Hollywood and the video game industry have had a tumultuous relationship. Licensed games based on movies have a well-deserved reputation for being total garbage. Even before the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System, titles like E.T. for the Atari 2600 were considered so awful they crippled the industry for years.
These days, that bad reputation still remains, but there are bright spots here and there. The Batman: Arkham games, while not based on any particular Batman film or comic, are acclaimed as some of the greatest action/adventure titles of all time. Additionally, Telltale has a reputation for developing games based on popular licenses which expand the universe of the original in unique ways, such as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.
These days, the best movie-to-video game translations aren’t direct adaptations, but sequels. Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Stranglehold (the sequel to Hard Boiled), and The Thing all served as sequels to the stories upon which they were based, and all benefited from the creative freedom such a setup allowed them. These games told new stories with established characters and, when possible, were able to utilize the original actors.
With that in mind, here are 12 Movies That Deserve Video Game Sequels.
12. Lethal Weapon
The crime-fighting adventures of detectives Riggs and Murtaugh concluded in 1998’s Lethal Weapon 4, and the series is currently being adapted for television. Creator Shane Black went on record saying he had a treatment for a fifth film which went nowhere after star Mel Gibson’s very public implosion; the film would have had Gibson’s Riggs, on the verge of retirement, dragging his old partner Murtaugh out of his own retirement for one last case. Presumably, gunfights and shoulder dislocations would ensue.
We would love to see a Lethal Weapon action adventure video game, with shooting, driving, and hand-t0-hand combat elements, all in a story worthy of the franchise, and starring the original cast, from Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, to Joe Pesci and Rene Russo. One of the magical things about video games is that an actor can play any role, regardless of age; if Lethal Weapon: The Game were to be somewhat based on Shane Black’s unfinished Lethal Weapon 5, it could feature numerous flashbacks to cases from earlier in Riggs and Murtaugh’s careers, so levels could feature the characters as they appeared back in the day, as well as their more “senior-citizen-chic” styles. Actually, both Riggs and Murtaugh served in the Vietnam War; why not feature levels to advance the backstories of our favorite Los Angeles Detectives by showing their experiences during the war?
11. Kill Bill
The Bride’s grisly tale of revenge had a somewhat definitive conclusion in Kill Bill: Volume 2, but director Quentin Tarantino has made clear his desire to continue the franchise in one way or another, either with prequel stories, or, preferably, a sequel which features Uma Thurman’s The Bride as the subject of another’s revenge. The protagonist would be the daughter of Vivica A. Fox’s character. After seeing her mother murdered by The Bride on her own vengeful rampage, the young woman vows to grow up to kill her.
How about, instead of continuing to wait for the cast to get old enough for this theoretical sequel to be viable, Tarantino just turns it into a video game? Maybe he feels burned by the god-awful adaptation of Reservoir Dogs for PS2, and we can’t blame him, but the sword-swinging action of the films would translate perfectly into a gory hack-and-slash title as our young anti-heroine carves a bloody swath across the world in search of The Bride. This seems like it would be the dream project of many developers (Platinum Games, anyone?), so if Tarantino were to express an interest and sort things out with The Weinstein Company, enthusiasm would surely run high for Kill Bill: Volume 3 in video game form.
10. Dirty Harry
Back in 2005, Warner Brothers announced that developer The Collective was working on a Dirty Harry video game for PS3 and Xbox 360. Unfortunately, the game was canceled and has yet to resurface. Clint Eastwood isn’t getting any younger, and we think it’s time for someone to resurrect San Francisco’s dirtiest detective before some idiotic studio executive decides to reboot the property with Gerard Butler as the leading man. *shudder*
Clint Eastwood should star as “Dirty” Harry Callahan one more time, not in a film, but in a video game, set in the 1970s. Sure, Eastwood’s voice is a bit more gravelly than it was back then, but some artistic license is a small price to pay to experience a new Dirty Harry story with the original star. We envision a dark and gritty storyline with lots of characters for Harry to piss off and occasionally shoot at with his “.44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world.” A Dirty Harry game should strike a fine balance between violent shootouts and deep characterization, while showing that Harry’s style of police work, while decidedly unethical, is nothing short of effective.
