Debate of the Day: Which Video Game Franchises Would Make the Best Movies?

Alright, today’s topic I pose to you comes in the wake of Hollywood snatching up every video game property on the planet to turn it into a feature film. The latest is David O. Russell trying to get Mark Wahlberg, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci together for an Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune movie. Go with Nathan Fillion you idiot! Wahlberg was already Max Payne, and look how that went.

Anyway, the problem still stands that to this date, there has never been a truly “good” video game movie. And before you get all hyper defensive about the original Resident Evil or Silent Hill, those are PASSABLE video game movies, but by no means are they actually awesome films, but I think the genre has produced some truly amazing stories that could work well as movies if someone would only do them right.

Before I open the floor for your own suggestions, I’ll give a few of mine, which include the three games you see above. Starcraft has a rather amazing story and universe that would look incredible on the big screen. God of War, if given to someone like Zack Snyder could be visually gorgeous with a rather good plot to match. Assassin’s Creed could be a less-lame version of Prince of Persia, and has a really compelling mysterious story.

I think my ultimate pick, not pictured here however, would be Mass Effect. There is so much detail already poured into that universe, and the characters are already so well developed, it’s a logical transition to make the game into a film. I would even argue the universe is so vast and deep, it could be the next Star Wars trilogy if handled by someone who actually knows what they’re doing. Avatar isn’t our new epic universe to get lost in, I’m sorry, but I feel like Mass Effect really could be.

Well, that’s what I’ve got to say, which games do YOU think would make great movies, and why?

  • floppytall

    Dig Dug. He could save trapped miners.

  • Thoughtless

    God of War. As long as it has a competent writer/director, it would make a great movie series. The plot is simple to handle and the action scenes would be great. But knowing Hollywood, they would screw it up like the Clash of The Titans remake.

    Mass Effect is interesting but it would take someone extremely talented to not overload the films with too many plot points. Plus, a space marine film? Doesn’t really bring me to excitement.

    I agree on Assassin’s Creed. And the Resident Evil films were horrible. Can’t believe they messed that up. Actually, I can believe it. I just can’t accept it.

    A Gears of War trilogy would be awesome. The first two games have their share of ‘holy crap’ moments that would be incredible on the big screen.

  • Troy J

    I think you could make a great Final Fantasy movie. I’d love to see 8 or 10 in a three part trilogy.

  • andy

    Bioshock. Definitely could be good if handled correctly.

  • J5

    I would say Fallout, but there’s been a bunch of Post Apocalyptic movies lately. Everyone says watch The Road because it’s like Fallout, but honestly it’s basically the scavenging from Fallout with absolutely no hope. Awesome movie, kind of depressing. (I didnt expect it to be uplifting or cheery, but damn, no hope of anything, just trying to survive.)

    Assassin’s Creed would be a great story, but I wouldnt really want to see it ruined by Hollywood…..

    So I guess the only logical option would be Battletoads vs Double Dragon. You know you want it.

  • Filosoraptor

    I agree with Thoughtless, it would require someone with a lot of talent, but it would surely make for one epic movie(s). I’d also like to see the Gears of War trilogy in the big screen, I think I’d look awesome (if done right) and it could fill in some plot holes from the game.

    But I have to say my choice goes for Starcraft because of it’s epic story. However, I think the story is way too long. It would take like 6 movies to tell the whole thing and cover every aspect of the game. The epicness of it however: unprecedented.

    Honorable mentions:

    Metal gear solid
    Final fantasy VII

  • NYxaria

    which a descent script/cast almost every good selling game these days could make a good movie

    but i would prob. prefer

    god of war (not that lame RELEASE THE KRAKEN shit)
    modern warfare 1+2 (at least 2 movies to explore a real good plot)
    bioshock(just the “bioshock”-style with a different story then the games had)

    and ……

    PLANTS vs ZOMBIES – whos with me ?

  • Bert

    I think Goldeneye would make for a pretty sweet movie…

  • orlisnjangel

    I’m a huge Mass Effect fan so I want a movie but I don’t want it screwed up…i would cry…

    And I liked Silent Hill…although i think was mainly because Sean Bean was in it…

  • Gabriel

    My problem with game movies is that they do not really follow the story of video games that much(a few subtle things such as the same names and items as the game don’t count). While I agree that a Mass Effect movie would an amazing idea, I would feel that, like other movies, the people who direct the movie would try to make it their own by either changing the plot (as you see with resident evil) or changing the development of characters.
    I think that if any game studio were to release the rights of their game for a movie, they should be inclined to use the exact same director and same writers used for their game, that way if they do tweak the story, it will be in their style as well as stick somewhat with the story.

  • gokuh

    starcraft ( not a starship troopers remake)
    final fantasy vii
    god of war

    ..for all of these, at least a movie per game….but not an 80 min flick….at least 2 hrs…..if they made a 4h:30min lord of the rings 3 why cant they make a least 150 min movies!!!!

