5 Video Games That Deserve Movie Adaptations

For the longest time, it seemed like live-action video game adaptations just weren’t meant to be. Cursed with bad dialogue, illogical plots, and a general disregard for the source material, video game movies were a genre that audiences actively avoided. Thankfully, those days seem to be over. Filmmakers and showrunners finally seem to have broken the so-called “video game adaptation curse.” Just last year, we had some great video game-based movies like Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves and The Super Mario Bros. Movie. On the TV front, The Last of Us was one of the biggest shows of 2023 and went on to win eight Emmys!

And suddenly, it’s like every day there’s news about another video game getting the movie or TV treatment. A Death Stranding movie is officially in the works at A24. Chad Stahelski, the director behind the John Wick movies, is working on a Ghost of Tsushima adaptation. And there’s even a God of War TV show in development at Amazon. To fuel the hype train, here are our picks for five games that we believe would make fantastic film or TV adaptations.

1. Detroit: Become Human

Detroit Become Human

Detroit: Become Human is set in a dystopian future where humans and androids live together. The androids speak, move, and behave just like humans, but they’re programmed to serve their masters. They’ve become the lifeblood of society, serving as laborers, janitors, taxi drivers, receptionists, sex workers, and even relationship partners! However, this dependence means that jobs are scarce, and the entire socioeconomic order is on the brink of collapse.

The game puts you in the shoes of three different androids: Kara, Marcus, and Connor. Each has their own story, but they’re all connected. As androids start gaining consciousness, they demand freedom and the right to exist as equals, and the story culminates in an all-out civil war between humans and androids.

Detroit: Become Human is basically a movie already. It’s shot cinematically with minimal gameplay, and the story is packed with shocking twists, emotional drama, and action set pieces that feel straight out of a summer blockbuster. Moreover, the themes of identity, free will, and what it means to be human are right in line with today’s AI discussions, which is why it is our #1 pick on the list.

Watch the Detroit: Become Human Trailer on YouTube

2. Life is Strange

life is tstrange

At #2 we have Life is Strange, which tells the story of Max Caulfield, your typical college student navigating the ups and downs of campus life. But one day, out of the blue, Max discovers she can rewind time. Suddenly, what seems like a generic teen drama plot takes a wild sci-fi turn, with Max using her newfound powers to solve the mystery of a missing student named Rachel.

Life is Strange masterfully tackles mind-bending sci-fi concepts like time travel and the butterfly effect, all while telling a powerful story about bullying, friendship, family, and the fact sometimes you just can’t save everyone, even if you have the power to rewind time. And with the game already split into five episodic chapters, it’s practically begging for a TV adaptation. Imagine a teen drama show in the vein of 13 Reasons Why or Euphoria but with a time-traveling twist; Life is Strange is a recipe for a must-watch series just waiting to happen!

Watch the Life is Strange Trailer on YouTube

3. Alan Wake II

Alan Wake II

Out of all the games on this list, Alan Wake II is probably the hardest to describe. Is it a metafictional thought experiment? A horror story? A slow-burn detective thriller? Probably all three. Alan Wake II puts you into the shoes of Saga Anderson, an FBI agent investigating a series of ritualistic murders that feel straight out of True Detective. But then, things take a weird turn when Saga starts finding pages describing the very events happening around her, almost as if someone’s scripting her reality.

This brings us to Alan Wake, a writer stuck in another dimension for 13 long years. He’s trying to break free by writing a horror story about an FBI agent named Saga. The whole concept is mind-boggling. You’ll be playing the game, and suddenly, Alan decides he doesn’t like where the story’s heading. So, he starts rewriting the scene, and the entire environment will change right before your eyes.

Plus, Alan Wake II is littered with live-action cutscenes. Fans have been calling it the “Movie-Game of the Year,” and we totally see why. That’s why it’s our #3 pick for this list. Imagine a murder mystery TV show with a True Detective vibe but with Alan Wake pulling the strings as the narrator. Throughout the series, he keeps altering reality, kind of like Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) in the early episodes of WandaVision. And then, in the later episodes, we meet Alan, and it turns out he’s not just a narrator; he’s a character in the show who’s been orchestrating the whole thing!

Watch the Alan Wake II Trailer on YouTube

4. Watch Dogs

Watch Dogs

The Watch Dogs games might not be known for their intricate plots, but one element screams big-budget action thriller: DedSec. In the games, DedSec is a group of hacker activists operating in the shadows, kind of like the real-life Anonymous. These guys can hack into just about anything — phones, cameras, traffic lights, self-driving cars, you name it. A Watch Dogs movie based on DedSec’s exploits could make for a great cyberpunk thriller. It could be a Mr. Robot-inspired story where DedSec tries to expose a massive government conspiracy, or it could go the route of David Fincher’s The Killer, with a hacker protagonist tearing through a kill list. The possibilities are endless.

Watch the Watch Dogs Trailer on YouTube

5. Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain has earned its reputation for having one of the best stories in gaming, and it’s well-deserved. This neo-noir thriller explores the mystery of the Origami Killer, who kidnaps young boys and leaves them to drown in rainwater. At the heart of the story is Ethan Mars, a father whose son suddenly vanishes. All signs point to the boy falling victim to the Origami Killer, and Ethan only has a few days to rescue him. However, as the investigation goes on, the evidence begins to suggest the unthinkable: Ethan might be the killer.

You spend the game wondering if Ethan’s really the Origami Killer or if there’s something else going on. There are tons of crazy plot twists and creepy mind games that keep you guessing. It’s kind of like a mix of the sadistic games from the Saw movies and the serial killer mystery of Seven. That’s why Heavy Rain would make a killer live-action show or movie. If you’re a fan of The Last of Us, you will want to check out the eight differences between the show and its video game counterpart.

Watch the Heavy Rain Trailer on YouTube

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