9. Indiana Jones
There have been a slew of Indiana Jones games over the years, of wildly varying quality, but with the exception of the classic point-and-click adventure Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, none are universally beloved as classic games. While titles like Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb, and even the Lego Indiana Jones games all had elements which fans cling to, none of them truly lived up to the name. Also, none of them starred Harrison Ford. In all of these titles, Indy was played by various sound-alike actors of underwhelming quality.
Now that Uncharted is finished, at least for the time being, it’s time for the once and future king of adventure to make a grand comeback in the world of video games. Harrison Ford is set to star in July 2019’s Indiana Jones 5, and we would love to see a big-budget video game to go along with it, starring Ford as the character. All we ask is that they rip off Uncharted as closely as possible.
8. Dick Tracy
1990’s Dick Tracy is a visually spectacular film, an old-timey comic strip come to life with bold color, excellent make-up, and Madonna at her foxiest. Unfortunately, numerous factors kept a sequel from being made, including a rights battle, which director/star Warren Beatty won in 2013. The only problem now is that, at 79 years old, Beatty might not be the best choice to lead a wild action film with fistfights and shootouts. Also, despite Beatty’s status as the universal king of all things sex, he might be a little too old for that aspect of the character, as well.
Still, the fans want Dick Tracy with Warren Beatty. They don’t want Son of Dick Tracy, Dick Tracy: The Next Generation, or a reboot starring Gerard Butler; we want Dick (Tracy), and we will settle for nothing less than Warren Beatty’s Dick (Tracy).
A Dick Tracy video game could be set right after the first film and continue the story as if no time had passed, with Beatty reprising his beloved role. We can picture an open-world version of the movie’s comic book fantasy version of “The City,” with crimes to solve, perps to chase, and a nightlife to patrol. We imagine a Dick Tracy video game sequel to be somewhat akin to L.A. Noire, but with a more vivid color palette and a relaxed, freewheeling tone.
7. Mad Max
Avalanche Studios, the developers behind the chaotically beautiful Just Cause series, released Mad Max in 2015 to generally decent reviews, but the game was seriously lacking in storytelling, as well as an identity for its lead character, Max Rockatansky. Instead of hiring Mel Gibson or Tom Hardy, who played the character in the original trilogy and 2015’s Fury Road, respectively, the developers gave him a generic design and hired actor Bren Foster (The Last Ship) to provide the voice of the character.
Should Avalanche make a return trip to the wasteland, we would love for them to get Mel Gibson to reprise the character for voice and motion capture work. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, while fun, was not a grand finale for “the man they call Max.” Mel is in shape enough to play the character, but with Fury Road providing a quasi-reboot new take on the character, it seems highly unlikely for Mel to play Max on the big screen. However, it would be nice for a video game side project to provide closure to Mel Gibson’s version of the Road Warrior.
The world of Christopher Nolan’s Inception is one of boundless imagination; the setting is inside people’s dreams, where anything can happen, logic or reason be damned. While the action of the film would appear to lend itself to an Uncharted-style third-person action title, the premise is so wild that this type of game shouldn’t be limited to one genre, instead shifting gears depending on which dreams are being explored. The movie featured car chases, gravity-defying fist fights, gun battles, and snowmobile chases, so a game should use those elements as its first step, a jumping-off point to even wilder possibilities.
Story-wise, we can’t really envision our proposed game trying to resolve the film’s cliffhanger ending, so it should instead feature a new lead character and team, expanding the world of the film’s unique blend of lo-fi science fiction with corporate espionage and low-key, everyman heroes.
5. Death Wish
The late Charles Bronson starred in no less than five Death Wish movies. While we do not talk about part five, the first two are intellectual dramas punctuated by brutal violence, and parts three and four are all-out action movies with enough bullets and explosions to fill a large war zone.
