Whilst there are plenty of games that should never be made into movies, there are also more than a few that would work just as well in the cinema as they do on our consoles. Here are ten shining examples of videogames ready for the step over to the silver screen. A few of these are on their way already, and we can but hope that they each avoid the curse of the game-to-movie journey, and instead deliver something that actually lives up to the premise of the game that’s inspired them….
Gears Of War
Epic’s genre redefining third person shooter, populated with neckless behemoths in futuristic suits of armour, wielding chainsaw guns and cracking wise whilst they slaughter their way through a landscape of browns and greys. Gears Of War took action games to the next level and turned a generation of gamers into foul-mouthed multiplayer louts.
Why should it be made into a movie? Explosions and helicopters and characters with all the depth and charisma of blunt objects, Gears Of War already has all the ingredients in place to make a rollicking good popcorn-fuelled action flick. Sign Michael Bay up right now (although at the moment, Die Hard 4.0 and Underworld‘s Len Wiseman is attached to the proposed film), get Terry Tate to reprise his role as the Cole Train, spend a few million on makeup and special effects to get the Locust looking mean and scaly and you’re onto a sure fire winner. As a final touch, any cinema showing the film would have to douse the floor in testosterone, for that authentic sweaty beefcake smell.
The Legend Of Zelda
Miyamoto’s opus has been wowing gamers since its first outing on the NES, with each new release greeted with the same clamour and excitement as the last. The story of a boy in green, with a sword, a shield and a boomerang, saving the same Princess over and over again has been captivating audiences for more than twenty years.
Why should it be made into a movie? The story at the heart of pretty much every Zelda game, ignoring the odd time travel/tree saving/mask wearing sub plot, has been the same, and it’s a story that films have been telling since day one: bad guy kidnaps girl, good guy saves girl. I know that’s simplifying matters, but you get the point. The heart of the story’s already in place, as is the basic universe that the filmmakers have to work with. And, unlike Ico, the story of Zelda and Link isn’t one that’s reliant on the player, it’s a story that keeps being retold. Why not tell it as a movie?
Geometry Wars 2: Retro Evolved
A retina shreddingly brilliant old school high score shooter, coupling a retro aesthetic with some HD flourishes and highly addictive multiplayer, Geometry Wars 2 set the standard for Live Arcade titles with its frenetic ‘just one more go’ gameplay.
Why should it be made into a movie? Now, I know what you’re thinking, Geometry Wars isn’t what you’d call an obvious choice for the Hollywood makeover treatment, but bear with me here. Essentially, the game pits a lone pilot against a never-ending army of uniform shapes, and those are the kind of odds that blockbusters thrive on. Luke and the rebels against the massive, evil Empire; Butch and Sundance against the entire Mexican army; Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck against a big earthbound rock. Why not add white spaceship versus infinite blue squares to that illustrious list? Getting JJ Abrams to direct will give the project some street cred, give Microsoft’s new best friend, Steven Spielberg, an Executive Produce credit to add a bit of gravitas and you can almost hear the ‘ca-ching’ of cash registers already.
This revolutionary, but flawed, free running FPS, stars a believably shaped female lead who spends more time scrambling across walls and leaping off the tops of buildings than pumping bad guys full of lead. Broken and massively frustrating in places, when DICE’s game does get it right it delivers an adrenaline rush that few others are capable of.
Why should it be made into a movie? The striking visuals will translate perfectly onto the big screen, and the main theme, of government oppression in the name of utopia, is certainly one that resonates. Shift the focus from a single runner to a group of counter cultural athletes, fix down a nemesis and give the whole thing a little more scope than the game. Tie down a director with a bit of pedigree and everything’s looking peachy; so long as the Hackers pitfall, where Hollywood turns any sort of youth culture it doesn’t really understand into a pseudo surfer catchphrase spouting abomination, is well and truly avoided.
God Of War
Sony’s literally epic Greek hack and slash-a-thon may have taken its cues from earlier games, but the sheer visceral thrill that it delivers makes all others pale in comparison. Breathtaking boss battles, slick and delicious violence and an iconic main character make this blast from the ancient past a must play.
Why should it be made into a film?GOW has all the ingredients in place to revolutionise the sword and sandals genre that was briefly revived at the turn of the century by Ridley Scott’s amazing Gladiator. Taking a leap from the literal to the fantastic, the tale of one man’s unquenchable thirst for revenge against the Gods is ripe for a cinematic transfer. Imagine Clash Of The Titans but with more arterial spray and twitching, severed limbs. Or Death Wish, but with more sand. Go for a modernised Harryhausen look, possibly with a Fincher twist, and the dark demons of Kratos’ bloodstained soul would come alive for all to see.