  • Josh

    Really, just look at any game that holds up as a story. Halo is the first that comes to mind, it has the most expansive game universe possibly ever made (seriously, go browse Halopedia. You could read it for the next three days and still not know half of what there is to know) and is the most popular game of our time (not to mention one of the best). Gears of War would do well.

    Hell, once Modern Warfare 3 comes out and we see how that story ends, Modern Warfare would be one hell of a film. The Russian invasion alone would be worth the price of admission.

    Assassin’s Creed would be cool, no doubt. I’m just not sure how it would work. Price of Persia was nothing like the game, it was more or less a shitty live action Aladin. What makes AC so great is that it is so freaking long and so in depth, something you can’t really translate to the big screen.

    I also think a Need for Speed film could be done well. Think of The Fast and the Furious but with more car chases.

  • wannes

    i think bioshock could be an excellent movie => pretty awesome story and characters. BDW postal the movie was was pretty funny =P

  • Skeebo

    Mass Effect Movie is already in the works. Rights purchased by Legendary Pictures, who gave us Batman Begins, Dark Knight, the Hangover, & Inception.

    Unfortunately, they also gave us Lady in the Water, 10,000 BC, Clash of the Titans, & Jonah Hex.

  • Cutter9792

    Gears of War-Hang on- Directed by Michael Bay.

    Think about it for a moment- a bunch of testosterone fuel guys with huge guns and muscles blow a lot of shit up, all while spouting idiotic one-liners.

    I think he could pull it off.

  • Jack

    how could you leave halo off the list? what speaks to modern day video game epic more than halo? at the same time I’m with you, I would much rather have a mass effect story, the only problem with that is they have the light side and dark side choices, so that aspect would be hard to add, but the right director could get it done.

    further suggestions:
    the force unleashed trilogy(we need to see a full movie of incredibly powered jedi, not actors with swords and weak boring powers at best (still fucking love star wars anywats)

    the old republic series (one of the best stories in ENTERTAINMENT told in the last decade, hard to fuck this one up

    red dead redemption could be pretty cool

    bioshock, would be tough to do but I could see someone pulling that off

    that’s all I can think of off the top of my head

  • My first choice would also be your first choice. Mass Effect. Such a good universe. I could see a lot of potential for story telling there. My one hesitation for Mass Effect would be how they went about presenting the story. WOuld I like a Mass Effect movie as much if Sheppard was a man in the film? My Sheppard was a hot blond chick, and that is who I think of when I consider Sheppard. Would other viewers have similar feelings regarding their characters?

    Other games I think could potentially be movies.

    Metro 2033
    Teamfortress 2 (but I would hope for an animated version.)
    Left 4 Dead (2)

  • Rob J

    Hollywood politics prevents me from having confidence in any video game movies anymore. I was so excited for the Uncharted movie since before Uncharted 2 even came out…I was like Nathan Fillion…Nathan Fillion…Nathan Fillion….he even wanted the part! Nothing against Mark Wahlberg he has been great in a few films but he is NOT Nathan Drake.

    Anyways….Mass Effect….already has an epic feel to it with a well established background…I just dont think a movie could be made that would exceed the abilities of the in game videos and epic scale atmosphere already established in game…not for a decent enough profit to please the suits in Hollywood as it would probably cost more and make less than Transformers 2.

    Halo as a movie was a miracle…It probably could of been great if it was similar to the Halo Reach advertisements but it could not as good as what became District 9, Excellent film.

    I think the PS2 game Black could make a great film. The new COD Black Ops game borrowed a lot from Black but then it in turn borrowed a good bit from The Usual Suspects. Made for an excellent story and would transfer well to the big screen! 🙂

  • Tim

    Starcraft would be ideal for a serious adaptation…just NOT as a movie.

    I think it would play best as a cable TV series (a la The Walking Dead), where the time could be taken to really tell the story.

    The problem with movies from video games (as pointed out by Gabriel above), is that videogames have either a incredibly simplistic episodic narrative device serving as a “plot”, or they have a very complex & sprawling plot. Neither really suit the “three act” mold required by film.

    In the case of Starcraft (or any of the other excellent candidates already suggested), the complex plot is part of what makes the gaming experience so entertaining. There’s no way the story from the 3 game installments in 90 minutes…especially while preserving the 3 narrative arcs from the points of view of the races, a feature that was so critical to Starcraft’s success.

  • zero

    To put it frankly, modern games don’t have a story. The only objective in video games is to kill aliens, monsters, zombies, nazis, or terrorists. If I had to choose, I would probably go with either bioshock or the first Baldur’s gate (pre bioware).

