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Before Twisted Metal Peels Out, Here's the Best Video-Game-to-TV-Series Adaptations
With Twisted Metal heading to Peacock, we assess the other best video games that have been turned into TV series.
Twisted Metal — Peacock's television adaptation of the classic PlayStation demolition derby video game series of the same name — roars onto the streaming service July 27. Starring Anthony Mackie, Stephanie Beatriz and Samoa Joe as Sweet Tooth (with the voice of Will Arnett), Twisted Metal reinvents the vehicular mayhem game by weaving in a post-apocalyptic narrative. At the center of the show's arc is John Doe (Mackie), a chatty milkman with amnesia who is forced to get a mystery package from point A to point B in order to stay alive.
While plenty of video games have gotten adapted as kid-centric animated series, not many have gotten the adult treatment. But the last few years has welcomed more mature interpretations of video games into the episodic medium with excellent results. With Twisted Metal revving up, SYFY WIRE has curated a collection of other video game-to-television adaptations that would be complimentary binge watches for those who enjoy their gaming as much as their binge-watching.
The Best Video Games Adapted for Television
Based on characters and worlds within Riot Game's League of Legends multiplayer online battle arena game, Arcane is truly one of the most original and surprising game-to-series adaptations. Instead of an expected action-centric story, Arcane is entirely character centric. It's narrative focuses on the tragic story of separated sisters, Powder/Jinx (Ella Purnell) and Vi (Hailee Steinfeld). Their arcs are set against the a class struggle between the wealthy and educated in Piltover and the underclass who are forgotten and subjugated in Zaun. Featuring a blistering soundtrack tailored to the episodes, incredible visuals by Fortiche animation studio, and an emotional story from the game architects Christian Linke and Alex Yee, Arcane is a series that improves upon the game by leaps and bounds.
Castlevania (2017- 2021)
Comic book writer Warren Ellis adapted the beloved Japanese video game Castlevania into an adult animated series for Netflix. The series narrative draws heavily on the games Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for its story of human monster hunters out to stop Dracula and his demons. Moody, bursting with excellent mythology and featuring a voice cast to die for, Castlevania became a huge hit and one of the most successful anime projects on the streamer. For anyone who loves the Dracula lore and monsters, this one is a must-watch.
The Cuphead Show (2022 - present)
The Cuphead Show is an old-school style animated comedy series made in the style of classic 1930's King Features Syndicate shorts, and loosely based on the game Cuphead by Studio MDHR. In short adventures, audiences follow the brothers, Cuphead (Tru Valentino) and Mugman (Frank Todaro), in their home of the Inkwell Isles. The brilliant animation style and color palette is the draw of this unique series that takes the adventure segments of the game and expands upon them for more comedic misadventures. For fans of classic animation or slapstick comedy, this series scratches every itch.
Halo (2022 - present)
The granddaddy of X-Box gaming, Halo took a very long time to get adapted to live action. The franchise's first game release was Halo: Combat Evolved in 2001, and it wasn't until 2022 that the Paramount+ series finally debuted. Starring Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief and Natascha McElhone as creator of the Spartan II project, Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Halsey, the series honors the look and mythology of the game, but adds a lot of backstory to the primary characters that the first-person shooter has never been able to provide. Featuring huge action set pieces and impressive visual world-building, with plenty of Easter eggs to the games, Halo the series is an action-adventure that appeals to sci-fi fans and gamers alike.
The Last of Us (2023)
The Last of Us game from Naughty Dog released in 2013 and became an instant classic for its deeply emotional storytelling. In fact, fans were so protective of the game, many didn't want it to be adapted into a film or series for fear it would ruin the narrative. But fear not, because Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann and Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin collaborated on making an adaptation that has turned out to be both a critical and fan hit. Starring Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie, The Last of Us series remixes the game mythology in compelling ways and digs deeper into small game moments that become monumental in the series.
Mortal Kombat: Legacy (2013)
Fans of the ultra-violent fighter game Mortal Kombat have never been satisfied with adaptations around the mythology. It wasn't until Kevin Tancharoen's short film, Mortal Kombat: Rebirth (2010) that fans got something close to what they hoped. Unable to get funding for a theatrical film, Tancharoen got the OK to make this web series and it's the only thing fans of the mythology agree is the best representation of their beloved game. The whole series is available in 19 episodes of live-action fighting magic.
Pokémon the Series (1997 - present)
The most youth-oriented game-to-series adaptation of our bunch, Pokémon the Series makes the cut because it truly is a phenomenon. The games continue to feed the series mythology. Kids love it and then grow up and continue to love it into their adulthoods. Plus, there's the adults who hop on later in life and love it just as much as the younger audiences. The ongoing animated series now boasts a bonkers 1,248+ episodes and there's no signs of stopping. An anime and animation hit, Pokémon the Series has an ongoing stable of critters to tell stories about with their own obsessed fandoms. The series has also been an entry point for so many into the world of anime that it's practically a cultural ambassador.
The Witcher (2019 - present)
The Witcher book series by Andrzej Sapkowski were adapted into games starting in 2007. Over many titles and platforms, The Witcher games have sold over 75 million units worldwide. In turn, series creator Lauren Schmidt Hissrich has sourced all of The Witcher mediums to build the Netflix adaptation of the same name. For three seasons, Henry Cavill has embodied the character Geralt of Rivia to the extreme approval of the dedicated fandom. Equal parts fun and serious, The Witcher series is pure fantasy with a solid budget which makes the monsters and creatures that pop up a positive aspect of the show. A great adventure epic for those who love fantasy.
For the next great game-to-TV-series adaptation, check out all 10 episodes of Twisted Metal when they hit Peacock this Thursday, July 27.