Since the early ‘90s, video games have offered the potential for big box office success but with each execution, that potential seemed like it could never be reached.
Now with recent successes such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Detective Pickachu, and even The Witcher series on Netflix, there has been a renewed interest in adapting these properties. Already coming down the pipeline, we have movies based on Mario, Portal, The Last of Us, and Five Nights at Freddy’s and shows focused on Halo and Cuphead.
It seems like studios might finally be getting confident in their ability to adapt these fan-favorite franchises. This got me thinking, what other video games might make great movies?
So I looked through hundreds of games, looking at the lore, plot, characters, and action to decide what other properties might make for a future blockbuster success. Here are 10 video games that would make great movies.
10. Red Dead Redemption
It could be argued that Red Dead Redemption franchise has some of the best stories and characters of any modern western, whether it’s film or gaming. Arthur Morgan and John Marshton are both tragic characters that are looked back fondly on by fans. Seeing these characters portrayed on the big screen could be a surreal experience if played by the proper actor.
Get one of the great Western directors like Clint Eastwood or Tommy Lee Jones and you might have the recipe for a new classic. Imagine seeing John’s final moments with his family and his final confrontation with his former gang.
It would be an absolute treat to see Arthur Morgan grappling with this inevitable death and ultimately being left alone while others continue to move on without him. I hope this comes to pass.
Infamous hasn’t gotten much love in recent years but maybe a movie could change all of that? Maybe return to Cole’s adventures trying to save Empire City as he learns to use his powers effectively with a bit of humor to balance out the overly serious Cole. Think Will Smith’s Hancock but with a more coherent mystery.
Cole’s powers often place him in situations that force him to make a moral decision. A few of these choices can even be ambiguously forcing the hero to come to terms with his responsibility as a hero or villain. The potential for Sony to dip into the superhero craze beyond just the Spider-Man movies is just all too obvious.
8. L.A. Noire
Honestly, this one is a no-brainer. L.A. Noire is already influenced heavily by some fantastic noir films such as L.A. Confidential and Chinatown.
The gameplay is mostly focused on character dialogue and the world of 1940s L.A. so seeing an adaption is more than feasible. What would make this special is seeing the flawed characters that made Rockstar’s noir classic such a memorable experience.
Seeing Cole Phelps on the big screen as he works his way up the ranks, dealing with a past he’d rather forget, and digging his own grave at the same time could even be an upgrade from the 2011 title in some aspects. In fact, the IP might be more at home on the big screen than it ever was in its original experimental game.
The mystery and twists in Dishonored’s world are fueled by human greed. Much like V for Vendetta, Dishonored forces the player to think about the lives of the oppressed vs. those in power.
Dishonored, however, could stick more closely with its unique steam-punk aesthetic while offering up much more explicit examples of how far power can corrupt and destroy the lives of those it benefits from.
And there are plenty of stories to examine from big names like Corvo and Emily to the smaller guys such as the Outsider or Captain Foster, the direction is limitless. Dishonored is begging for the movie treatment and I would love to see its world become fully realized.
6. Titanfall/Apex: Legends
While the first Titanfall didn’t give us too much to go off of for a wider universe, Titanfall 2 showed everyone how the world could be used to examine man vs. machine and the relationship that can develop between Pilot and Titan.
It could just be a big dumb sci-fi adventure much like Michael Bay’s Transformer movies but with the wider universe being expanded through Apex: Legends, there might be a bigger opportunity waiting here.
Maybe something more akin to an Avengers film as each character is explored individually before coming together in a collaboration project. It’s worth thinking about.
5. Hollow Knight
Hollow Knight might be a curious choice if you are solely focusing on the tough boss battles and challenging platforming but this title offers so much more. The world of Hollow Nest is tragically beautiful with a small cast of characters that help to make it feel like the kingdom is barely limping along.
A film based on Hollow Knight could lend itself really nicely to a style reminiscent of Netflix’s Castlevania series with flashy anime-like combat sequences. Hollow Knight could potentially be a visual splendor with a foreboding plot and themes about cycles, duty, and fate.
4. Ori and the Blind Forest
Some video games are just too perfect for the Pixar treatment and Ori and the Blind Forest may be one of the top candidates.
Its visually impressive style, dark environmentalist tone, and unique cast of characters all could lend themselves perfectly to a 3D-stylized approach. Following the guardian spirit, Ori as she traverses the once prospering wilderness and slowly brings it back to how it once was.
The game isn’t much for dialogue, so maybe something reminiscent of WALL-E might help to give this title its edge in theaters. By emphasizing character actions and mannerisms, it could deliver a memorable depiction of the characters while remaining faithful to the source material.
3. Hotline Miami
Hotline Miami might seem like a weird choice too at first glance but you need to keep an open mind. The plot in this world is strange and borderline delusional as the protagonist works his way through a chaotic world of criminals.
It would be a perfect neo-noir flick that keeps you guessing while it shows you non-stop action fight scenes.
It could easily be a John Wick-esque film with plenty of thrills and mystery to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Even the ‘80s style looks like it could be promising and fit right in with current trends in the mainstream film industry.
2. What Remains of Edith Finch
The story of What Remains of Edith Finch is one of the most chilling and heartbreaking of any narrative-based game in the past few decades.
While it may seem like the immersive quality of the first-person perspective is what helps to make this one extra gripping, it could be special to see Edith interacting with her grandmother or watching Lewis’ face as he succumbs to mundane with his own fantastical delusions.
There are elements that had to be left out of the game due to its delivery that could be worth exploring in a film adaptation or maybe even in a mini-series. It would be a dark exploration of characters. mental health, and family and one that audiences would probably never forget.
Hades is such an obvious choice for a movie adaptation. The marketing even gave us a taste of how well the fight scenes could hypothetically be done.
Fast action with well-illustrated emotion with a sprinkle of charm and humor, Hades is intense but the moments of serenity are what help to flesh out these characters and make their conflict with one another all the more striking.
The writing itself is proof enough that the scenes where Zagrius isn’t kicking butt would be just as interesting and emotionally investing. Seeing Zagrius confronting his father, hashing it out with the Furies, or discussing the unjustness of his fate with his mother could be exhilarating to see in an animated-stylized depiction.