So many to choose from, but so little time.
Whenever a video game or video game franchise gets adapted into a film we as gamers tend to cringe in fear of the most likely failure of the adaptation. Everything from Double Dragon to the Uwe Boll saga makes most gamers skeptical going forward. I mean, with 1995’s Mortal Kombat as the highest rated video game film you would be skeptical too. So here are our picks for video game franchises we’d like to see on the silver screen or as television series.
Allan Muir – Managing Editor and Xbox Stalwart
Fallout Anthology Television Series ‘
This is a very big reach for me but I’ve already planned out how it would work as an anthology television series aimed at those who enjoy dark humor rather than the planned Fallout movie the treatment of which you can find here. As we all know Fallout is set in the post-apocalyptic future of what people in the 1950s assumed the future would look like. The timeline between the Fallout universe and ours diverges post-WWII. After this things started to go downhill until ultimately reaching a boiling point in 2077 when nuclear fire rained from the sky over the course of two-three hours.
Those who didn’t lose their lives during what was dubbed “The Great War” between America and China were either turned into Ghouls, hid underground, or didn’t even come into contact with the nuclear fallout as a result of the underground Vaults created by Vault-Tec. “A Brighter Future, Underground” which was the tagline for the vaults. In the early 22nd century you are on the West Coast in Vault 13 when you are sent on a mission into the wasteland by the Overseer to find a replacement water chip for the Vault. Without a replacement the residents of Vault 13 will die of dehydration. I covered this in my Video Game Story Time: Fallout which you can find here.
Now, let us flash-forward further into the late 23rd century to around 2277 for the time of Fallout 3. You are raised in Vault 101 and on your nineteenth birthday you are shocked when your father leaves the Vault and chaos is running wild brother. You have no choice but to fight your way out of the Vault bent on discovering the fate of a father who had once sacrificed the future of humanity for that of his only child. You would encounter many tragedies in your time out of the Vault and this is where my idea would come in. Instead of being the “Lone Wanderer”, the “Courier”, or even the “Sole Survivor” you would be a mercenary who, for entertainment sake would be a “Max Rockatansky” or “Father” type of survivor from Mad Max and The Road respectively. Instead of exploring the world killing the bad guys or everyone if you are that type of player, the main character would be exploring the remnants of Vaults and the tragedies that occured in them. This could be either holotapes being played on a computer with the lead inserting the holotape in and it would transition to what is happening centuries ago in the Vaults.
I’ll give an example of the stories that could be told and one that would be a good example is the Election system in Vault 11. The social experiment with this Vault was that one person was to be sacrificed of the Vault’s population and this person would effectively be elected to death. Long story short, there was a massive civil war within the Vault and at the end there were only five survivors. You see, the entire time people were fighting each other out of fear of being chosen to be exterminated only had to do one thing and they would have been safe for good: refuse. When you enter Vault 11 you see some skeletons on the floor along with a holotape and the five survivors decided to take their lives. It can be left open-ended as there are only four skeletons on the ground meaning the fifth survivor left the Vault and disappeared into the Mojave Wasteland.
Josh Miller – The Backbone
Shadow of the Colossus Anime
Despite the rumored movie that was supposed to be developed at some point in the past; I always felt that Shadow of the Colossus would best be suited for an anime adaptation if it branched out of its video game origin. Not only does the boss format work within the typical anime season structure of 26 or so episodes, but the anime style (especially during action sequences) could pull off the design of Shadow of the Colossus better than any regular cartoon or live tv/movie could ever dream of doing.
So for instance, assuming we have the 26 episode season format, there is enough for each of the 16 colossi to have at least one episode devoted to them. Some are more epic in scale from the others, so it’s possible they could bleed into another episode. The last two episodes would clearly be for the fallout of murdering these colossi (which I’ll refrain from spoiling) giving eight episodes for some of the more narrative parts of the story along with traversing the land to reach the giants.
Anyone familiar with anime is aware of how amazing the animation can be. From the beautiful lands as Wander rides his horse Agro to the reactions of the colossi being shanked and fighting back; anime is a perfect fit to showcase the best moments in Shadow of the Colossus. Soaring over the desert on Phalanx alone would be an amazing visual masterpiece let alone the atmospheric dread that Malus would create. The stylistic wonder that anime can provide would make these moments as impactful as the game itself while providing a fluidity that the games never could.
I know this may not be a popular choice as some would feel the integrity of the plot and lore would be ruined by adding more. However, thanks to anime, an OVA could be made shortening the entire series into a shorter experience and making it more true to the original vision. Whatever the choice, I still wouldn’t change my opinion that anime would be the best choice for a screen adaptation and even add to Shadow of the Colossus in many measures.
Graydon Webb – The Contrarian American
Saints Row Television Series/Movie
We all know the spirit of Saints Row. What began as a comic spoof of Grand Theft Auto has developed into something all its own, over the years. While at its core the series is about warring gangs with an affinity for sex, violence, and witty quips in the heat of battle, the Saints have evolved into much more, with space, hell, and live TV game shows being just a few locales the crew frequents. All this being said, there’s a lot to unpack with the suggestion of adapting the Saints Row franchise into a live-action project.
Instantly my mind went to Saints Row when I heard about this piece. Actually, it went to Assassin’s Creed, but I’ve come to understand that no one can truly handle that franchise but the writers at Ubisoft, so I’ll leave it on the back burner for now. As for Saints Row, well, this seemed like a no-brainer. First off, consider the series’ eccentric cast of characters. From Johnny Gat, Pierce, and Shaundi, to Julius, Zinyak, and Professor Genki, the list goes on and on as to who could be represented in a live-action format. To be fair, the unnamed protagonist could be hard to portray through a camera lens, but I feel that’s an issue every video game adaptation has to take into account. It’s difficult to connect to an onscreen character like you do while playing a video game, but… just make him Nathan Fillion, or something. Everyone loves that guy.
Now as for where to put these characters, the need arises to compare a television series to a film. There are many opinion pieces on the internet that explain, in great detail, why video game adaptations in particular are better suited to the television format. This is why the Castlevania anime has been so well-received and the Witcher show isn’t being heavily criticized just yet. With television, a story can be told on a greater scale. With the presentation of at least 10 hour-long episodes, a video game’s runtime can be better justified with its story having more of an effect on the audience. It’s for this reason that I feel a Saints Row series in the form of Breaking Bad or The Wire could be an absolute blast. Every episode would have a decent amount of action, a sizable sense of scope, and a comedic tone sprinkled throughout to really drive the point home that this is Saints Row in its purest form. I think this would be the best way to go.
On the other hand, however, Hollywood might just take control – as it already has with F. Gary Gray’s announced project – and try to make a movie out of Saints Row. While it may seem doomed to fail, all is not lost with the possibility of a Saints film. While it would be forced to focus on a compact plot with a select group of characters and most likely a single antagonist (think of the first Saints Row game), if handled with care and dedication to the source material, this could go well. The trick is to blend comedy with action in a perfect balance. I’m thinking…Taika Waititi’s Fast and Furious. Sounds preposterous, no? Good! That’s Saints Row!
Us fans don’t want to see a Grand Theft Auto movie with the Saints brand attached to it. We don’t want some gritty movie about gang warfare. We want comedy, action, drugs, sex, and a bangin’ soundtrack with as many Hall & Oates tracks as you can obtain the rights to. Fuck it, buy the whole backlog for this beauty. Essentially, if filmmakers give Saints Row the attention it deserves, and see it as more than either just a comedy or just a violent video game? Well, they’d strike a perfect chord that’ll help revitalize this regrettably dormant franchise on the big screen.