Making a film version of a video game is tricky. Even risky, considering the majority of attempts over the years, such as Super Mario Bros. (1993), Mortal Combat (1995), Alone in the Dark (2005) and Max Payne (2008) failed at expanding the medium. However, us faithful gamers continue to hold out hope that our favorite playable 3D world will be the next to appear on the big screen. Here are seven video games that absolutely should have a film version.
Half-Life (1998) follows Gordon Freeman, a theoretical physicist initially employed by the Black Mesa Research Facility in New Mexico. It is there that Gordon takes part in an experiment to analyze a mysterious crystalline artifact that creates a dimensional rift between Black Mesa and the world of Zen, which is inhabited by an alien race known as the Vortigaunts. Now, in a race against time, Freeman and his fellow scientists must seal the passageway before it’s too late.
Picking up 20 years after the events of the first game, Half-Life 2 (2004) envisions a dystopian version of Earth that is now ruled by the Combine, a multi-dimensional empire consisting of aliens and humans alike. Freeman is relocated to City 17, an unspecified area in Eastern Europe that still features Soviet-style architecture. It is there that our hero joins the resistance, also made up of aliens and humans alike.
6) God of War
The God of War Series (2005-2013), loosely based on Greek mythology, centers around Kratos, a former Spartan warrior who is tricked into murdering his own family. The character should not be confused with the Kratos who helped to bind Prometheus as punishment for instilling fire upon humans. This Kratos frees the famous titan along his violent journey.
After killing Ares, at the behest of Athena, Kratos takes his place as the new god of war. While still haunted by his past, Zeus, the king of the Olympian gods, betrays Kratos, who then seeks vengeance against all who have wronged him. The hero taking on the Greek Gods secures his role as a badass worthy of his own movie.
BioShock (2007) introduces us to the underwater city of Rapture, created by entrepreneur and industrialist, Andrew Ryan, who bears a strong resemblance to Howard Hughes. Meant as a safe haven for those trying to escape the limitations of world imposed by government and religion, Ryan’s dabbling in complete anarchism has gone horribly wrong, as the player soon discovers. BioShock 2 (2010), which digs deeper into the dark history of the city of Rapture, acts as both a sequel and a prequel to the first installment.
Unlike the unnamed heroes in the first two games, the protagonist in BioShock: Infinite (2013) has a name. Booker DeWitt must travel to the city of Columbia to “repay the debt.” Columbia is a city in the sky highly reminiscent of the Columbian Exposition of 1893. It can also be seen as the new face of American exceptionalism in the early 20th century.
With no future installments planned in the near future, BioShock’s unique visual style could give Stanley Kubrick and Terrence Malick a run for their money.
This post-apocalyptic series is set during various points within the 22nd and 23rd centuries, and contains retro-futuristic elements that draw from stereotypical 1950s America. The cultural style is frozen in time due to a nuclear holocaust that occurred presumably between the United States and former Soviet Union.
Beginning with its early installments, the series really came into its own with the release of Fallout 3 (2008), which takes place in our nation’s capital, and Fallout: New Vegas (2010), which takes place in the city of sin.
While Fallout 4 has been confirmed, no official release date has been set. Perhaps in light of the recent tensions between the United States and the Russian Federation, a feature film adaptation could be quite timely.
While they are rarely mentioned throughout the entire anthology, the title comes from the frame narrative that gives insight into the different quests that take place in the magical land Tamriel, a region divided into different providences and diverse ethnic groups plagued by an evil force.
This open world fantasy series, where the player is completely free to roam their environment, began with the release of Arena (1994), which was met with very negative reviews. However, the last three installments in the series, Morrowind (2002), Oblivion (2006) and Skyrim (2011) were all met with critical acclaim.
While there has been no serious talk about a film adaptation, bringing the complex world of Tamriel to the screen could rival that of The Hobbit’s and The Lord of the Ring’s Middle-Earth.
Metal Gear Solid (1998) pits Solid Snake, a member of an elite Special Forces unit, against an army of mercenaries who have taken control of a remote nuclear weapons facility in Alaska, codenamed Shadow Moses. It is there that the new metal gear model REX, a highly developed war machine, is in its final stages.
The Metal Gear saga continued with Sons of Liberty (2001), Snake Eater (2004), Guns of the Patriots (2008) and numerous spin offs, all detailing Snake’s battle with the constantly changing tides of war.
The fifth installment in the series, Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain, which will take place in Afghanistan in the 1980s, is set to be released on September 1, 2015, and in the years following the franchise’s success, creator Hideo Kojima has expressed great interest in producing a film version of the game series, which Columbia Pictures has signed on distribute.
Metal Gear is also famous for its numerous film references, particularly that of the series protagonist being heavily influenced by Kurt Russell’s character Snake Plissken in Escape from New York (1981) and Escape from L.A. (1996).
For nearly 30 years, Link’s different incarnations and perilous journeys to rescue Princess Zelda from the evil Ganon have secured his status as one of the most famous video game characters of all time.
Some of the pointed hat wearing protagonist’s earlier quests include The Legend of Zelda (1986), A Link to the Past (1991) and Ocarina of Time (1998), which is widely regarded by gamers and critics alike as one of the greatest video games all time. Link’s later adventures include Twilight Princess (2006) and Skyward Sword (2011).
With all the different installments, it would be difficult to pick a defining game and base a film on it. For a movie adaptation to stand a fighting chance, it must stay true to Link’s continuous pursuit to rescue the princess and restore balance to the land of Hyrule.
– Anthony Perrotta for The Untitled Magazine