    I would argue against any bioware RPG games because all of their games center around the concept of gathering different team members and then go for a final show down with the evil boss. The problem here is that the gaming industry is moving more and more towards open ended gaming where the character has many ways to solve the problem. It works great as a video game concept because it gives gamers options. However, a movie is story telling in 2 hours or less. When there are too many sub plots or characters in a movie, it becomes the abomination known as Spiderman 3.

  • Wilm

    Seriously no one brought up Half Life 2?

    Unlike a lot of video games that deal with the same scenario of alien invasions, half life series handles it in a much more real and mature approach. The only issue would be gordon freeman since as a character he dosent really exist, he never talks and we dont know what kind of person he is really.

    Also like everyone said already, bioshock has potential to be a good movie since it has a solid story.

  • thegreatfatsby

    Someone mentioned that Halo has a massive expanded universe theme so a lot could be put into it.

    The Dawn of War games for the PC come from the Warhammer 40,000 universe which is massive and features the first Space Marines. Eat that Starcraft.

    With so much background the game could be adapted into a brilliant movie, or even a whole bunch of movies.

    Only problem is the overlords at Games Workshop are very picky at who they allow to mess with their product. If they could allow someone talented to work on it, then it could be very good indeed.

    The Horus Heresy alone would feature battles making the rucks in Lord of the Rings look like a playground fight between two sissy children slapping each other.

  • Nate

    I’m going old school and saying that the (Secret of) Monkey island series would make great movies.
    They are funny, well written (Tim Schaffer and friends) and would be easy to make into a series of CG movies about Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate.

  • anestie

    god of war directed by Tarsem, the guy who directed “The Fall” and “The Cell”. actually, i think he is doing something like that soon, early 2011.

    Bioshock would do a good movie as well

  • Joe

    David Milch (creator of Deadwood) casting Tim Olyphant (Deadwood, Justified) as the lead in Red Dead Redemption.

    Remember to thank me while you’re rolling in all your money, Hollywood.

  • Anon E. Moose

    I don’t care what they do. I just don’t want to see the protagonist turn into yet another wisecracking scoundrel a-la Han Solo like they did in PoP.

  • frikkenkids

    Dragon Age could be made into an amazing series of several films similar to how Harry Potter has been done. Half a dozen films easy or a trilogy in the least. The first film would be Origins – one of the origin stories could be followed. Start with the origin of an untested warrior, then the quest to become a Grey Warden and finish with the battle of Ostagar. Big downer ending with the King and Duncan falling in battle. The hero wakes up at Flemmeth’s hut and walks off to the further quest as the credits roll. You could make solid movies out of any of the major quest lines and culminate with an entire movie dedicated to the landsmeet at Denerim and the fight against the archdemon and darkspawn horde.

  • tissmekyle

    starcraft done as a tv series i think would work better then a movie because then they’re not trying to jam a great story into as limited space as if it were a movie. maybe even get blizzard to it themselves like there cut scenes.

    with all these mooive suggestions would ya want animated or live action?

    portals could make a simple creative movie i think.

  • flaccidplatypus

    I think Assassins Creed would be difficult for a movie b/c of the narrative that it uses. With that being said I think it would be an awesome HBO or maybe FX, AMC series. Each game could be a different season, and you could expand the plot line of Desmond and the history and secrets behind the golden orbs and templars with each season. If done right I think it could be a lot more epic than say a lame movie trilogy produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.

  • mikejacobs

    I think Warcraft 3 movies would be good, making it into a series of movies. Start from the beginning and finish at the end ^^(unfortuantely some movie directors don’t do that when adapting a medium into movies).

  • OTWarrior

    Legacy of Kain

  • Jax

    How is it no one mentioned The Legend of Zelda? That would make the perfect movie. Hell IGN already made a great treatment in their April Fools fake movie trailer a few years ago. Which, btw, I was beyond pissed to find out it was fake after going batshit insane when I thought it was real. Think about it, they clould easily pick a simplified version of Occerina of Time to fit the movie three part requirement while still staying true to the game.

    I also second The Secret of Monkey Island mentioned above. One of the best things I ever saw was the videos on youtube from a high school production of the game. It again would fit the mold yet still be enjoyable.

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  • Sejong

    We’ll have to see how Sam Raimi does with the World of Warcraft movie in development now with Blizzard Entertainment. WOW has a huge background story outside of the game itself (see all the novels). If Raimi’s movie fails to deliver, I can see game companies re-assessing whether they want to sell movie rights to Hollywood.

  • onegreekdude

    God Of War directed by p. jackson or zack snyder….I WILL J**Z since it’s my favorite game series and those two directors could pull this off excellent. Also mass effect (which i’ve never played 😛 ) would be an awesome film. I think James Cameron could pull something like this. BTW shadow of the colossus would be really epic yet really hard to stay true to the game. Maybe if it’s animated it could work…

  • Zalizan

    UNCHARTED. full of action and think easy to make.

    but i’m looking forward God Of War.

