There are a lot of really great TV adaptations of video games on the horizon. HBO and Showtime both are ready to unveil shows for major titles, and it feels like the timing is right for more. For the most part, video game TV adaptations fair much better than their film counterparts. Especially in the case of a game with deep lore and a complex world, movies just can’t cut it. A great example is Warcraft, which attempted to condense decades of world-building into an hour and 23 minute runtime. Granted, the goal isn’t to tackle every little detail, but nailing the important ones is much easier when there’s more room with which to work.
Something like The Witcher, which is technically adapting the book series and not the games, fairs much better. It’s not always a lack of production resources (Warcraft’s budget was $160 million). It’s breathing room, and an effort to nail things for the sake of the source material, as opposed to a new, broader audience. Here are 3 video game TV adaptations I think could absolutely work well if given the right time and resources.
Video Game TV Adaptations – Three That Could Work
It’s not like any game can be turned into a TV show. Imagine something like Super Mario being forced into a children’s program! Like, who would ever think to…oh, wait; they tried that. Well, with a Showtime Halo TV series in production and an announcement for The Last of Us TV series, it seems like some ideas can actually work. We have five more to consider in terms of possible successes for video game TV adaptations.
God of War – Possible Video Game TV Adaptation?
Image Credit: Sony
It’s not just one of the best exclusive Sony series of all time for its gameplay. The story of the God of War series is truly emotional and action-packed. Considering how successful the PS4 reboot of the series was with Kratos and his son, that could make an insanely great TV show. The difficulty would be some of the funding to make the world come alive like it is in the game. Mythological TV shows succeed or suffer from poor visuals. It’s sort of why we don’t have a true mythology show on HBO or another major network.
Could Netflix find success with God of War given their hell-bent approach on funding every little project imaginable? I think people would watch it. I mean, they’re watching The Witcher like crazy. Give us a Kratos origin story or some adventures with the deadliest dad-god ever, and people will tune in.
Life is Strange – Get Ready for the Tears, People
Image Credit: Dontnod Entertainment
Life is Strange is one of the most intense gaming experiences I’ve ever had. You go into it knowing people liked it, so you think you’ll enjoy it too. Then, you get to know these characters and their lives. Suddenly, you’re sobbing and restarting the whole thing over again. An 18 year old protagonist could lend itself well to a network like The CW. Even something like Hulu could be a really great home for the adaptation.
Video game TV adaptations can be tough when the gameplay isn’t accurately transitioned to the TV medium. That’s one issue with Life is Strange; decision making is a huge part of the experience. What storyline and narrative finish would the producers go with? Could we get a multi-ending option a la 2019 Emmy Awards winner Black Mirror: Bandersnatch? There’s some room to get creative, and the story is going to do the rest.
Mass Effect – Dreams Come True Sometimes, Right?
Image Credit: BioWare and EA
A Mass Effect TV show seems like a terrible idea given how vast the in-game world and stories are. Still, the massive Mass Effect fan in me says it’s worth the risk. Give the series 7 seasons, and go over 1 and 2 in two seasons each. How serious am I about this? I’ve actually gone through how I would script the game’s plot in a Google Doc only close friends who won’t judge me can see. Maybe I’ll post it here if enough readers want a Mass Effect video game TV adaptation too. Especially since it seems like the Mass Effect movie is not going to happen.
The trick to a great sci-fi game is depth. TV offers so much more room to grow characters and plots than movies. It’s why we see The Last of Us moving to HBO. It’s even why a movie version of The Leftovers got abandoned. Growing a great story is hard to do in 120 minutes. Give us 8-10 hour long episodes? Now we’re talking. The logistics behind a Mass Effect TV show would be insane, but someone like Amazon could pull it off. There’s enough money there to make something magical, and the Mass Effect series is worth looking into. Unless of course you try to give us an Andromeda series. On behalf of everyone, I politely decline.
What Video Game TV Adaptations Do You Want to See?
Is there a particular series you think would make for one of the most promising video game TV adaptations? Let us know in the comments! Thanks for reading Comic Years for all things gaming, comics, and pop culture.
Featured Image Credit: BioWare and EA
Taylor loves to play video games in his spare time. He has two degrees in Political Communication and wrote his thesis on Marxism and the exploitation of college athletes. In his spare time, he loves spending time with his wife and two Toy Australian Shepherds. He’s always got headphones in, and he’s a diehard Cubs fan.