Top 5 TV and Film Game Adaptations That We Want to See in 2021
With the ongoing creation of gaming adaptions, many gamers are apprehensive about the thought of seeing their favorite titles on the silver screen, or television for that matter. Movies like Uncharted are coming out courtesy of Sony Pictures, but instead of casting someone to fill the role, they’re deciding to use already popular stars. Films like the Borderlands movie are also changing the casting to fit top billing for the movie. The Resident Evil films aren’t tied to the games aside from the Umbrella Corporation and minor characters.
Adaptations seem to have lost the respect of the fans, or at least, made them apprehensive to adaptations as they’ve come out. However, there’s a reason that studios do these things. One of which is to keep the audience invested, as if the audience already knew what happened in the game before seeing the film, they would be able to call out every single plot point in the film and feel like they’ve wasted their money.
But there’s a possibility that some games can transition onto the silver screen without changing what made the games so great and keep a story that isn’t a beat-for-beat retelling of one of the games that spawned the series popularity. This would come in a side story or an all-new story that serves as a sequel to one of the titles.
5 Games That Deserve an Adaptation
Being a writer myself, I’ve always thought about adapting pre-existing properties into films and television shows. While some games are more suited for television, some films are also suited for movies. Here are five of my top picks for game adaptations that I would like to see realized as films and television in 2021.
One of the first 2021 game adaptations we would’ve like to have seen is for BioShock. There was going to be a BioShock film sometime during the 2010s but issues with the studio, insisting that the film couldn’t be R rated, was the straw that sent the project into the deep blue. However, I wouldn’t say that BioShock would fit the bill for a movie. While it would be interesting to see a film version of Jack’s original trip to Rapture, it wouldn’t be able to hit all the beats that the original story had. On top of this, there’s the prospect of the two endings for the game. The player decided whether Jack would save the little sisters, set them free from the depths below, or unleash the splicers onto the surface and wreak havoc onto the world.
However, there’s one place that I think BioShock would fit perfectly and could still include the gameplay elements from the show and give fans of the series a fresh new look at the world. And this would be by not adapting the game but adapting the companion novel to the title. The book is called BioShock: Rapture by author John Shirley. This would be a television show, with the book’s three-act structure worked into a two to three-season runtime.
While the novel isn’t canon, there’s a lot of information from the book and more elaboration on the fall of Rapture rather than Jack’s initial visit. On top of this, events from Burial at Sea can be worked into the film’s plot. The show doesn’t have to center around a specific character but rather some of the more important people in the BioShock timeline. Specifically Andrew Ryan, Frank Fontaine, Brigid Tenenbaum, and Bill McDonagh.
Showing the rise, and fall of Rapture, leading up to Jack’s initial visit could be a good way to pull back the curtain to the story of Rapture and introduce non-fans into the series, without having to retell the story from the game, as well as giving more context, and a new look at Rapture before the events of the first title.
Sam & Max
While this game already got a television show, in the form of the two-season long Sam & Max freelance police, I feel that it’s time for Sam & Max to come back into the limelight, which is why it makes out 2021 game adaptations list. However, I think that this show could be done a little differently.
Sam & Max are already cartoon characters. The TV show is made more for children. Still, with this hypothetical adaptation, I think that keeping a solid 2D animated show that focuses on what makes Sam & Max great would entice many fans of the series into watching it again. With the only recent titles coming out for the series being the remaster of the first Telltale Games and the VR title, there’s more appreciation for the show than before. The best option for this show to succeed would be to focus on the show’s writing, keeping the same charm and wit from the games, as this is what the games are riding on. However, this series should aim for being serialized rather than one-off cases. The games had all of the cases fit together with one big enemy that Sam & Max had to fight, and having the show focus on that would make for a way to develop the duo as time goes on.
Many people have noticed that irreverent adult comedies like Rick and Morty have been ever-so-popular for the past few years. This proves that there is a market for more adult comedies. However, Sam & Max is different because the comedy also comes from the world they live in, putting them into the modern age, letting them react to the world, and solving more complex cases on their own while fighting a larger enemy. However, the show would still have to retain its writing, which is the one thing that made it so popular in the first place.
Call of Duty Zombies
While Call of Duty is a massive series, Call of Duty Zombies has become one of the standout modes over time. With 10 years of content to comb through, the series would be ripe for a 2021 game adaptation.
Before releasing Black Ops 3’s Zombies Chronicles DLC, Jason Blundell, former Zombies director, revealed a full timeline for the game’s universe, which has become the only chronological timeline of events for the series. The Aether story, which ended in Black Ops 4, is perfect for an adaptation of the Zombies story, and while it might not fit for a film, it could fit for a series. The series could retell the Aether story, with each game fitting a season in the show. This could provide a lot of information that many players have only heard through audio logs, and it could also explore the dynamics of the characters throughout the games. With Season 1 being the events from World at War, players could see the beginnings of Group 935, meet Maxis and Richtofen, and provide more character to certain cast members of the series.
Another thing that could help expand the universe of Black Ops Zombies mode would be how the character’s transition between maps. This was shown in a small capacity in the intro cutscene to Classified. That stylized cutscene showed that this new map took place after Shangri-la. However, much of the information about how characters moved from maps like Kino der Toten to Ascension isn’t as clear. The show could also be used to add cut content into the show, showing more of the maps without feeling like they’re straying too far away from the game’s main plot, as well as the maps.
