33 video games we'd love to see as feature films

Contributed by
Jul 30, 2015

The upcoming release of Resident Evil 6 has us excited, but we're still waiting for that video game movie that really rocks. Hollywood seems to have a hard time with it, which is perplexing - there are dozens of video games with compelling stories out there just waiting for the right adaptation. To lend a helping hang (you're welcome, major motion picture studios), I made a large list of games that need to be given blockbuster treatment as soon as possible. Naturally, I couldn't get every game on there, so If your favorite missed the list, and you think it'd be great silver screen fodder, tell us in the comments. 


Caption: 

Bioshock

This decade, they made a trilogy of films about the libertarian principles put forth by thinkers such as Ayn Rand. Despite their love of the free market, the free market did not love them back and these films lost millions of dollars.

This wouldn't have happened had they incorporated the beautiful, underwater world of Bioshock. The Galt's Gulch city of Rapture has everything a movie-goer needs: Angry mutated humans with super powers, mind controlling titans of industry slugging it out, and guns. This one has been bouncing around for a while, with previous development under Gore Vidal falling through, but someone should have the guts to bring Rapture to life.

 

Caption: 

Fallout

The Mad Max reboot was great, so why not bring in the rich, post-nuclear settings of the Fallout series? Militaries trying desperately to impose order on society, rebel factions that range from savvy techies to shortsighted frat boys (we're looking at you, Caesar), rampaging mutants, and insane '50s-style robots with plasma rifles, aAll warring for control of the few remaining power sources and trying to re-establish society under their own bizarre visions.

Plus, if they made the movie theater entrance look like a Vault, we'd be hooked.
 

Caption: 

Chrono Trigger

Bouncing back and forth in time, trying to set things up perfectly to beat a seemingly-impossible Big Bad guy, Chrono Trigger brings the action-plus-intelligence that drives the best time travel films. Plus, the film could have alternate endings in different theaters, like the game had. Why was Clue was the only film to do that (Because it tanked - Ed.)?

 

Caption: 

Half-Life

We always wanted more of the opening narrative to Half-Life 2: A dystopian alien-human joint committee rules with an iron fist. Our protagonist emerges from stasis to join up with the remaining members of a theoretical research facility to make crazy weapons and take down the Man. And the Alien Man, however you say that in alien-ese. Plus, seeing Dog on screen would be worth the price of admission.

 

Caption: 

Portal 2

You are frozen in time for thousands of years. When you awake, you are deep underground in a research facility. Your only weapon is a gun that allows you to teleport to wherever you shoot it. Plus, there's a robot you apparently killed, and it wants revenge.

Forget about Whiplash, Cave Johnson was the finest role JK Simmons ever played. If they ever do bring this to the silver screen, we hope they also bring on the writers, as it was the most well-penned video game in history.

 

Caption: 

Mass Effect

Here's another one that's been confined to development hell for a few years (Legendary Pictures owns the rights). An alien conspiracy stretching back eons. alien investigators with a license to kill, dozens of foreign planets, and one average-looking man to tie them all together.

High stakes is the key to space movies, and what's higher than the potential extermination of every living thing in the entire universe? Plus, there's already an over-arching trilogy, and you know how Hollywood loves those. Add in the fact that the main storyline is basically Cthulu in space and you've got a whole bunch of fandom itches scratched all at once.
 

Caption: 

Mega Man

Two super-advanced scientists pit their robotic creations against each other. Each robot has a crazy power. It's like The Running Man, but with robots. It wouldn't really surprise me if there were a Mega Man robot named Running Man.

But I'd insist they cut all the dumbest robots. None of these bolt-buckets that shoot bubbles, or leaves, or wool. OR IS A CENTAUR.

 

Caption: 

Deus Ex

There's reportedly some movement on the Deus Ex movie front, but patience isn't my strong suit; let's get the nanotech-enhanced JC Denton into the canon of movie superheroes. Watch as he explores a world where almost every single modern conspiracy has come true. Class disparity in the real world is slipping towards the horrific states portrayed in Deus Ex, anyway, so it hits close to home. Cheer the hero along as he unravels, then tries to stop, a genocidal, global conspiracy. Who wouldn't want to munch popcorn to that?

 

Caption: 

Gears of War

A utopian city falls into war over a much-needed power source. Then, locust monsters attack everyone. It's like Planet of the Apes, except in the future and with locusts. And on a distant planet and futuristic weapons of mass destruction And giant worms. And chainsaws. 

 

Caption: 

Metal Gear Solid

The tongue-in-cheek spy saga could translate well onto the big screen. Think "James Bond in the future," if James Bond had a twin/clone thing going on.

It would be a great way to inject humor into the spy genre without resorting to parody. The over-arching terrorist conspiracy could lead itself to tons of sequels, as in the game series. Because if it's one thing the spy genre is known for, it's endless sequels.

 

Caption: 

Metro: Last Light

This game features a beautifully flawed protagonist. Haunted by his own memory after releasing a weapon of mass destruction, the hero must make his way through a post-nuclear wasteland, set mainly in underground subway tunnels.

