Have you ever been playing through a video game thinking “why the hell isn’t this a movie?” Characters, environments, plot and dialogue are often more enjoyable than the gameplay itself, causing gamers to push through for the sake of the story. Some games are so engrossing that one can forget they are controlling the action. In an era of sequels and remakes, Hollywood should look to a medium which only improves with each new system. The battle for supremacy between Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox and PC is a violent war, but their efforts create video games that must be transferred onto the big screen.
We’ve been served some horrible game-to-movie efforts, it’s true; Mario Bros, Hitman, Need for Speed, Street Fighter, Resident Evil (the list goes on). The issue has been choosing the wrong examples to adapt into film, and basing the entire story on action sequences. We’ve evolved from that. If comic books can be inspiration for decent films, so can games. Many have more engaging material than the franchises dominating the box office, with characters etched in folklore and spanning countless sequels. Nintendo characters are still going strong decades later, altering look and feel with the times.
While this list may have missed many potential successes, there are also risks that would only work if the right actors and directors were to be attached. But hit and miss is the entertainment industry, so what’s a few million dollars? Here are 12 video games that must be transferred onto the big screen.
12. Grand Theft Auto V
Imagine this: Martin Scorsese directing Michael (Ray Liotta) Franklin (Michael B Jordan) and Trevor (Nicolas Cage) in a gangster film set in Los Santos. Bank heists, car chases, shoot-outs and the classic dialogue used in-game would make for an exciting release generating unprecedented hype. With so many missions and storylines to choose from, there are endless possibilities for direction. If left to the creativity of Scorsese (and the craziness of Cage in a role he was born to play) you would be presented with an engaging film that fans would flock to. Trevor on a rampage is enough to warrant a ticket.
Mad Max was one of the biggest surprises of the year, praised for style and originality. Borderlands would play out similarly, set in the sand-covered Pandora full of abstract creatures and deadly traps. Should George Miller take the reins, he would have four characters to choose from when deciding on a lead; a hunter, a beast of a man, a soldier and a siren. With story taking a backseat in-game to allow the environment and weaponry to provide excitement, Borderlands presents an opportunity to turn a mysterious world into a film classic. Claptrap (a humorous talking robot) can’t be forgotten, consistently in the periphery ensuring gamers have a laugh as they slay vicious monsters.
10. Uncharted 3
While any Uncharted entry would transfer to the screen, Drake’s Deception is a movie in itself. A key to ensuring success is to cast Nathan Drake (we’ll go with Christian Bale) and Victor Sullivan (Harrison Ford) correctly; everything else (setting, action, interactions) would fall into place. Flashbacks to Drake’s childhood allow the third instalment to feel like the start of a series, as locales such as Syria and Yemen are bursting with secrets and life that crave cinematic attention. Think Indiana Jones of the 21st century, complete with action, treasure hunts and links to characters such as Queen Elizabeth and King Solomon.
9. Tomb Raider (2013)
Yes, we’ve had the attempt with Angelina Jolie (twice), but the Tomb Raider console reboot demonstrated how absorbing a tale based on this heroine can be. With Jennifer Lawrence cast as Lara Croft, an MA rating and a darker, edgier feel, Tomb Raider could be re-launched as a series not based on breasts and an accent. The explored origins of Croft on a deadly island are much more interesting than the limited cave-dwelling of previous games, and rather than being handed a battle-hardened character we watch this young girl grow into the legend (including her first kill and discovery of dual handguns). Lawrence has proven her ability to be both vulnerable and powerful, and with the right direction (Alejandro Inarritu) and supporting cast, people other than gamers will be able to appreciate one of the more original female leads of our time.
8. Far Cry 3
Jason Brody (to be played by James Franco) is a graduate pilot who skydives onto a remote set of islands with a group of friends and family in celebration. Festivities don’t last long, as the group is captured by a clan of pirates led by Vaas; a villain who would soon become a cinematic icon. His character is so unique that it is hard to cast an actor to the role, but Jared Leto can handle the heat. Despite the dangerous, predator-infested environment creating constant death for all that walk within, it is the emotional journey of Brody and his relations with the locals that make this instalment fit for film.
The big screen needs a new fantasy blockbuster to bring back the feeling The Lord of the Rings gave us; The Hobbit just couldn’t live up to expectations. Bethesda’s Skyrim, the latest of the Elder Scrolls series, is in a league of its own. Even though it was released four years ago, hardcore gamers still haven’t unravelled all the secrets scattered throughout the expansive fantasy world. If Peter Jackson was to make another attempt, he would have an unlimited amount of data to work from. The main story involves slaying dragons, warring clans and hiking mountains; nothing new to fantasy, yet it was used in way that attracts attention. Place Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role here and he may just win his Oscar.
