Ok, Hollywood, you’ve had your chance. Again and again you wonder where your next big cash cow will be, and again and again you overlook the most obvious source sitting right under your collective noses. The comic book teat will run dry eventually, and where will you go for your billion dollar adaptions then? Books? Please. Save those adaptations for the art houses.
So, Hollywood, let’s talk about video games. Sure, you haven’t had much luck with them so far, but whose fault is that? Nintendo didn’t make the Super Mario Bros. movie, they just licensed it. Uwe Boll is your fault. Stop letting him get what we can’t help but imagine are his overly large and sweaty hands on franchises we love. Stop it!
So we had a novel idea. Take another look at a handful of games that had a good story and setting, and then make a good movie out of them. None of this “well, sure, the main character is a battle hardened bounty hunter, but what if we made her into an unrealistically beautiful high schooler looking for a date to the prom” crap. Stick to what made the game memorable.
In fact, here’s what you do. Give us a call, throw a few million bucks at us, and we’ll take care of the rest (minus, you know, the filming, casting, production, and anything to do with the actual movie making process). It will only take one successful gaming adaptation, and then you watch as the flood gates open. Here are some properties that you could make into films right away, along with a few ideas on how you could do it. We’re watching you, Hollywood.
Imagine if Ayn Rand had billions of dollars, was an engineering genius, and was a man named Andrew Ryan. Now imagine that guy built an art deco city deep underwater where anything goes. Then imagine introducing a powerful and addictive substance that gave people fantastic abilities, but at a horrible cost. Toss in a Civil War between damaged citizens with incredible powers and shake, and you have the setting of BioShock.
The movie would begin in 1960 as a plane crashes near a solitary lighthouse in the middle of nowhere. The survivors find an elevator that takes them deep underwater to the city of Rapture. They would already know something about the city, otherwise you’d waste a ton of time trying to explain things. The protagonist would also need a bit of military training, otherwise he’d be like a baby fighting Mike Tyson when the Big Daddys arrive.
As Ryan and his rival Fontaine continue their ruinous Civil War, the protagonist and his team make their way to the engine rooms to find out what makes the city tick and to stop the power-giving substance ADAM from hitting the surface. People unraveling the mystery of an underwater city that is a battleground for superpowerd psychos? That’s gold right there.
Just imagine the first moment in a dark section of the city when the audience hears heavy footsteps and a weird, chilling, almost whale-like call. Then you slowly see the hulking figure of a Big Daddy emerge from the darkness. It calmly surveys the room with benevolent green eyes, then turns and sees the protagonists who had tried to befriend what looked like a lost little girl. Then its eyes turn red. It screams a unnatural sound, then charges with a giant drill. And now you have your ComicCon teaser to boot.
Hollywood, if you try to make Castlevania into a horror film, we’re breaking up. Sure, it’s tempting, but the horror angle would be stupid. This is an adventure story with the main character, Simon Belmont, being Batman with a whip. He’s not afraid of zombies, he will judo chop them in the face and then laugh about it.
Here’s your set up: Deep in the forests of Eastern Europe, once every one hundred years, a castle suddenly appears. The locals are either killed or turned into something monstrous, and no one knows what is happening – except one man with a bad ass whip. Sticking him in a dark castle the whole time would be dull though. Instead, he could travel Europe looking for pieces of Dracula (copyright permitting). The pieces would need to be brought together to completely destroy and send Dracula packing for good. Yeah, it’s not the most logical of stories, but that hasn’t made Michael Bay’s billions any less green.
The action should be fast and kinetic like in The Raid: Redemption, and the monsters should be smart rather than just an army of screaming idiots with sharp teeth. Someone may even make a game of the movie based on the game. It would probably suck, but it would be interesting to see.
This one pretty much sells itself. It’s Blade Runner for a new generation. Boom.
Deus Ex is all about conspiracies. Set in a cyberpunk world of the near future variety, where cyborgs are all the rage and people are swapping their lame human bits for arms that can punch through walls and legs that can kick a goddamn elephant so hard it would shatter.
The protagonist would be from the recent prequel rather than the original. His name is Adam Jensen, and he’s a security chief at one of the mega-corporations that sort of rule the world (social commentary!). After a bomb takes most of his fleshy parts and kills a bunch of others, he begins to use his new, aerodynamic head to hunt down who dunnit.
