Ten years ago, maybe you could have said video games were having ‘a moment’ and they were going to go away. But now, it’s undeniable they are here to stay – and having a serious impact on pop culture and nearly every generation.
From Kratos in the God of War series, Aloy in Horizon: Zero Dawn, Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, Mario and Luigi, Zelda and Link… I could go on. These characters have defined so many people’s lives, gotten them through difficult and good times alike. It’s hard not to feel a kinship with a character, series, or setting after finishing it.
Adapting art to the big screen isn’t exactly easy, but it can be done. With the ongoing success of the Marvel franchise (I’m ignoring you, DC Comics…), I think video game movies are going to be the next big thing.
Here are my top picks for video games we need to see as movies, ASAP. Know that this isn’t comprehensive; I could talk for days about why different movies would work, but these are my gold standard choices.
Wait, isn’t there an Uncharted movie coming out?!
The Uncharted series follows Nathan Drake and his companions as they search for lost treasure, get tangled up in jungle politics, and more. He’s basically Indiana Jones for the younger generation. The Uncharted series, only available on Sony systems, is a huge hit not just because the stories are so good – they are! – but the gameplay is also excellent.
The good news is that an Uncharted series actually does seem to be happening. According to what little information is out there, Tom Holland is signed on as Nathan Drake, Mark Wahlberg is Victory “Sully” Sullivan, and Sophia Taylor Ali is Chloe Frazer.
Another excellent point is that right now, Ruben Fleischer is on board to direct. You know him from such movies as Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less, and the questionable-but-not-complete-garbage Venom.
The bad news is… honestly, I don’t know when we’re going to get this movie. Talks about this movie started more than 10 years ago in 2008, and since then, casting, directors, and production teams have changed numerous times, and a full script re-write happened. Right now, it’s set for release on July 16 of this year.
Sidenote: Don’t sleep on that fan-made trailer for an Uncharted film, featuring one of my favorite Hollywood stars, Nathan Fillion, who would have made a way better Nathan Drake than Tom Holland. Sorry, Tom.
The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda has spanned decades, mostly being published on Nintendo consoles though a few mobile exceptions have been made over the years. The stories change but primarily follow various reincarnations of Link and Princess Zelda, who is (spoiler alert?) the reincarnation of the goddess Hylia. Each game varies slightly, and the franchise has stretched from GameBoy and NES graphics all the way to the highly acclaimed and breathtaking Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch.
So, it’s about time Zelda and Link got in front of a camera.
IGN released a fake trailer for a live-action Zelda movie in 2008, but honestly? It looks great. There is such great lore behind the series, and the characters are vibrant and full of life. If Nintendo could let go of their first-party franchises just a little bit, we could get something incredible.
C’mon, Nintendo. Don’t let us down.
The Yakuza series is a Sega-owned-and-published franchise that has been around for quite a while. The most recent entry, Yakuza: Like a Dragon took a new path. Instead of being a beat-em-up action game, plays more like an RPG with turn-based combat. It started as an April fools joke, but people liked it so much they changed direction and made it into a full game.
Each game is a little different, but they all follow a crime syndicate (hence the name), and you usually play as someone working their way through the family, committing crimes, helping people, and building close ties.
Full disclosure: The Yakuza games are technically based on the yakuza films, a genre in Japan that is pretty popular. They date back as far as the 1950s and earlier, with some yakuza films even hailing from the silent era.
However, I think it’s time to input the spirit and power the games have on a big screen. I recommend Donny Yen to direct this, a Hong Kong Chinese actor, director, stuntman, and wushu master. He’s basically incredible, there’s nothing the man can’t do, and he would be perfect for the movies. Think Ip Man or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but with organized crime.
God of War
The most recent God of War game on the PS4 was one of the best games on the console, hands down. It swept awards and was critically acclaimed. Even people who hadn’t played the previous games in the series loved it, though they are all worth your time.
The story follows Kratos, a former Greek God, as he does… well, vengeance-related Greek God things. Each game is different (and the latest one totally changes the lore) but they all feature Kratos using his fists and his twin chain blades to destroy anything in his path.
I vote to bring back Christopher Judge, who voiced Kratos in the 2018 game, as the main character. I think Hollywood is well past ready to tackle mythology in a successful, meaningful way (no, Disney’s Hercules doesn’t count), and the God of War franchise is the best way to do it.
Are you familiar with the Phoenix Wright games? If not, stop right now and go find them. Okay, okay, finish this article first. Then, go find them. They’re a little more obscure, but Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a video game series that follows lead character Phoenix Wright, a defense attorney who uses logic and reason to declare his clients not guilty.
Most people credit the series with bringing visual novels to the forefront of gaming, and they’re not wrong. While this isn’t a full visual novel in the way you’re just watching a story, the gameplay involves deduction and paying attention to help get your client out of jail and back into the public. It’s fun and witty and fast paced, and the games are an awful lot of fun.
Full disclosure: The Phoenix Wright series did have a movie made… but only in Japan. Ace Attorney came out in 2012 based on the series, and while it had a US premiere in April of that year at the Hawaii International Film Fest, it basically went nowhere. There is no official translation available.
I would love to see a modern-day Phoenix Wright story told, including the struggles of being a defense attorney, and maybe let it unfold so the viewer is left guessing what is going to happen until the end. You know, just like the games!
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Two words: Robot. Dinosaurs.
Okay, okay, you need more than that. But Horizon: Zero Dawn was one of the biggest releases for the PS4, and I know we’re all excited about the second game, set to release on the PS5 someday.
Horizon: Zero Dawn explores a world when technology hasn’t just fallen, but has become a sentient creature. Robot monsters roam the wilderness, and you control Aloy, an outcast looking to learn more about her missing mother and discover why the world collapsed. The graphics are great, and the gameplay is a ton of fun, but let’s be clear, a live-action movie would be incredible.
The movie would need a ton of really well done CG to make it look good, so I think it would be incredibly expensive. But done well? Movie of the year.
I asked my husband his opinion on this subject, and one of the games he gave me was Alan Wake. My response? Does anyone even care about that game anymore? But he’s not actually wrong, so let’s take a look at why.
Alan Wake is an action-adventure-thriller that was released in 2010, so over 10 years ago now. It follows the title character as he searches for his wife after she went missing on vacation. The game honestly plays like a television show or movie already, so they got the pacing and setting completely on point. A sequel was played around with but eventually scrapped, though the game Control by the same company, Remedy Games, is set in the same universe.
There is huge potential here. The lore is deep and well thought out, as seen in Control, and the plot is excellent and engaging. Alan Wake would make a great movie, and now is the time to do it.
So, uhm, did you know that a Tetris movie is in the works? According to a completely serious Wikipedia article, Jon S. Baird is directing an upcoming biographical film based on the video game series Tetris.
Seriously. Filming began this winter.
Baird has worked with producers like Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger, and Jim Carrey. This… is real, and it’s coming.
I hope you’re prepared.