Incidentally, one proposed movie version has already fallen through, with Brett Ratner reportedly interested at one point, so here’s hoping a second attempt can bring God Of War to the big screen…
LucasArts’ seminal point and click adventure series that introduced the world to Guybrush Threepwood, the undead pirate LeChuck and the age old practice of insult sword fighting. A recent HD-ified download only re-release of the original as well as a new five part, episodic story created by Telltale Games prove that Monkey Island still holds an allure for modern gamers.
Why should it be made into a film? Well, Pirates Of The Caribbean was based on a theme park ride, and that did pretty damn well at the box office. Why not give Guybrush his own motion picture in which to shine. The laugh out loud, knockabout humour of the game would work just as well as a movie, like a sillier Princess Bride with more beards. Someone like Edgar Wright at the helm would make sure that it didn’t start taking itself too seriously, and as long as the irreverent, occasionally bonkers feel of the game is kept alive, then I’m all for Hollywood setting sail to Monkey Island.
Left 4 Dead
Valve’s co-op zombie apocalypse simulator may appear to be a simple FPS at first look, but it’s easily the tensest video game experience available, with the ingenious AI director making every play through different. The ability to play as super zombies is the cherry on top of a festering cake of undead slaughter.
Why should it be made into a film? Let’s be honest, we haven’t had a great mainstream zombie film for an awfully long time; there have been some valiant efforts, but none of them were quite right, never sure where they should be concentrating. The focus in a Left 4 Dead movie, however, would fall squarely on the titular 4, be they the survivors from the game or some new characters, allowing the producers to create something akin to Cloverfield, but with a whole horde of insanely violent monsters instead of one giant, freakish monkey bat thing. Anyone involved with the ridiculous Resident Evil films should be kept away from the set with cattle prods and mustard gas.
Lionhead’s action RPG allows you to build your hero from troubled tween to pot bellied, heavily tattooed ruffian, stopping off to get married a couple of times on the way. Whilst it may not have been equal to some of Peter Molyneux’s boasts, Fable 2 is still a massively enjoyable romp.
Why should it be made into a film?Fable and its sequel showed us only the tiniest glimpse of the world in which they were set; and yet for all the moral choices and interesting characters, Albion was the real star of the show. The tales told by the video games were little snippets, parts of a greater whole that a movie could add to. A direct remake wouldn’t work, the games are just too big, but something set in the same universe, with the same unique sense of humour and fun, and the same intelligent use of an epic story, would work wonderfully. A different, grimier sort of fantasy than Lord Of The Rings, with a decidedly British aesthetic and a wry twinkle in its eye. Terry Gilliam should be allowed to work his magic, and let his imagination run wild.
Rainbow Six: Vegas
Ubisoft’s tactical shooter, set amidst the casinos of Las Vegas, mixed an iconic location with all the thoughtful, quick fire action that we’ve come to expect from the series. Clinical in its execution and full of exciting and useful gadgets, excellent multiplayer finished off the package nicely.
Why should it be made into a film? Tom Clancy’s name has been missing from the big screen for a while now, partially due to being usurped by upstarts like Jason Bourne, partially because of the snooze fest that was The Sum of All Fears. Perhaps it’s time that one of Mr. Clancy’s successful video game franchises made the switch, and what better than this (after all, the source novel is already being made into a film)? Tales of evil terrorists taking over major American cities always go down well, and Clancy’s unique blend of conspiracy, patriotism and action has worked countless times before. Something like Die Hard meets 24 via the medium of Enemy Of The State with a more militaristic feel would do nicely.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
Naughty Dog’s treasure seeking shoot ’em up took the age old Tomb Raider template and revised it for the new generation, upping the action content and spanning the continents with its globe trotting story of Francis Drake’s search for El Dorado.
Why should it be made into a film? Whether you loved or hated Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, you have to admit that Harrison Ford isn’t getting any younger, and the pretenders to his archaeological bar brawling crown are hardly thick on the ground. The grittier, darker, more up-to-date Drake could fill Indie’s boots nicely, reinvigorating the genre in the same way the Bourne films changed the spy thriller for the better. The story’s pretty much in place, as are a likeable and believable cast of supporting characters. All that’s required are a will, a way, and a hefty budget.
And someone agrees with us: an option for a movie has been taken out, although that’s about as far as the project has got to date…