While Bronson obviously can’t provide voice work for Paul Kersey, we would still love to take control of his likeness and hunt the streets of an open-world New York, looking for scum to blow away with extreme prejudice. We’re thinking a cross between Manhunt and Grand Theft Auto. The moral grey area inhabited by Kersey makes for deep storytelling or impressive action, depending on which film one prefers, but it also would make one hell of a righteously violent and provocative video game.
4. The Matrix
There have been three video games based on The Matrix, but none of them are remembered with particular fondness. Enter the Matrix was a unique novelty in the way it tied-in to The Matrix Reloaded, but was hampered by shoddy mechanics and a range of technical bugs; The Matrix: Path of Neo was a run-of-the-mill action game which lacked the voice cast from the films, and The Matrix Online was an ambitious experiment which ultimately failed to pan out.
The Matrix Online attempted to tell the story after the polarizing ending of The Matrix Revolutions, but the game was plagued with issues from the start, and concluded in decidedly unsatisfactory fashion. The Wachowskis haven’t really had a hit outside of The Matrix series, so we think they should return to their Cyberpunk world and create The Matrix 4, as the type of action/adventure video game the films so strongly evoke.
Tron has often worked better as a game than as a film. The original 1982 movie was accompanied by an arcade game which earned universal acclaim and was praised for its graphics, as well as its addictive and varied gameplay. In 2003, Tron 2.0 was released for home computers, serving as a sequel to the original film, and earned strongly positive reviews, though it failed to reach audiences and sold rather poorly, ultimately becoming something of a cult classic.
The second film, Tron: Legacy, earned mixed reviews and did solid business at the box office, earning a respectable $400 million worldwide. Unfortunately, Disney decided not to move forward with Tron 3. Tron is set within computers and video games, so why not just make the sequel a game? Tron 2.0 had the right idea, though it was stricken from canon by Legacy; the world of Tron has lots of room to grow from the open-ended nature of Legacy’s conclusion, and we think a video game is the perfect avenue to explore the future of one of Disney’s most under-appreciated franchises.
2. The Italian Job (1969)
“Hang on lads, I’ve got a great idea… Uh…”
So goes the ending of The Italian Job, one of the greatest, and most literal, cliffhanger endings of all time. The British heist film was to resolve the predicament of its leads in a sequel… Which was never made. The film was eventually remade starring Marky Mark and Charlize Theron, but, while a fun and harmless film in its own right, it failed to capture the magic of the original.
We know it’s been nearly 50 years since the original film, but we still want to know what happens to Charlie and the gold! Michael Caine is still alive and kicking, and we would love to see the long-abandoned sequel to The Italian Job see new life as a video game, a light-hearted series of high-octane car chases, punctuated with the occasional explosion, and complete with an original story which continues right where the first film left off.
1. James Bond
There have been a ton of James Bond video games. A few of them were even pretty good! But one thing always bugged us. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is not just one of our favorite 007 outings, but it’s also one of the best action movies of all time, and it ends with a shocking twist ending which begged for a sequel. Unfortunately, after canning OHMSS lead George Lazenby, EON Productions brought original Bond actor Sean Connery back for what many fans consider to be the absolute worst 007 film, Diamonds Are Forever, which all but completely ignores OHMSS.
We want to see a true follow-up to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, set in the 60s, starring George Lazenby as Bond. It should be a third-person action/adventure, a more polished and narrative-focused version of the template put forward by the criminally under-rated 007: Blood Stone. Actually, now that we think of it, how about a series of Bond games, all original stories by different developers and spanning multiple genres, with each game starring a different Bond actor? Telltale could create a dialogue-based title starring Roger Moore; Rare could get back into the FPS genre with a new Pierce Brosnan story, and Obsidian could make their long-awaited follow-up to Alpha Protocol, but have it be a James Bond title starring Sean Connery!
Hey, it could happen.
So, what do you think? Do you agree with our choices? What movies would you like to see continued as video games? Sound off in the comments below!