The new Mortal Kombat movie is upon us, and until this pandemic ends (or we get an HBO Max account, whichever comes first), I won’t be seeing this movie. I have heard good things about this movie, bad things about this movie, and so many people calling it bad but somehow they forgot about Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. No matter, I still definitely want to see another adaptation of a video game franchise.
… and then I started thinking about video games that could actually be adapted into good Hollywood movies. With the animated Super Mario Bros. on the way, and the live action Uncharted movies, it seems like we might get some decent movies based on games. But I said that before with other awful game movies (Resident Evil and Tekken come to mind). Clearly what a director thinks is a good idea is not what an audience thinks is a good idea, especially a gaming audience. Regardless, I still hold out hope we can get some great live action or animated movies from some of my favorite gaming franchises!
In no particular order, here are my candidates for movies based on video games I would love to see, but know will never actually happen.
The Legend of Zelda
We got really close to this happening over at Netflix, but sadly we won’t be seeing Link, Navi, or the titular Zelda on the big screen. At least not any time soon. With no plans from Nintendo to adapt this series, despite it literally being the most obvious choice for a game to make that jump to theaters, I don’t know what the series will be like if and when it ever comes out. Maybe if the aforementioned Super Mario Bros. movie does well Nintendo might be more open to that idea.
God of War
The action heavy Playstation series can easily find a home in theaters, bringing Kratos’ penchant for violent action to a swathe of new viewers. An action heavy studio like Legendary Pictures might take something like they did with 300 to adapt to this new series. Even though the graphic, yet ironically family-focused, nature of these games would likely hit with younger demographics, I think Hollywood execs just won’t see the potential in this one.
Shin Megami Tensei has quite a few games under it’s header, with none more prolific than the Persona series. High school students battling bad guys from another dimension in order to save the world is a cliche enough topic for Hollywood to surely want to latch on. However, Persona’s method of storytelling really relies on character development. While this can be done, I think a movie might lose viewers if it were to focus on all those Social Links and character interactions instead of the visceral, psychological combat the series is also known for.
When looking at this game as a movie franchise, I really think of it as “The Legend of Zelda set in space.” Though that is an absolute butchering of what Samus Aran and her unique style of video games have done for the industry, it’s not far off from how Hollywood might adapt the series. Honestly the Metroid series is setup so easily to succeed as a film: Samus is a great character, she can explore one quick planet in the movie, and the setting is all about spooky alien action! What more could you want?
Undertale made a name for itself with truly unique gameplay and storytelling. It turned how one plays in an RPG into the actual story. All the while, interesting characters adorn the game world. They have their own lives and motivations, and seem to be held down by some force you need to uncover. The mysterious storyline mixed with compelling characters can make for a strong, narrative driven film experience. Sadly, this will likely never happen, as the movie would lose some of the spark it received from it’s one of a kind gameplay.
Mario should always be animated, and not live action. The 90s movie told us this (Though, to be fair, the live action sections of the TV show weren’t horrible). With 2022 being the year we see Super Mario Bros. hit the theaters, Nintendo could totally follow it up with the funnier Paper Mario animated feature. The paper puns and jokes would easily translate to a movie format, and targeting an older audience with it’s jokes and humor would make for an instant classic! But yeah, it won’t happen, and I know that. And that makes me sad…
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Hey, if they’re already making an Uncharted video game movie, why not make one about giant robot dinosaurs? Horizon has a compelling story and fascinating world, The two combine to create a video game I wanted to explore and learn more about. Audiences can be in awe of the huge mechanical dinosaurs, but they’ll be even more impressed by main series character Aloy and her discovery of her past and the not so distant future! This one could happen, but it’s a weirder option, for sure.
Post apocalyptic worlds are nothing new, so why not look at the Fallout franchise for a movie setting? The 1950s kitsch defines this series, and it can do the same in a movie format. Pick a random vault (or better yet, make a new one), and set the movie in or outside of it. Have the audience go with the wanderer and discover the ethically horrible experiments the government did on it’s own citizens. Get some heavy action with super mutant battles. And a larger overarching narrative can accompany a smaller plot to give the viewers a true sense of scale and world building. Fallout games are all about choice and consequences, so showing the impact the main character can do may be too difficult to adapt to the silver screen.
It’s not secret I am a big fan of Blizzard’s Overwatch series. There have been rumors the series is going to be adapted into an animated series at some point, but that hasn’t happened yet (and we can/should still get a movie version). Overwatch can set itself aside from generic war and superhero movies by leaning into the series’ lore; focusing on the Omnic uprising and the impact it had on a technologically advanced world could be a really unique setting for moviegoers. Blizzard’s renowned cinematic art style would lend itself perfectly for a full length feature film.
I can’t talk about Blizzard properties I love without talking about Diablo. Wouldn’t you know it, I think the game series would make a fantastic action film series! The series’ dark tone and demonic action could be amazing to see in live action on a massive screen! The lore of this game series might be too much for Hollywood though, as strong religious themes run throughout the entirety of this series. Still though, I would die a happy man if I can see the Cow King on the big screen! Moo.
Those are some of my most wanted video game movies. What would you all want to see pop up in theaters? Let me know and let’s be sad together we won’t ever get what we truly want!