Crossover Appeal – TV and Movies that Deserve Game Adaptions
Since the early days of video games, developers have been searching for ideas for their next titles, and as home gaming gained popularity the money men in Hollywood noticed, thus was the lucrative market of video game adaptions born, with everything from Rambo and Halloween to E.T. getting their own pixel makeover (with of course, wildly differing successes and failures), nothing much has changed in this regard, with many films receiving video game adaptions, some being obvious cash grabs with no heart behind them, others complimenting and even adding to their franchises, but not every movie and TV show gets a controllable spin-off, here are a few movies and a TV show that I think are worthy of an adaption.
Starting out with an option that just barely qualifies, Gotham is a DC comics, live action series, Gotham being the city which gave birth to its famous protector Batman, now Batman has more than his fair share of video games, some terrible and others that became Game of the Year or at least contenders, however in Gotham, the series focuses more on the exploits of Jim Gordon before he became Commissioner Gordon, with the same cast of faces filling out the ranks of heroes and villains (Bruce Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth, The Penguin, The Ridder, The Joker etc.) Gotham takes a grittier, more realistic approach to the comic book world (despite still using fantastical elements like Mr. Freeze and the Lazarus Pit which can bring people back to life), and would make for a satisfying action adventure game, with a police procedural mentality and James Gordon’s no nonsense approach to (sometimes literally) stamping out crime.
Se7en (or Seven) is David Fincher’s masterpiece of dark psychological horror and the epitome of Serial Killer thrillers, with a dark yet enjoyable story set around ritualistic murders or more specifically the investigation of the murders, Se7en feels like it could become a fantastic game, you have both Somerset and Mills, detectives of equal intelligence and skill, a dark brooding story and built in set pieces for each sin, or maybe they could just take Somerset and Mills and have them investigate a new case, especially if it was scripted by Andrew Kevin Walker (the screenwriter of the film), with the success of Hazelight studios A Way Out (as well as Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons), Josef Fares (director of those titles), could be a great candidate to bring the detectives to smaller screens.
Guillermo Del Toro’s seminal dark fantasy story, Pan’s Labyrinth is another ripe candidate for an adaption, as the film is a parable inspired by Fairy Tales, the structure of the story is already built in, plus you have the dark setting of Spain a few years after the Spanish Civil War, and then the fantastical realm of the labyrinth, complete with weird and wonderful creatures, and even the tasks the main character is set, which could be adapted into game levels, you could even pick up after the events of the movie, or in another location as the lore does mention that there are labyrinths all around the world, meaning there are potentially other stories yet to be told in the world of Pan’s Labyrinth, the only obstacle here is the curse of Del Toro, as he has stated that he will no longer be involved with the world of creating video games, after multiple failures, including studio closures.
Bong Joon-Ho’s 2013 adaption of 1982 French comic Le Transperceneige (The Snow-Piercer) is another fantastic option for a video game adaption, with a very basic set up, the world has gone into another ice age and is completely frozen thus meaning the end of civilisation, save for the people that survive on the eternally running titular train Snowpiercer, the train’s setup is basically poor people at the back with the worst conditions, forced to eat “protein blocks”, and the rich people up the front who dine on sushi and fresh vegetables, so the people at the back decide to push their way to the front, which involves a lot of fantastic action sequences as they kill everyone that stands in their way, already it becomes apparent how well the movie would match up as a video game, with each carriage being considered a new level, introducing new elements and enemies as you proceed to the final goal at the front of the train, I could imagine this working in a few styles, mainly as a 2D side scroller/brawler, or a 3rd person hack and slash action beat em up with FPS action, when guns are introduced, you could even use both styles, starting at the rear cars in the retro style and then shifting to more modern genres as you fight to the front, whichever way the potential is certainly there, and with an upcoming TV series announced maybe there will be enough interest to get a game adaption greenlit.
Turbo Kid, is a hybrid, action-adventure-comedy-gore-coming of age-superhero film written and directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell, surprisingly a far more easy to follow narrative than the description would have you believe, Turbo Kid takes place in the post apocalyptic Earth of 1997, and contains a lot of other hallmarks of 80’s cinema, including an all around awesome soundtrack, BMX bike racing and a dirty wasteland where water is the most important resource complete with sadistic and tyrannical overlord Zeus, his band of marauders led by the intimidating Skeletron and chamption arm-wrestling cowboy Frederic who helps the heroes The Kid and Apple, now all of this craziness would fit really well into a hybrid game as it already contains a bunch of things seen in other games including the BMX riding, epic fights, a Mad Max style desert wasteland, an arm mounted laser gun kind of like Megaman and plenty more, with interesting set pieces, heroes and villains built into the lore of the film, I feel like Turbo Kid the game could be a real winner when it comes to dumb fun set to an 80’s synth score, and honestly, who wouldn’t want that?
Ready Player One
Steven Spielberg’s big screen adaption of Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel of the same name, is another film that is begging to be adapted to a game, the film itself is largely set inside a virtual reality game called OASIS, it contains races, battles and references to video game staples such as loot, levelling up and hub worlds, the film has a hero, a team that help the hero, a villain with a near infinite amount of goons, an end goal, interesting set pieces, and once again is actually built using the framework of existing games specifically MMO sandbox worlds which gives you access to a ton of different play styles and genres, you could even tell a new story set in the same world, following new characters, or set it up as an actual MMO and have the player create their own, the main obstacle in adapting this IP though would be the same as the issues they had when adapting the film from the book, which is the sheer amount of pop culture references that are required for an accurate adaption bring up all sorts of legal and copyright issues, large portions of the book had to be changed when adapting it to a film, and likely plenty more would be required for the game, which would either leave the game feeling virtually nothing like the novel or cost so much to get made that it wouldn’t be feasible, the film was actually a box office success bringing in just over $582 million US on a budget of $175 million, however that wouldn’t necessarily carry over to a game adaption seeing as the market for film goers is still larger than that of gamers in most cases.