After a rocky and somewhat controversial road, Sonic the Hedgehog has arrived in cinemas. Although it’s not trash, we also think it could have been a lot better. It got us thinking what games we’ve enjoyed over the years that would, or could, make great movies.
Plenty of games have been transformed into decent movies and with the right approach and care, we think these could as well. Lights, Camera, Action.
The Witcher has proven that fantasy series are all the rage, and one of the leading game series in this genre is the Elder Scrolls franchise. It’s not just all about Skyrim – Bethesda have created a monster of a universe in the continent of Tamriel that has so many different avenues and timelines for a possible adaptation to explore.
The script could pull from the main plots of the games – such as the rise of the Dragonborn, or the quest to close shut the jaws of Oblivion. Alternatively, shining a magnifying glass on one of the iconic factions – like the Thieves Guild or The Dark Brotherhood (the guild of assassins) – would still have enough backbone for a feature-length film or even a television series.
All this lore is however a catch-22. As there’s so much to cover, the danger of spreading a plot too thin is entirely possible. The adaptation would need somebody with enough experience in this genre to give it the execution it deserves. Bethesda’s VP of public relations and marketing Pete Hines expressed an interest in getting somebody like Peter Jackson to take the helm on a project like this – which would be the dream for any gaming fantasy fan.
Playing Don’t Starve – and I mean this in a good way – always reminds me of Nabokov’s description of life: a crack of light between two eternities of darkness. You start the game, you briefly enjoy yourself, and then you die.
For this reason, I’d bend the rules slightly and propose that Don’t Starve be adapted as a weekly TV series rather than a feature-length movie. It would work best, to my mind, as an animation, not least because it has the look – as well as the logic – of a deranged cartoon.
In the best traditions of Pinky and the Brain and Wile E Coyote, each episode would represent another attempt to defy the inevitable: the endless optimism of a hero who believes against all available evidence that this will be the time that he manages to set up a viable food-and-warmth strategy in time for winter.
Don’t Starve arrived with such a complete and coherent aesthetic that it’s easy to take it for granted, but that Tim Burton-inflected steampunk world cries out to be brought to other media. And unlike their dismal performance in the movies, TV and animated adaptations of video games have a decent track record. The Earthworm Jim cartoon, which captured the weirdness of that game without alienating newcomers, will be our guiding star.
Half Life is arguably one of the best video games ever made, so surely that in itself make it worth consideration. Ok, a modern film might look a little odd compared to the late-90s graphics but we still think it’s worth a go.
If you’re not aware, the game isn’t some insane multi-player shoot ’em up like Overwatch. On the contrary, it’s a slow paced single player thriller which has you creeping round every corner as slow as possible hoping a head crab doesn’t scare the actual crap out of you.
With the right cast and director, it’s the epic storyline of Half Life that would lend itself so well to the big screen. A hardy protagonist, a research experiment gone wrong, plenty of aliens and bags of tension.
(It might be on the way, although comments from JJ Abrams are now years old)
The game might not have offered the same level of fast-paced action of the GTA series, but in terms of story, you don’t get much better than that of Red Dead Redemption 2. The game follows the story of notorious gunslinger Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang on the run from an ever-evolving world – and not to mention the Pinkertons.
The story is jam packed with emotional moments that’d perfectly translate to the big screen – especially the cruel fate of Arthur Morgan that, as we all know, could’ve easily been avoided, making it all the more devastating. There are plenty of interesting characters, locations and themes that would captivate an audience, and there are enough twists and turns in the story to keep you on your toes for a couple of hours, if not longer.
There’s also an argument for a film focusing solely on the Van der Linde gang, and leader Dutch Van der Linde in particular. The variety of characters and the relationships they have add real depth to the game and seeing the epic train heists and gang wars on the big screen would be an epic experience. And besides, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to see a good ol’ fashioned western based on the events of Red Dead Redemption 2?
The problem with many of the game-based movies I’ve seen over the years is that they tend to either pick games that don’t have much of a story and try to bluff it out (Doom, Mortal Kombat, Prince of Persia), adapt ones with interesting mythology and settings and then ignore what made them good (Max Payne, Warcraft), or let Uwe Boll direct them (Alone in the Dark, House of the Dead, BloodRayne, Far Cry, etc.).
So, it would make sense to try one that has a strong narrative, some fantastical elements, hardly any fighting and is practically already a film. That’s why Beyond Two Souls is the one I’d like to see.
Following the troubled life of Jodie, a young girl who has a very special invisible friend that can cause havoc, it has the potential to be a cracking movie. There are sinister medical experiments, CIA shithousery, ethereal creatures, portals to other worlds, and the chance to deliver the baby of a homeless woman in a warehouse. All this, plus the knowledge that Uwe Boll has pretty much retired.