of the Grand Theft Auto series would be a major hit if handled correctly.

The only real question that remains? Which city to place it in? Liberty City might provide the most versatility, but the charm of Vice City and the realism of San Andreas would also work well. Regardless, a Grand Theft Auto movie would have a lot of potential for the crime drama genre as well as the GTA brand itself.

2. Bioshock

BioShock (2007)
Image Credit: 2K.

The dubious mix of political philosophy and harrowing atmosphere that characterized the first Bioshock game could translate into excellent video game movies with the right care. The deep characters and compelling underwater world of Rapture on their own would seal the deal, but the interweaving narratives that flow within the setting would push it way over the finish line.

The dystopian themes of the game already feel cinematic on their own, so while the screenplay writers would have their work cut out for them, it would be worthwhile to see this story become a feature-length film.

3. Mass Effect

Mass Effect
Image Credit: EA.

With Star Wars on the outs for the time being, perhaps Hollywood can make room for a Mass Effect series of video game movies to take over the big-budget science fiction genre. Shepherd and company carried the first three games with excellence, and there’s little reason to think they couldn’t do the same in a more passive format. After all, Mass Effect makes no secret about its Star Trek and Star Wars influences, so perhaps a film adaptation would be a rather natural evolution for Mass Effect.

Even still, the games make it pretty clear that the Mass Effect universe contains much more than what players have already seen. Maybe some new characters, worlds, and other narrative devices could start a new lineage.

4. The Elder Scrolls

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Image Credit: Bethesda Softworks.

The whimsical fantasy of The Elder Scrolls games would feel right at home in a big-budget film. The vastness and variety of the different regions from the games leave the door of possibilities wide open for new characters and stories that could hint at events in Oblivion, Skyrim, Daggerfall or Morrowind but also do their own thing narratively. As long as the mythical creatures, large-scale battles, and mysterious magic all make a return, it could even work as a full-blown trilogy.

5. Fallout

Fallout 3
Image Credit: Bethesda Softworks.

Much like the world of The Elder Scrolls, Fallout also has more than enough of an established world and unique tone to justify at least one film adaptation. These games feel so vast, and their character rosters so varied, that any one Fallout game could be a series of movies if handled correctly.

Hollywood doesn't seem done with the post-apocalyptic setting, so why not go for the gold with one of the best IPs ever to approach that concept? The massive Fallout fan base would also be sure to show up and ensure decent box-office sales.

6. MediEvil

MediEvil
Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment.

The Tim Burton-esque imagery and German expressionism present in the first MediEvil game cries out forvideo game movies. Granted, the second game and the PSP remake muddled things up a bit in terms of tone and style, but the 2018 remake more-or-less brought MediEvil back to its roots with the definitive version of its thematic concepts. Now that PlayStation Productions seems like they’re more open to bringing their IP into the world of film, perhaps MediEvil deserves a real shot at the limelight.

7. Infamous

Infamous
Image Credit Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Superhero movies have run out of gas of late, but not because people have become tired of them as a concept. The recycled one-liners and predictable plots of most super hero flicks feel like the real problem, so if one came along to shake things up with more complex characters and less conventional powers, it could still do well.

Well, that’s where Infamous comes in. The conflicting desires of the series’ main protagonists and the rather unique set up with conduits causing civil unrest offer an interesting springboard for a 90-minute movie.

8. Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn
Image Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Hard science fiction and a dash of fantasy don’t go together too well all the time, but somehow, the Horizon games have pulled it off and created a world brimming with opportunities.

The futuristic setting takes place so far in the future that writers for video game movies could ignore most of human history while crafting their own story. Also, while Aloy, Sylens, and Varl might not have set the world on fire as characters yet, with the right actors portraying them, who knows? The legions of bloodthirsty robotic creatures alone would put a few million viewers in the seats, so a Horizon movie would make a lot of sense on multiple levels.

9. The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Image Credit: Nintendo.

With the success of the Super Mario Brothers film, Nintendo will, no doubt, consider giving The Legend of Zelda a similar treatment. The rich world of Hyrule, full of iconic characters, could offer the perfect setting for a series of films depicting Link’s eternal struggle to free Princess Zelda from the clutches of Ganon. Extending the cultural influence of the games into the world of film seems like a natural next step for the IP.

10. Overwatch

overwatch 2 Blizzard e1700930674266
Image Credit: Blizzard.

Overwatch seems to have stumbled around the idea of being a great movie for a while now, with the excellent short films that surfaced online around the first game’s launch that rivaled the best of Pixar. With the games focused on low-context multiplayer action, it’s a shame that designers haven't fleshed the world of Overwatch out more by this point, but perhaps some talented Hollywood writers could come in.

11. Life Is Strange

Life Is Strange
Image Credit: Square Enix.

A game characterized as a “playable movie” by many over the years seems like a great candidate for video game movies. Life Is Strange’s characters seem so well-developed and written that a film adaptation seems obvious. As a bonus, the events of the games avoid being too fantastical, which could in theory keep a production budget low. While the psychological thriller genre has fallen a bit flat in recent years, a Life Is Strange movie could become a big hit in theaters.

12. Mirror’s Edge

Mirror’s Edge
Image Credit: Electronic Arts.

The mix of a dystopian future setting and a striking take on a cyber punk look proved quite a draw for both Mirror’s Edge games. While neither game became a rousing success, they stayed far from being failures.

As a film, the world of Mirror’s Edge and Faith’s journey within it could be expanded upon in ways that a game would find challenging. The Mirror’s Edge games did a great job of setting up the world, but a film could focus on its lore, build out its origin, and elevate the concept to a new level.

13. Killzone

Killzone: Shadow Fall
Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment.

Most would agree that the underlying concept of the first few Killzone games holds up as alluring. The Halghast, an offshoot of the human race turned vengeful neo-fascist antagonist of the solar system, feels like more than enough to fuel several excellent first-person shooters. Dark science fiction that feels more realistic than it had any right to fill these games with a unique blend of Diesel-punk aesthetics and epic firepower.

That said, the series never had a compelling hero. Maybe a talented team of screenwriters could resolve this, though? In the right hands, the Killzone franchise could become fantastic as a movie or even a series of video game movies. With Guerrilla Games showing more interest in other projects for the foreseeable future, perhaps its time to hand the keys to Hollywood.

15. Death Stranding

Hideo Kojima
Image Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment, 505 Games.

With Kojima’s work never feeling too far from a handful of cinematic influences, it should be no surprise that Death Stranding seems poised to join the ranks of the many science fiction films to whom it owes its existence. The mesmerizing environments, Hollywood cast, and vague themes of loss and redemption could offer the perfect match for the right team of filmmakers…with Kojima’s supervision, of course. While it might be a little light on action, the captivating performances, bizarre concepts, and amusing philosophical musings should offer more than enough to fill a two-hour movie.

Author: John W

Title: Gaming writer

Expertise: Modern/retro gaming, film, and tech

Bio:

John is a writer and video producer with deep knowledge of retro and modern gaming that is matched only by his affinity for the same. Coming from the world of radio and journalism, John brings an educational and informative tone to his work in an effort to make sure his readers and listeners always learn something.