While superheroes have dominated the box office for the past several years, comic books aren’t the only possible source for fresh new franchise content. With the impending arrival of Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed, video game movies could be finally getting their due on the big screen.
In fact, many modern video games could prove to serve as even better inspirations for shared universe franchises than other content, considering they are so heavy on world building. Even if the game being adapted already has an established main plot, the supplemental backstory is often sufficient to create additional stories outside of the main events of the game. This is especially true for multiplayer games and MMOs. Here are 12 Multiplayer Games Perfect for a Shared Movie Universe.
In the distant future, humanity has populated the distant galaxy known as New Eden. Split into 5 major factions, the residents of New Eden are an intergalactic space faring people that have all developed different ship technologies as an expression of their faction’s strengths. In these ships, humanity harvests resources, trades with other fleets, and engages in war.
While EVE does have a loose larger plot, many overarching story elements are influenced by player driven, in-game events, with massive in-game battles often establishing the actual power balances written into the story.
There are a couple of ways to go about making an EVE Online movies. The first is simply embracing the massive interstellar sandbox and creating brand new stories set in the EVE universe. The second — and the one most likely to be embraced by EVE fans — is to actually base the movie around the massive in-game events that the EVE universe already revolves around.
Taking on some of the massive player battles in EVE’s history and using them as a backdrop would not only be a clever gimmick, but would also remain true to the spirit of the game, while still allowing for a fair amount of creator freedom.
In a distant galaxy in the distant future, a struggle over ancient alien technology on the planet Auraxis erupts into an all out 3 way war between the Terran Republic, the New Conglomerate, and the Vanu Sovereignty.
Light on story, heavy on action, Planetside 2 has a great future military sci-fi aesthetic, and a massive war zone setting. The game is heavily dependent on players fighting in groups, forming their own squads and platoons, providing the perfect setting for multiple unique movies set within the Planetside universe.
The open ended story in the game also would allow for a ton of creative freedom, essentially allowing a Planetside franchise the ability to just use the branding and aesthetic and run with whatever story works best, instead of being constrained to a predefined narrative.
After the kingdom of Ascalon was forever altered by a cataclysmic event called the Searing, the human inhabitants of the realm soon found they were no longer the dominant species on the continent of Tyria. The savage warrior race, the Charr, had invaded the land, but Adelbern, King of Ascalon, rallied his people, mounting a stout defense against the Charr.
Guild Wars is a hyper stylized fantasy MMORPG that pushes the setting beyond simple sword and sorcery. Since the campaigns are purchased independently, the game is already well structured for adaptation into a live-action franchise, where each campaign can serve as inspiration for individual movie installments.
Built into the multi-campaign structure also comes multiple diverse professions, skills, and continents, allowing for the telling of multiple independent stories that converge to tell a larger cohesive narrative, perfectly suited for a shared universe.
In Rift, players defend the realm of Talera from the encroaching forces of Regulos, the Dragon of Extinction, who enter the realm through rifts in the elemental planes. Once these rifts are open, they begin spawning monsters until the players of Talera are able to destroy the monsters and close the rift.
On the surface, Rift is just another fantasy MMORPG, but with the incorporation of the rifts, there’s all sorts of craziness entering Talera to spice up the genre. Diverse character creation and crazy monsters makes for some insane universe design.
Although the plot motivations are straightforward and video game-y, the world building of Rift is too enticing to ignore when looking for possible movie franchises. The game includes several mechanics that would essentially give writers carte blanche to go crazy and introduce whatever radical character or creature designs they want.
League of Legends
After the land of Runeterra is torn apart by war, the League of Legends is formed as a contest by which to end political conflicts with minimal destruction. The League establishes arenas in which summoners call forth champions and hordes of minions to conduct battles on behalf of each faction.
The abundance of playable champions, arenas, and loose narrative all combine to create a universe that’s well suited for extrapolation on the big screen. There are so many characters in League of Legends that it would be nearly impossible to do them justice in a single film, or even a single story arc, making a shared universe a great fit.
With as many as 67 million players per month at its peak, the franchise also has the benefit of a massive pre-existing fan base, promising the potential of the kind of box office attention no Hollywood executive should be able to pass up.
Originally settled by the Atlas Corporation, the planet of Prometheus promised boundless profits with the discovery of ancient alien technology. Much to the dismay of Atlas, seasonal changes of Prometheus resulted in the appearance of many deadly native species, eventually forcing the corporation to cease activities in the area.
Seeking to discover their own riches, treasure hunters and soldiers of fortune flock to the nearby planet of Pandora in search of the fabled Vault, which is said to contain a multitude of alien weapons and technology.