The series could also give a better ending to the story than what Black Ops 4 could provide. Many players were upset with the lackluster ending of the series, as what is assumed to be planned was a rematch of the series’ “great war” where the characters would fight against Dr. Monty. However, this wasn’t possible, yet it could be done on a different scale, with characters coming together to defeat him at the end. This would give fans of the series a satisfying ending to the Aether story if brought to television.
The only thing that would complicate this game for a 2021 adaptation is the arcade feel of the title—seeing that they come in waves and small respites between rounds. The possibility of the characters learning the rules of the game and then using what they’ve learned slowly through the series could help with fleshing out the characters. However, there is a possibility that it can be done. The proof lies within the comics that were made for the Aether and Chaos stories. The characters in both comics usually fought zombies when they showed up, but they didn’t come in waves like the game, offering time for the characters to talk without the constant horde on their backs.
Even if the Aether story wouldn’t be doable for Call of Duty, there’s the Chaos story. That whole plotline is scrapped and left players on a cliffhanger after the second DLC map for Black Ops 4. There’s more than enough story and possibilities for the Chaos story to continue in a television show format and could prove to be a worthwhile way to complete the originally started story.
Dead Space is already getting a remake. However, the title has plans to open the series up into a possible film or TV show format. Originally, Dead Space had two films to go with it: Dead Space: Downfall and Dead Space: Aftermath. These films are worked into the expansive lore of the series and give insight into characters who appear in other parts of the series.
Aftermath tells the story of the crew with Nolan Strauss, one of the main cast members from Dead Space 2. The film served as a tie-in to the second game, releasing on the same day as Dead Space 2. The comics and novels complement the series, and all materials from the books, comics, and films are canon to the games.
With the goal of the remake to fit right into the continuity of the other titles, the possibility to have Dead Space return to the silver screen is better than ever.
However, if a film or show about Dead Space were to come out, it would have to come with some limitations. Based on the information from the remake Motive has let out, it’s possible players are going to learn more about what occurred on the Ishimura. But there are still some things about what happened that aren’t as clear. The story of Nicole Brennan, and eventually the rest of the Ishimura, are shown through the film Dead Space: Downfall and on-rails shooter Dead Space: Extraction. Turning these titles into 2021 game adaptations would help add more context and remove the need to play the on-rails shooter and, if launched with the remake of Dead Space, would make for a companion piece for the title.
Furthermore, telling more of the story between inhabitants of the Ishimura and The Sprawl could enhance the series without treading over the plots of the original trilogy. Another thing that makes the original trilogy so important to horror fans is the monsters. The Necromorphs are more in line with the monsters in the horror film The Thing. The movie was a masterclass in body horror, with an alien that could assimilate anyone it came into contact with. This would end in some horrifying amalgamations of man and monster. It’s also something that Dead Space has in droves. Horror fans who haven’t played the game would be more than willing to see these monsters brought into the real world through a film inside the game’s universe.
However, another movie being made for the series would have to result in fans seeing what will be added to the remake. That doesn’t mean more stories could be taken from the world without having to tread over the plotlines on the main trilogy. It all depends on how much Motive is willing to reveal to Isaac about the events that transpired on the USG Ishimura.
One of the last 2021 game adaptions that we would like to see is for GTA. This is one that many fans have been asking for, and with good reason. An open-world game is perfect for a TV show. Netflix has The Witcher series and Amazon is working on their Fallout show as well. The open world of open-world games is ripe for the picking when it comes to making TV shows.
However, one series that has been a staple of open-world titles for years and years is Grand Theft Auto. This crime series is a satirical version of the United States of America and has dealt with all manner of issues from mid-life crises to attempting to outlive the status quo. With a game like GTA V being one of the most purchased games in the history of gaming.
There’s every reason under the sun to choose GTA as a title for a TV series. With five games under its belt and Los Santos filled to the brim with characters from all the online expansions, there’s no shortage of characters if a studio were looking to make a modern-day show based on the gaming franchise. However, that’s not the only setting that could be used to make a show. Vice City could also take center stage, turning the show into an 80’s action crime drama as well. Liberty City is also a practical choice if a studio wants to take a trip back to GTA IV. The story also doesn’t have to contain the characters from the mainline games and wouldn’t have to follow the stories either. However, going back to GTA V, if they wanted to include the actors to reprise their roles, Rockstar has modeled them after the actors themselves. Hiring Stephen Ogg to play Trevor or Ned Luke as Michael is as simple as hiring them for the show.
A good example of a crime drama that would fit right into the GTA world is Breaking Bad. However, GTA hasn’t always been known for its story, but the idea of players being able to do whatever they want from the start. In the games, this was the philosophy of the character Trevor, being built around that type of playstyle. GTA could continue to fill its legacy as satire by parodying the crime drama TV series, with GTA being a satire of the United States. This could also be part of the show and prove to be a good jumping-off point for action set pieces.
Setting a show inside the world of GTA and keeping it faithful to the game would also allow the writers and Rockstar to pick fun at their own game in return. This could explain how the cops function or how players can drive onto any airfield they want to pick up a plane. There is genuinely all manner of possibilities for the series to parody everything about the genre and have some entertaining fun while doing it.
There are plenty more games that could be turned into TV shows, Payday 2 had a web series, and with all the DLC for the game, a TV show could be possible now. The game Bully, from Rockstar, is worthy of a miniseries; however, Rockstar hasn’t touched that game since its release. Even titles like Sly Cooper could make for a fun “heist of the week” animated show.
For now, all players have are the adaptions coming out right now.
However, some speculation and wishful thinking is fun while you’re waiting for something new to come out. Overall, many shows could fit the bill, and whether or not they get made, all I hope for is that they’re faithful to the original material.