His investigation leads him to a group of cyborgs posing as revolutionaries and anarchists, but they are part of a bigger conspiracy that will change the world… (Details to follow after the check clears.)
Picture this: the film opens with the Jensen looking at his robotic fingers holding a cigarette. He keeps moving them to see how they respond. The room is dark, but the ambient light from the city is bright. The camera pulls back to show two futuristic cities, one on top of the other, connected by massive pillars. Flying cars speed by as Jensen walks to the window, showing his cyborg parts juxtaposed against what’s left of his human body. Then the logo. A new film franchise is born.
Look, we’ll make this easy on you, Holly. This game is itself a parody of the over-the-top action films of the 80s. And not the popular ones that survive as fun, nostalgia drenched films like Schwarzenegger’s library (except Conan: The Barbarian, that was bad ass in any decade), but the really bad ones. The ones where the synthesizers dominate and the camera quality was bad even by 80s standards.
You begin with the same tropes of all bad 80s action movie: a gruff, ultra-macho hero with an impossibly awesome name like Rex Cole, sent into stop a rogue Colonel who threatens the world with nukes. You and your poor, doomed partner who is just days away from going home to his wife and daughter for good find that the resistance is more intense than you thought. Throw in dinosaurs for no real reason, beautiful female scientists with names like Dr. Darling (sporting insanely high shoulder pads), and the film writes itself.
This film would be ultra-violent, as the hero goes on several bloody rampages, all the while cracking bad one liners and firing several hundred shots from a relatively small gun magazine. Picture this: Rex Cole enters an enemy’s lab, then just goes berserk in the most over the top way possible. Think Lancelot in Monty Python and the Holy Grail as he murders his way through a wedding party, crossed with Brock Sampson from The Venture Bros. and you have Blood Dragon. Just don’t forget the fluorescent colors.
Dammit, Hollywood, you’ve already blown this once. You had all the pieces in place. Peter Jackson was lined up to produce, and up and comer Neil Blomkamp was set to take the director’s seat. Hell, both Jackson and Blomkamp were excited to take over the Halo universe, especially Blomkamp who went so far as to film his own mini-movie set in the Halo universe. Then it all came crashing down. There was even another guy interested in the property who goes by the name Steven Spielberg. You may have heard of him.
Here’s the deal. Halo is ideally suited for a trilogy. After that, you could even launch another trilogy. There’s precedent. Here’s how we’d break it up:
Anyone not think that would be awesome? Why is this so damn hard for you, Hollywood? Huh?!
A group of Spartan super soldiers are holding out, led by John-117, aka Master Chief. The games have continued to increase the physical stature of the Spartans from big, tough soldiers to 8 foot tall monsters weighing 400 lbs, powerful enough to beat up a gorilla. Let’s aim more for Captain America-ish.
Halfway through the fall of Reach, the Covenant command carrier would mysteriously begin to leave. Not liking mysteries, the Spartans head into orbit to blow it up. This leads to what will be an iconic moment in the franchise, one that kids will re-enact for years. Actions figures based on this one scene alone will be hot sellers (we can talk merchandising rights later)..
The Covenant have boarded the UNSC’s command ship and left a bomb. Master Chief gets to it and asks for permission to leave the ship. The confused captain asks why. Master Chief replies “To give the Covenant back their bomb.” The audience would freak out.
After keeping his word, Master Chief could find out where the Covenant ship was going before blowing it all to hell. He and a group take a single ship to the location and discover a habitable ring in space that they dub… wait for it… the halo! The Covenant arrive and both sides discover the Flood, an even worse race of monsters. The first film would end with the destruction of the Halo.
The second film would be the battle for Earth, and end with the Chief personally killing most of the leaders of the Covenant. The third film would be the remaining Covenant and humans teaming up to stop the Flood and prevent a rogue Covenant leader from wiping out all life.
Anyone not think that would be awesome? Why is this so damn hard for you, Hollywood? Huh?!
Nintendo doesn’t have the best name when it comes to movies based on games, and that’s saying a lot when you look at the competition. But this one is pure gold right here.
What we’re talking about here is a four movie series. They would each star the same trio for Link, Zelda, and Gannon, but everyone else could be new. The first film would be based on the original game and essentially be a fairy tale of a kid from the forest meeting a weird old guy in a cave that wants the kid to take his sword. But not in a creepy way. Maybe we can recast that as a woman.