A classic PlayStation 2 game, Bully gave gamers the chance to re-live high school in exaggerated yet nostalgic style. Bullworth Academy is an institution with clicks, dorms, sly teachers and fearful students. Jimmy Hopkins (who could be played masterfully by Will Poulter) is new to the school and is taken under Gary Smith’s wing (Dave Franco would still be able to pull off a high school role) as bullies are an instant problem. Smith turns out to be the antagonist, and we see Jimmy grow from the fresh new kid to the king of the school through brawling, trickery and mischief. Bully is more than a game; you take classes, you interact with unforgettable characters, and the moving soundtrack invites chaos.
5. Perfect Dark
Perhaps the most left-field choice on this list, Perfect Dark was a first-person shooter on the Nintendo 64, modelled in the style of Goldeneye. While gameplay was phenomenal (days on end were spent in multiplayer mode), the story that unfolded was both surprising and original. Dark (who would be played superbly by Emily Clarke) is an operative for Carrington Institute who earned the codename “Perfect” due to her training. Set in 2023, Dark begins her missions in opposition to a rival corporations’ alien conspiracy, before finding herself in the middle of an ancient battle between two alien races (one who can disguise as humans). As factions fight for domination, Dark moves through diverse futuristic landscapes (Area 51, expensive villas, run down cities, another planet) in missions that include saving the president and working with an alien called Elvis. An instant hit.
4. Super Smash Bros.
Ok, hear me out. Avengers…Justice League…TNMT…Transformers…it can be done. Take away the style of childishness and make Mario (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Luigi (James Franco) hardworking plumbers, make Donkey Kong (Andy Serkis) to the format of Cesar in the new Planet of the Apes franchise, make Captain Falcon (Chris Pratt) an arrogant race car driver and Link (Garrett Hedlund) a country boy; pieces begin to click. If Guardians of the Galaxy can do Groot and Rocket, SSB can do Yoshi and Fox. Pit the heroes against the obvious villain, Bowser (voiced by Javier Bardem), and dangle Princess Peach (Natalie Dormer) as the damsel in distress and you have extreme interest already. Rather than boring viewers with countless origin movies (Avengers *cough*) unite these much-loved characters in a once-off Super Smash Bros blockbuster. Be honest, you’d pay to see it.
3. Fallout New Vegas
A post-apocalyptic movie set in Las Vegas is a must. Fallout: New Vegas makes that a possibility. While perhaps not the most popular entry of the series, the tale of Courier’s revenge (time for Johnny Depp to play a lead that isn’t covered in make-up) against Benny, the man who shot him and left him for dead, is perfect for the creative filmmaker to work within. While The Revenant looks to be taking this path, it is the events, factions and characters that create a scene not witnessed by the film-goer. If the hype for Fallout 4 was anything to go by, box office records would be challenged by a Fallout film.
2. The Last of Us
While there is already talk of this happening, we do not have solid details. We want details. Maisey Williams is set to play Ellie, but she is too old and is known for a stronger role (Game of Thrones). Joel’s casting appears to be causing headaches: he is the male lead who escorts the young girl through a world infested with Cordyceps; zombie-like creatures desiring meat. As his daughter dies at the beginning of the game (20 years earlier) he is a battle-hardened rebel when he meets Ellie. Their relationship is what creates the experience, and The Last of Us is perhaps the best gaming experience of the 21st century. I’d choose Brad Pitt. It is rare for a game to create such tension, so hand this to Christopher Nolan and let him work his magic.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Why has this not happened? Ocarina of Time was released in the nineties, and yet one of the greatest stories of all time does not have a film. They made a Need for Speed movie, yet no Zelda attempt? Link’s tale from fairy boy to savior of Hyrule is one all gamers know and love, littered with memorable characters, monsters, battles and folklore. While the child destined for greatness is an overused story arc, this is Link; arrow shooting, master sword swinging, boomerang throwing, grapple hook firing Link. Set against a world-threatening villain in Ganondorf, with Zelda as one of various love interests and the mighty Epona as a trusty steed, Ocarina of Time is the ultimate example of good versus evil. Casting for the Triforce? Garrett Hedlund as adult Link, Gerard Butler as Ganondorf and Margot Robbie as Zelda. Someone make this movie. Now.