Video game adaptions have exploded over the past few years, and are only set to accelerate thanks to the unprecedented success of The Last of Us. Yes, at long last it seems as if the video game curse has been lifted, opening the door for anything and everything to be crossed over to streaming and/or television. You just have to make sure it's done right.
While live-action served The Last of Us very well, the power of animation can't be overlooked either. Arcane: League of Legends, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and Castlevania have made a much bigger impact in this form, being able to stick to the source material and shine in a way that would not be possible in live-action. On the opposite end of this, you have the Resident Evil series that missed the mark completely and was cancelled after only one season, so there's clearly still room for improvement.
We're already aware that a God of War TV series at Amazon is happening, that a Horizon TV series is in the works at Netflix, and that a Twisted Metal show with Marvel star Anthony Mackie at Peacock is coming in the not-so-far future. So we're going to discount these obvious picks for the time being, looking to games that have potentially fallen under the radar or not been considered for television for whatever reason. By doing so, we hope to state a case as to why these video game adaptions would be best placed for TV.
Like many people, we're all dying to see the Super Mario Bros. Movie from Illumination while still holding hope that The Legend of Zelda is next destined for Hollywood. What not enough people are talking about is the idea of Metroid being adapted in some format. Samus Aran's bounty hunting adventures once seemed inconceivable of being done justice on TV. Now though, The Mandalorian has shown without doubt that space exploration of this magnitude is very possible.
Not only that, but it can look visually impressive too. Take season 3, episode 3 for evidence of the claustrophobic elements and constant retreading of the same territory, a staple of every Metroid ever released. Hell, a Metroid TV series could even follow a similar structure to The Mandalorian with Samus answering a different distress call every week as she looks to find clues about the death of her parents, providing an interesting throughline. It's there for the taking.
Wait, isn't there a Bioshock movie in the works at Netflix? That's right. Slumberland director Francis Lawrence and Blade Rudder 2049 screenwriter Michael Green are both heading up the project at Netflix, however, we'd argue that a series has a far better chance of succeeding... just not at Netflix. If the likes of HBO or Amazon came knocking, the city of Rapture could be developed to its full potential. Imagine the stunning underwater dystopian on an HBO budget. It would also give the story time to breathe, allowing viewers ample time to spend with its cursed citizens that make the world so darn interesting.
We could even explore the once-political system and the history of its maker, Andrew Ryan. Think of the Bill and Frank episode in The Last of Us, something that was expanded upon beautifully. This is why the brooding, slow methodical roll out of Bioshock on a week-to-week basis would prove more pivotal – all leading up to the inevitable major twist that has shaken the video game industry for over 15 years. No spoilers!
Taking place on the planet Mars in the year 2075, the main premise of Red Faction is about the uprising of miners against the ruthless Ultor Corporation that abuses all of its workers and residents via hazardous living conditions. Once a plague of unknown origin makes its way through the colony, the miners decide to revolt.
Rooted in deep sci-fi, Red Faction has a great setup and uses amazing imagery throughout while still offering the writers plenty of freedom to flex their muscles and experiment with its characters and world. It's something that could be politically appropriate for the time we're all living in too, yet still feature schlocky action with giant mechs (known as Walkers) stampeding against a totalitarian regime. It has the building blocks of something great if put in the right hands.
Well, that's what we want to see. What video game would you like to see adapted for TV? Let us know. In the meantime, how to watch The Last of Us and enjoy what is arguably the best video game adaption to date.