Link then skedaddles off to rescue the Princess Zelda. Zelda would be kind of a bad ass herself, so the majority of the film she would be on the run. Gannon could blackmail her by threatening her people or something so she isn’t a weak female character. There are more than enough of those in gaming already, unfortunately. And women buy movie tickets too.
So Link eventually overcomes monsters and magic to face Gannon, but something weird happens with the magic Gannon is using. That’s something for later though. Link beats Gannon and he and the Princess go off to make many babies.
The next film would be based on the game The Wind Waker, and be set hundreds of years later in a Hyrule covered by water. The name “Link” has become a title given to the best of the best, and the new Link (played by the same actor) goes off adventuring with a pirate that is actually Zelda in disguise (twist!). The two are looking for a way to restore the land. Gannon returns and is revealed to be immortal. He’s weirded out by Link and Zelda being the same and doesn’t know why, and he gets beat again.
The third film would be based on A Link to the Past and feature the normal Hyrule, and second world that was a dark reflecton of the original. After his dad is killed, the protagonist takes the name Link and this time fights Zelda, who it turns out created the dark world to trap the immortal Gannon (double twist!). Link and Zelda work things out and stop Gannon, but not permanently, so Zelda begins making a tool called the Ocarina.
In the fourth and final film, it is revealed that the magic the original Link messed with cursed Link and Zelda to be reborn each time Gannon returned. The new Link is the toughest yet, and the Ocarina he receives lets him travel back and meet the other three Links as he gathers intel on how to finally beat Gannon for good.
That’s how it’s done, Holly. And Nintendo, no need to thank us, just send money.
If you can’t adapt this series, then you should diminish into the West. Maybe TV can handle it. It’s basically a movie already, just a really, really long one. It would be like Star Wars for a new generation before Lucas screwed it all up. Actually, it’s really nothing like Star Wars, but since most Hollywood execs hear “space epic” and think Star Wars anyway, what the hell.
The story follows Commander Shepard, who could be played by either a man or a woman (ironically it would take balls to cast a female protagonist, but it could easily be done). After Earth stumbles into the stars thanks to scoring some sweet alien tech, we almost immediately get into a war. Things get settled eventually, but our rep in the galaxy is that we’re a bunch of idiots, and for decades we sit at the galactic kiddie table. So when Shepard proves to be cool enough to be considered as a Spectre – agents that answer only to the most powerful governmental organization in the galaxy – it turns heads.
Her/his first mission uncovers a traitor in the Spectre ranks. The guy is is revealed to be a pawn of the Reapers, an ancient machine race that live in the empty spots between the galaxies, waiting to return to cull all advanced organic species. Basically, we’re boned.
Shepard confronts the almost god-like Reapers and shows them the old human what for, but not before it can tell its brethren that it’s dinner time. The second film would be the Empire Strikes Back episode, as Shepard keeps having problems uniting the races, and another powerful group known as Cerberus keeps interfering in the name of putting humanity first. Shepard defeats another Reaper, but at the end the Reaper fleet arrives. The third film is the big payoff with the Reapers attacking major worlds, including Earth, and winning. Shepard would then unite all the races for a final battle at Earth, all leading to a shocking finale. And if fans don’t like that ending, we can just reshoot it for the Director’s Cut.
Spies are still hot, right? Those Bourne films seem to do alright. Old Jimmy Bond is still kicking ass and taking names at the ripe old age of 50. Tom Cruise is riding the JJ Abrams bandwagon to millions with Mission Impossible. So why not Solid Snake?
The story of Metal Gear is a bit… well, convoluted is a nice way to say it. It is insanely long, and over the course of the games that span a good 60 years or so, it has gotten really complex. We could trim that down and focus on the main character doing what he does best: sneaking, but furiously.
The franchise potential is there, but the first film would be stand alone and be set in a remote military base in Alaska that was recently taken over by a band of colorful and bizarre terrorists threatening to steal the base’s nukes. The first scene would be of the snow covered base and the icy waters surrounding it, and under those waters a man in a high tech suit and scuba gear cuts his way through the defenses to emerge in a quiet corner of the base.
