There have been a number of attempts to turn video games into films over the years. Some have been moderately well received, such as Detective Pikachu and Sonic The Hedgehog, but most have ended up featuring on lists of worst movies ever; BloodRayne and Super Mario Bros. instantly jump to mind. However, with a big push to television adaptations over film for media such as books in recent years, would television not be the better place for video game projects? Based on the success of The Last of Us, the answer would seem to be yes. So here are a few video games that we’d love to see make their way onto TV.
There’s a lot of room to play in the BioShock universe, and the fact that the three games in the trilogy deal with different time periods, different settings, and even different universes, means that any adaptation would have a lot of things to pick and choose from. Want to make the events of one of the games into a series? There’s absolutely enough stuff in the games to adapt to a show. Want to make something brand new that fits the themes and aesthetic of the games? You can easily get away with that too, thanks to the series’ already baked-in variety and the inclusion of multiple realities.
A TV show based on BioShock could fit nicely into a horror-mystery genre series if it went with the setting from the first two games, taking audiences deep beneath the ocean to the city of Rapture. Dropping viewers into the dark, deserted halls of the underwater former utopia, with twisted, mutilated figures stalking the hero from the shadows, would make for an incredibly creepy experience. Alternatively, take to the skies with the setting from the third game, Infinite, and go on a more action-oriented adventure. Either way, there’s a lot of options with this series, and a lot of fans who’d love to see it happen.
Okay, so this one is something of a cheat as the game itself is structured like a television series; split into episodes that start with a ‘previously on’ highlight reel, each ending with their own credits and closing music number. However, this structure would absolutely help to translate the game to TV well. Whilst there wouldn’t be a huge amount of life in the show, with there only really being enough content to make one season with (until the sequel game comes out at least), it would be a hugely entertaining single season of TV.
Alan Wake takes tons of inspiration from some of the more popular elements of horror fiction. There’s a vast, unknowable darkness at the edges of our reality trying to break its way in and take over, as in the work of Lovecraft. And the setting and style borrow massively from the work of Stephen King (which the game acknowledges more than once). Whilst the game is something of a cult game, with a small but dedicated fan-base, the media that it takes inspiration from being so popular would only help the show to find a new audience. With there having been several horror based shows that have existed for a season or two that have been big hits, it would be easy to add Alan Wake to that list.
The Elder Scrolls
The Elder Scrolls series of fantasy role-playing games have been hugely popular over their lifetime. The fifth entry in the series, Skyrim, is one of the biggest selling games of all-time, appearing on numerous consoles with re-releases, remasters, and anniversary editions since it came out over a decade ago. Fantasy shows are growing in popularity thanks to series such as Willow, Game of Thrones, The Rings of Power, and The Legend of Vox Machina, all of which take very different approaches to the genre, varying hugely in tone and style.
The universe of The Elder Scrolls is hugely expansive, and there are literally hundreds of pages of lore in each game. A television series set within this universe would be able to take the places and events of the games and translate them into multiple season-long shows without having to change too much. You’d be able to adapt the return of the dragons and the civil war in Skyrim, or the Daedra invasion of Tamriel and the threat to the Empire. Or, you could create something brand new in a completely unexplored part of the game’s universe. Out of the games on this list, this one is easily the most versatile for ideas. You could even create more than one show out of the known events from the games, spawning an entire shared universe.
READ MORE: Living – Blu-ray Review
The Silent Hill franchise has been adapted before in a pair of movies based loosely upon the first and third games. Whilst these had very different receptions – the first being generally well liked, but the second hated – the simple truth of the matter is that they just didn’t really work as films. The stories that they were adapting had to be condensed down and shuffled about in order to fit into a short run time, and as a result there weren’t a huge number of moments where the film was able to slow down and soak in the horror.
A series would work much better for a straight adaptation, allowing for the story to be given the time it really needs to be able to be told properly. You’d be able to linger on the quiet moments, allow the tension and the ever present horror to build without having to just throw jump scares at the audience in order to get a fright out of them. It would also allow the series to be able to explore the deep and complex history of Silent Hill. But, you wouldn’t have to just stick to adapting one of the games. The beauty of the Silent Hill franchise is that it’s an anthology series. Other than one of the games being a direct sequel, most of them pretty much stand alone. A television series could take a similar approach, with each season being its own tale with new characters, new stories, and new horror each time.
READ MORE: Play Dead – Film Review
Another horror-themed entry on this list, Bloodborne isn’t really a game that’s sparked a series or a masses of accessible lore. Most people will be familiar with it as part of the same company who made Dark Souls and Elden Ring, ultimately seeing it as little more than a gruelling, challenging action game. And whilst it is definitely those things, there is a lot more to Bloodborne than is first evident. You have to go digging within the game in order to start getting the backstory and details for the world you’re playing through. But, if you do, you soon find a twisted, fascinating setting that you want to learn more about.
With its Victorian-era aesthetic, its focus on violent action, and a roster of terrifying monsters, there’s a lot that could be done with Bloodborne on the television screen. You could focus on the action, with a group of hunters trying to fight their way through increasingly dangerous foes. You could delve into the history and find out how the world got the way it did by the time the game starts. You could eschew the action side of things altogether, and focus on the ordinary people, turning it into a pure horror experience as a group of regular folk have to deal with their world turning into a nightmare. With there being a big fan base for Bloodborne, but very little chance of a sequel, a television series could be the perfect way to explore that universe further.