There are plenty of pieces of mythos that would keep this potential film intriguing for several hours: A mysterious group known as the Dark Ones, a deadly virus which lends itself to a bioweapon, and mutated beasts all combine to make a rich and imaginative world.

 

Caption: 

Halo

We're not talking about these Red vs Blue cartoon films or direct-to-streaming-service shows; we're talking about giving Halo a blockbuster budget with real actors. Faster-than-light travel allows the colonization of distant worlds. Battling an alien coalition from an enormous space station, humanity puts its last hope in a lone hero wearing a really cool suit of armor. I could see Bradley Cooper trying to infiltrate and destroy the enemy's technological stranglehold. Hey, if they made a film about Doom, then this has the potential to be ten times better (which really isn't saying much). Sadly, previous attempts to produce a Halo film have fallen flat, but, hey, it took Mad Max: Fury Road 15 years to get to the big screen.
 

Caption: 

Twisted Metal

Outlaws fighting in savage demolition derbys for the ultimate prize: The chance for a reality-bending wish to come true. Naturally, I'd follow Sweet Tooth, the ice cream truck-driving clown, because he is the awesome staple character of the series.

Of course, a demolition derby is only sufficient to satisfy the drunkest of theater-goers, so we'd like to see a healthy dose of black humor thrown in as the characters get their wish words twisted in unintended ways
 

Caption: 

System Shock

A hacker awakes after being implanted with an enhancement to find that AI has taken over the entire space station. The film would follow him as he tries to destroy the station from the inside, while simultaneously avoiding the deadly machines sent his way, all this with the ticking clock of a mutant virus about to be released on Earth. We'd really like to see elements from both System Shock and its sequel weaved together, especially that mind-melting plot twist...and there are several big-time Hollywood actresses we could see as the face of one of the all-time great gaming villains, SHODAN.
 

Caption: 

Space Quest

Come on, Hollywood: Make a space farce about swashbuckling janitor Roger Wilco, already. We're due for another Spaceballs or Starship Troopers, why not use a universe that has six whole games worth of canon?

Heck, you could utilize the time travel element to zip between the different formats of space science-fiction films: From black-and-white tin can spaceships to incredible 3D modeling to CGI. There's plenty of room to zing the industry, and Roger Wilco would be a killer part for a dynamic comedic talent.
 

Caption: 

Mirror's Edge

A murder conspiracy in a totalitarian regime, solved with the strong help of parkour stunts. Who doesn't love parkour? Surveillance using parkour, prison breakouts using parkour, commuting to work with parkour....this is pretty much the best vehicle if they ever want to make a blockbuster about the sport of freerunning (and no, District 13 doesn't count).
 

Caption: 

The Witcher

This might be cheating, since the games are based on a blockbuster book series. But that's even more reason why I'm shocked that there hasn't been a big-screen adaptation of these stories.

Elves, witches, bandits, sex, an uprising of squirrels...if anyone wants to make a series to compete with Game of Thrones, look no further. I could see Witcher 2 done up Western style, only in a fantasy setting, where the rogue good-guy outlaw just happens to have genetically-enhanced witch powers, like John Wayne fanfiction spun out of control.

Caption: 

Dragon Age

Armies fighting, a hod inside the body of a dragon, a group of outcast soldiers who gain special powers from drinking demon blood...why did we get 7 hours of Hobbit films but they can't take this awesome, sprawling body of work and put it on the big screen?

We might, however, change the moniker given to the mysterious dark essence constantly threatening to take over. Something about the name "The Taint," might be bad for merchandising, we suspect.

 

Caption: 

Baten Kaitos Origins

Nobody played this game, except for me. And that makes me the only person in the world to experience one of the best storylines in fiction history.

The hero has a companion in a mechanized, sentient puppet - its mere existence is another mystery in its own. An emperor assassination jump-starts the plot: A war between magic and machines that jumps through time. What keeps this story going is the insane number of plot twists, which somehow manage to not derail the main storyline.

 

Caption: 

Planescape: Torment

The hero wakes up in a mortuary. Gradually, he pieces his past together by roaming through a land filled with sorcery and the undead.
Eventually, the fantasy setting throws in a heavy dose of philosophy, as all the good ones do. Confronting one's own mortality, or lack thereof, provides a sound setting for an epic final battle that would look great on the big screen. Of course, the last time a licensed Dungeons & Dragons film made it into cinemas, the results were...well, not so good. But this dark and twisted take on fantasy, with someone like Vin Diesel in the role of the Nameless One, would be an entirely different experience.

 

Caption: 

Deadly Premonition

This Twin Peaks-inspired game features...well...just picture Twin Peaks and you're pretty much there. Kiss off the TP reboot and get behind a big screen adaptation of this bizarre game.

In search of a killer, a detective is constantly beset by the agents of good and evil. It even feels like this production smoothly combines the hard-boiled investigation with the bizarre symbolism, a combination that divided actual production of Twin Peaks...until the big twist, which still breaks my brains (not unlike that part of Lost Highway - you know the one).