Snake is a sneaky bastard and he can infiltrate the hell out of a base, but there is more going on than he knows. The nukes are a red herring, and the real goal is an ultimate weapon known as Metal Gear, naturally. But even with the sneaking, that doesn’t mean you’d want to ignore the sniper battle in the snow covered forest against the buxom beauty Sniper Wolf, or cut out the weird Russian guy that goes by the name Revolver Ocelot and likes to shoot people with six shooters. And Snake would need to hide in a box at least once. We’d go ahead and cut Raiden out of the series though, unless we could focus on his tragic change from whiny spy to bad ass cyborg.
Got a secret for you, Hollywood. And Gaming Industry, you might want to listen in too. Here it is: women buy stuff too. Shocking, right? So maybe, just maybe, we could work on at least one film with a definite female lead (unlike Mass Effect). Trust us, it could be huge. And no, that is not what she said. How dare you for even thinking that.
Deep in space on a dark and forgotten planet, something is stirring. After a raid on a Galactic Federation facility to steal a mysterious creature known as a Metroid, a lone bounty hunter is tasked with tracking down the Space Pirates responsible. Alone and outgunned, Samus Aran lands on the planet Zebes and begins to investigate with only her AI companion (you need someone for her to talk to for exposition purposes. Unless she was totally crazy, which would be a bold choice).
The story would be similar in tone to Aliens, with an entire planet of creatures looking to kill and possibly eat the protagonist, but the difference being that Samus is more of a bad ass than they are, so she basically wins. In fact, maybe Pitch Black would be a better comparison as Samus fights her way into the heart of the planet to face Mother Brain.
The further into the planet she gets, the more she realizes that this was no ordinary robbery. The Metroids are actually an intelligence on their own right, and they control the Space Pirates. Samus is left with no other choice but the “America” option to destroy the whole damn planet, which she does in a fiery climax. That’s two for two, Nintendo. Let’s do this (call us).
Holly, we gotta talk. If ever there were a ready-made subject for a blockbuster frachise, it would be street racing. And let’s not kid ourselves here, the Fast and Furious films have never been about street racing. The first and the third had a touch of it, but the last film had two muscle cars dragging a metal vault that was heavy enough to rip through buildings through the streets of Rio. It’s like physics killed the screenwriters’ parents, and these films are payback.
This could really be any street racing game, but Midnight Club is a cooler name than Burnout or Need for Speed (which is already going to be a movie anyway). It’s really just about having one single, good street racing film. Just make a film about a bunch of cool races done by colorful characters. Trust us, it’ll work.
How about this: The protagonist is a driver for hire, working with a gang robbing a bank when things go wrong. One of the gang members is hit, but they all get away. The wounded man is dying. The rest of the gang doesn’t know what to do and leaves him with the driver. The driver takes him to the hospital, knowing they will both be arrested.
You do this to escape all the dumb tropes of these types of movies. There’s no “undercover cop” torn with guilt, and no “damsel in distress” who can only be saved by winning the big race. The driver saves a dude’s life, and in return is set up with money and an entrance into the street racing scene. That’s as far as that goes. The rest of the film is about the racer trying to win. Throw in a crazy Saudi Prince with money to burn and make it into a global competition. Tie it all together by the races being broadcast on a private website called “Midnight Club.” Boom, done. You have fast cars, beautiful women (a prerequisite), and maybe toss in a love story to make everyone happy. Done and done.
Holly, you bandied about the idea of making this into a film a few years ago starring Brad Pitt, but that went nowhere. Why the hell not? The game is basically one long playable movie to begin with anyway. Just go one step more. Besides, this should be an easy sell.
Westerns still have a lot of potential – Django Unchained and True Grit proved that – but no one is really focusing on them. Like those other recent Westerns, Red Dead Redemption could be more than just a good gaming adaption, it could become Oscar worthy! The Academy loves Westerns, and this one would blow their freaking minds.
John Marston is a rancher, a father, a husband, and an outlaw. Despite trying to put his past behind him, in the year 1911 his violent history catches up with him when the U.S. government arrests his wife and son and blackmails John into service to hunt down his former compatriots, who left him for dead. His search takes him throughout Texas and Mexico, and he crosses paths with a cast of colorful characters trying to keep up with the times. It even has a surprising ending.
This one has it all. It is a revenge story, it is a bounty hunter story. It’s the story of a family man, and the story of an outlaw trying to do right. It’s a tale of redemption and love, and blood and bullets. It even has humor and deeper meaning as the Old West is being swallowed by the new. Let’s do this, Hollywood!
So what do you think of our list? Any movies form games you’d like to see made? Think any of our takes wouldn’t work? Sound off below!