  • Beth

    I think Enslaved: Journey to the West would make a great movie.

  • tiahaku

    i think legend of the dragoon would be a good movie if done right it was one of my favorite games

  • Mormegil

    @Rob J

    I totally agree with your point on Mass Effect. The game is already too cinematic in scale; there really isn’t that much a movie could improve if one does come about. The plot won’t make as much sense as a film once you’re just watching as opposed to leading the action.

    Besides the Mass Effect universe, though really interesting, isn’t all that well-developed as far as mythos. Sure, it could spawn an awesome film and TV franchise, but there’s other stuff that has done more with much less.


    Warhammer would be the ultimate sci-fi shoot’m up. I’m looking forward to watching the Ultramarines animated film like you wouldn’t believe. Hell, if they even try to translate the action of some of the books or fluff onto the big screen…well, it’s the definition of pants-wetting.

    Aside from choosing who to do it, the other big problem with 40k is the scale; it’s literally over 10,000 years of continuity (that GW has focused on Unification of Terra-start of 42nd millennium). What the hell is the story you should pick? The Heresy? from whose perspective? You can’t even pick one side of the conflict; you’d have to take away too much to make it into a film.

    Uh…thwarted by the awesome sense of scale that makes the game great in the first place.

  • bashy

    ill have to say definately left 4 dead because it will be a wonderful storyline of 4 people trying to survive a zombie apocalypse.
    The monsters are pretty cool,the big fat boomer vomiting on everyone, the superfast jumpy hunter, the annoying old smoker, The awesome TANK and who could forget the creepiest monster the witch who gives me nightmares.

  • Tim

    Command & Conquer Tiberian Dawn/Sun, maybe even Wars

  • cristhyan

    i hope to see in the big screen the movie of god of war, as somenone said it before, with good director, good writers and good special efects,it will disapoint me if it’s an awful movie because i love that game it’s my favorite, and i has a lot of material to make a good movie
    i hope you agree with me
    bye bye

  • That Guy?

    Half Life?!
    Seriously, only one other person mentioned it. Start with the intro leading to the event in 1 then continue story of 2 for rest of film, bake for the time needed and serve to masses.
    Dead Space!
    I’m happy to say this is being done. Seriously, there is such a vacuum in this genre and this …well, did you like Event Horizon, Alien series (yes, even the 3rd)…play this if your bored of the same repetition that is out there.
    For all who want a God of War movie (and I’m there with you on this) it was made, and named Clash of the Titans…not gonna happen.
    I believe Halo would be fun…the guy who did District 9 wants the first crack at this.
    Silent Hill was Great, considering the other movies out there (not just game movies) this stands out very nicely.
    Oh….Metroid. Hotness in awesome Armor need we say more?

  • Edutilos

    You guys fail to understand that the chances of video games becoming good movies are slim to none. In fact, just remember what games were used for making a movie already. Silent Hill, Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil, these were survival horror games – the actual games where atmosphere and story were allowed to develop the way movies are developed (apart from Adventure games actually). Max Payne was one of the best stories in an action game, and Hitman had a truly nice concept, same with Prince of Persia. Postal was great for a cheesy black comedy kind of film, and Tomb Raider (same as Uncharted) are just Indiana Jones all over again.
    This games were the best in terms of plot ideas and story that could actually work for movies. Games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age or Spellforce or Starcraft or Warcraft or Diablo or God of War and so on, they don’t work so great on film because the best part of them was actually their plot complexity – which doesn’t translate as well in movies.

    How many “epic” franchises that were released recently really worked? Avatar was as mediocre as the Prince of Persia movie (regarding the story), the Matrix sequels sucked ass, the Star Wars prequels even more, only Lord of the Rings was greatly received. Does anyone remember Underworld or Eragon, or what they really were about?

    The problem is with subtlety. A game is (and it supposed to be) concerned with gameplay, and the best story for gameplay is the open-ended one. You can have a shit-ton of info from Mass Effect or Halo, but you’re barely receiving a few tidbits in the entire original trilogy of Star Wars.

    In my opinion, the only way a game could truly work as a movie if it was either:
    – made as a spin-off (say, focusing only on a part of the whole lore, just like spin-off books are made nowadays)
    – made as a kidsy movie, kinda like the Pokemon movies. Something like Beyond Good and Evil or most of the point&click games would work in this formula.

    Sorry for the long comment, I just needed to write out as much as possible about my thought on game-based movies.

  • FF6 broken into a TV series

  • PalladiuM

    Infamous would be epic. It’s a superhero story, which recently have been enormously successful, and it’s not diluted with hundreds and hundreds of issues, characters and story arcs. Considering whats been done with Thor, Cole should have no problem letting the lightning rip.