 

Caption: 

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

A dark, surreal world where the moon will kill everyone. A hero who can turn back time, but is forced to repeat the same three days over and over to get it right. So, more like Groundhog Day, but with a bizarre setting and ominous storyline. They already have Zelda symphonies, so forget about that proposed Netflix series and put Link on the big screen, already!

 

Caption: 

Kentucky Route Zero

An antiques deliveryman discovers that the only route to his delivery address is a mysterious, haunted road called "Route Zero." From there, it spirals into madness: A mysterious computer simulation, glowing skeletons running a whiskey distillery, and a wooly mammoth. I've heard experts say this was the video game equivalent of a modern-day David Lynch production, and I don't disagree.


Caption: 

Catherine

A man dating a woman named Katherine begins an affair with a woman named Catherine. Sound confusing? The game further hammers home these "One step between method and madness theme" by transitioning back and forth between the character's normal day life and a nightmarish hellscape populated by collapsing staircases and, well, sheep. It seems the perfect setting and plot for an arthouse piece that uses symbolism and tone to convey emotion.

 

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII brought a new dimension of depth to the classic RPG series. Because of its complicated and rich back story, exploring the game is an adventure in discovering the plot in both directions: forward and backward. It starts out with a rebel faction trying to sabotage the operations of an energy conglomerate, and branches out in crazy directions from there.

I feel like this is ripe for a tribute film, even a live action one. Plus, hey, the industry kind of owes us for The Spirits Within.
 

Caption: 

StarCraft

Three species fight for dominance, including an exiled group of humans. See, the protagonists are built right in should Hollywood ever decide to make this classic game into a movie. They'd have to overcome the fact that Blizzard...um..."borrowed" pretty heavily from other properties and some classic sci-fi films, but, hey, necessity is the mother of invention.

Plus it's got intense intergalactic politics, and not in the Revenge of the Sith kind of way. It's more like the best parts of Battlestar Galactica. As I've said so many times: Politics would be vastly improved with laser weaponry.

 

Caption: 

Lost Odyssey

When the main character is 1,000 years old and has no memory of his past, that gives you a lot of backstory to dig up. A seemingly ordinary quest blossoms into bizarre space-time inconsistencies, alternate universes, and invincibility. All this before settling back into a story about nobles and kings in time for a sensible finale. 

 

Caption: 

To the Moon

In the future, we can implant memories. However, the process is so dangerous, it is only allowed on the elderly. From this springs an industry in giving the dying a memory of the life they've always wanted.

However, things get heavy when one patient mysteriously rejects the implanted memories. This leads the characters on a journey to discover exactly what is so special about the reminiscings of an old man.  
 

Caption: 

Xenogears

Another in a long line of Square RPG hits, Xenogears deals with mystery discoveries and characters in a foreign world. This tale brings the concept of "spaceships" to the usually planet-bound worlds of Square. Throw in the rich fantasy storyline the company is known for, and we can easily see this translating into a Hollywood blockbuster.
 

Caption: 

The Last of Us

An "it's not actually a zombie" zombie game, The Last of Us sees a young girl escorted through an apocalyptic wasteland. It feels a lot like Children of Men, except the girl in The Last of Us isn't afraid to fight. The parallels with the great Alfonso Cuarón film don't stop there: The girls in both films likely hold the key to restarting civilization. It's time we added a bit more plot to our zombie-and-other-stuff-like-zombie-soaked sci-fi universe, no?

Caption: 

Grim Fandango

Hollywood, make this under-appreciated classic a film already. In what has been heralded as the best adventure game of all time, an after-death travel agent gets caught up in a mystery plot that just might swallow him whole. The artistic approach is what is best about this game, from the character design to the film noir graphics approach. Throw in the game's humor, and what you have is a production sure to wow moviegoers on all possible levels.
 

Caption: 

Kingdom Hearts

It's already a role-playing game with Disney characters, so make this game series into a feature film, already! It features protagonists exploring various canon Disney Worlds in a battle against evil. Think The Dark Tower series, except with Donald Duck. Plus, it'd be a handy way for Disney to get in on that whole "cinematic universe" trend everybody's all about these days.
 

Dead Space

Let's take a minute or two when we're not debating the merits of Prometheus sequels(or lack thereof), and actually put the horror back into outer space franchises. Dead Space does just that. Combining the most intense elements of space hallucination horror with space monster freakouts, this raises the stakes to a grander stage than just "save the ship and its inhabitants."  

The Longest Journey

This classic point-and-click adventure game (and, to a lesser extent, its sequels) brought to vivid life two worlds - the futuristically sci-fi Stark, and the fantasy kingdom of Arcadia - and positioned a sympathetic protagonist in the form of a young woman with the power to move from one to the other in between them. Full of memorable characters and awe-inspiring imagery, The Longest Journey is the kind of epic quest that makes for great cinema, and it also would allow some creative filmmaker to exploit both the fantasy and tech-driven sci-fi visual palletes. Plus, what a star-making role April Ryan would be.

That's our list! What'd we miss? What games would you like to see made into films? Let us know in the comments!