While the game only focuses on the 4 main player characters, there are dozens of excellent NPC characters worthy of getting their own story set in this universe. The real place that the Borderlands universe shines is in the nearly infinite variety of weapons and equipment just waiting to be utilized in live action on the big screen.
In Titanfall, humanity has expanded far from Earth, and the frontier territories are loosely settled, but they’re still the Wild West when it comes to civilization and government. The frontier can be a dangerous place with the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation and the Frontier Militia regularly finding themselves at odds, battling each other in giant mech suits known as Titans.
Without a campaign mode (which is coming to Titanfall 2), Titanfall incorporates small story elements into multiplayer play, but the larger plot is still open for expansion with fresh cinematic storytelling, simply utilizing the world building already established in the game.
Inspired by classic science fiction aesthetics like Blade Runner, Star Wars, and Ghost in the Shell, Titanfall adopts a proven sci-fi look and feel, while differentiating itself through the incorporation of the Titan suit combat.
The Secret World
Tackling legends of secret societies, conspiracy theories, ancient civilizations, mysticism, and alternate history, The Secret World takes players into a reality bending struggle against supernatural forces hidden in the modern day world.
Drawing inspiration from a combination of Indiana Jones and the works of HP. Lovecraft and Stephen King, The Secret World presents a unique blending of mythologies perfectly suited for a cerebral and supernatural shared universe franchise.
This unique genre doesn’t only allow Hollywood to introduce visual and tonal elements that haven’t had much screen time previously, but it also establishes a vast world in which unique, separate, and intimate stories can be told before bringing them together in larger crossover fashion.
Set in a universe that Bungie has dubbed as “mythic science fiction,“ Destiny tells the story of humanity’s last survivors attempting to revive a mystical being known as the Traveler. Starting out in Earth’s last remaining holdout, The City, the Guardians travel the solar system, combating the ancient enemies of the Traveler, the Darkness.
Destiny is heavily influenced by multiple popular science fiction brands, including Halo, the Matrix, and Star Wars, with a dash of Lord of the Rings and classic Westerns thrown in for good measure. This brilliant combination of genres perfectly equips the world of Destiny to serve as an amazing new shared universe sandbox.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
We know what you’re thinking: “Star Wars is already a shared universe!” but with The Old Republic, the Star Wars shared universe has the opportunity to be even more massive than it already is. Star Wars lore is vast enough to build a universe of shared universes.
Set thousands of years before the events seen in the Star Wars franchise, The Old Republic opens the door to an era so far removed from the Star Wars we’re familiar with that the storytelling opportunities are boundless.
All the currently slated stand-alone Star Wars movies are some sort of spin-off of, inspired by events that occur in the main episodic saga, but The Old Republic has an opportunity to be a spin-off saga, not just a one-off ultra prequel.
Free from any major continuity constraints, Star Wars movies set during the events of SWTOR have the ability to tell stories as intimate as the adventures of the crew of a specific ship, or as massive as a full on war between the Jedi and the Sith Empire.
Elder Scrolls Online
After years of putting out the most popular fantasy RPGs, Bethesda took the Elder Scrolls universe to the realm of MMOs. Like the 5 preceding games in the franchise, Elder Scrolls Online takes place in the fictional fantasy world of Tamriel, including the rich lore and history that chronicles the various species and groups that live in that world.
With the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series all completed, the big screen fantasy genre is lacking any quality productions of an aesthetic similar to that of Middle Earth, an aesthetic embodied by Tamriel in Elder Scrolls Online.
The best part about adapting a game like ESO is the fact that there is no fixed major character or plot thread that a movie would be required to follow, making it perfect fodder for a shared movie universe. Just like the actual players, each movie could develop a unique character that has specific class and joins a different faction, yet still provides ample opportunities for character crossovers in a team-up movie, providing a cinematic version of the very same thrill that draws players to play Elder Scrolls Online.
Final Fantasy XIV Online
The Final Fantasy franchise has been a central fixture of the gaming industry for years, and remains one of the best selling franchises out there. Final Fantasy XIV Online is no exception.
Adept at bending genres, Final Fantasy XIV stretches the high fantasy genre into science fiction, steampunk, and beyond. Just watching a simple trailer will confound anyone attempting to pin it to a single genre.
The extreme diversity of Final Fantasy XIV is just begging for movie adaptations. A Final Fantasy shared universe could even be comprised of unique genre films, coming together in a truly unique blended team up.
Have you played any other multiplayer games that you think are perfectly suited for live action movie franchises? Let us hear all about it in the comments!