Hollywood studios have been trying to turn video games into movies and TV shows for a long time, but more often that not the the results have been disappointing. Of course there have been some gems, such as Castlevania, but the vast majority have fallen somewhere between mediocre and outright awful.. So for a bit of fun, let’s invert the question – which original movies and TV shows would translate best to video games?
Some of the examples below have already had minor attempts at video game tie-ins, but if we’re going to speculate, let’s go big and think of full-fledged AAA titles, rather than quick mobile cash grabs and small projects.
Last year saw the release of John Wick Hex, a small turn-based tactics prequel to this movie franchise, but it didn’t really meet my expectations. John Wick always felt like a great candidate for a sprawling narrative shooter. In a way, watching John Wick movies is already a bit like watching a video game playthrough. The main character is a vigilante who can perform unbelievable stunts, and it would be amazing to see those translated into a proper combat system that mixes stunning gun fights with martial arts. John Wick’s potential also lies in its world building, as the movies take us though hotels, clubs, theatres, and other interesting locations that are often tied to mysterious criminal organizations. This seems like a good setting for a Max Payne-style game, and let’s be honest – gamers would love to have another Keanu Reeves title on their virtual shelves alongside Cyberpunk 2077.
As for which studio could tackle this franchise… I’m split between Rockstar for their work on Max Payne, and Rocksteady, for the incredibly satisfying combat system in games from their Batman: Arkham series.
There’s a reason why Westworld showrunners, Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, show up at E3 panels. Westworld is already a show that’s heavily inspired by video games, and specifically Red Dead Redemption, so it would be foolish to sacrifice all the potential for a full-fledged title set in this universe (the shut-down mobile clone of Fallout Shelter doesn’t count).
In this case, I would love to see a massive single-player or co-op game that has all the atmosphere of Red Dead Redemption, but with narrative choices that actually influence the story. This could be an opportunity to properly explore all the different parks from the show, as well as its science-fiction themes. A game created by BioWare (Dragon Age, Mass Effect) or CD Projekt Red (The Witcher) could potentially do this idea justice.
Doctor Who has had a lot of tie-in games over the years, but pretty much all of them were low-budget projects, from cheap browser MMOs to short VR experiences. This show deserves a proper video game adaptation, especially as its premise allows for just about any story you want to be told: you have a time traveler, a time machine, and a 50-year-old history of monsters, mysteries, and characters to pull from. I think a graphic adventure game akin to Life is Strange could be an interesting way to go, so my choices for developers would be Dontnod Entertainment or Telltale.
The moment I heard Daniel Craig’s ridiculous southern accent in Knives Out, I knew I would love this movie. It’s a modern spin on a classic whodunnit story, with all the elements that made the works of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle great – and it’s been so successful that a sequel has already been greenlit. I feel like this concept could translate well to a narrative mystery/detective game, but an interesting murder to solve wouldn’t be enough to make it work. This hypothetical project would require amazing voice-acting and really solid writing, so in my opinion, a perfect scenario would be a collaboration between Frogwares (Sherlock Holmes) and Studio ZA/UM (Disco Elysium).
Imagine Hitman, but funny! Barry is a brilliant dark comedy about a hired assassin that wants to change careers and become an actor, but his past keeps getting in the way. This seems like an interesting concept for a stealth/assassination game that takes itself a little less seriously. IO Interactive (Hitman) has a lot of experience in this area, but Rockstar (GTA) could also excel here, especially in terms of writing.
These are a few of my personal ideas, but we’d also like to hear from you – what are your favorite TV shows or movies that could potentially become great video games?