Despite their less than stellar history being adapted into movies, video games are continuing to get turned into what Hollywood hopes will be big blockbusters. There are lists detailing the worst video game movies, from sci-fi live-action flops like Wing Commander (1999) and sucky vampire movies like Bloodrayne (2005). They are also some of the biggest box office bombs, like Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001), which lost over $94 million.
But video game movie best lists do exist, even if they’re not as fun to talk about as the failures. Some video games have also had enduring franchises (for better or for worse), such as Resident Evil. These films have lasted for over a decade, with the sixth and (supposedly) final film, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, coming out in 2017.
While upcoming video game movies like The Witcher and Mass Effect may not come as much of a surprise, the following adaptations will raise a few eyebrows. They may end up stuck in development hell, but as of right now, every video game movie adaptation on this list is currently in the works. So check out 15 Video Game Movie Adaptations You Didn’t Know Were Coming.
15. Fruit Ninja
Fruit Ninja is an Australian game on iPhone devices that requires swiping your finger across your screen to cut up fruit. The game is extremely popular, with over 1 billion downloads, and at one point it was the second most downloaded iOS app. With films based on phone apps like The Angry Birds Movies (2016), it’s not too surprising that studios would start looking to mobile games for feature films; but it’s still a bit out of left field to see a game about slicing fruit being made into a feature-length film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fruit Ninja will be a live-action family comedy. The movie is being produced by Tripp Vinson under Vinson Films production. The script will be written by J.P. Lavin and Chad Damiani, who recently adapted How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack. What mobile game could be next? Flappy Bird? Candy Crush? If this film makes it to theaters and does well, there’s a good chance these games will end up with the big screen treatment as well.
14. Sly Cooper
The Sly Cooper games are platform stealth adventures starring the anthropomorphic raccoon, Sly Cooper, the super intelligent turtle Bentley, and the muscular hippopotamus Murray. Sly is the most recent decendent in a long line of master thieves who pass down their various techniques in the family tome known as the “Thievius Raccoonus”. The Coopers only steal from other thieves, so Sly and his “Cooper Gang” pull off heists around the world on the most dangerous criminals. There have been four games in the series and the first three games were remastered in HD.
A trailer has already been unveiled for the film with a release date of 2016. It is an American-Canadian CGI film that will be adapting the storyline from the first game, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus (2002). In the game, Sly has to recover the lost Thievius Raccoonus from the Fiendish Five. The writer and director of the film is Kevin Munroe, and it will be produced by Brad Foxhoven and David Wohl. Voice actor Ian James Corlett will replace Kevin Miller as Sly Cooper’s voice actor. Matt Olsen will return to voicing Bentley and Chris Murphy will reprise his role as Murray. The characters of Clockwerk (the leader of the Fiendish Five) and Carmelita Fox (the inspector after Sly, as well as his love interest) are also confirmed to be in the film.
Yes, the classic Asteroids (1979) Atari arcade game will become a full-length movie. It is a space shooter in which the player controls a spaceship and shoots at asteroids and the occasional UFO. The game was one of the first hits during the golden age of video games. Asteroids will be a live-action film produced by Universal Studios.
The script is being rewritten by F.Scott Frazier (The Numbers Station). Frazier has worked on video game projects before, including the Atari game Tetris Evolution (2007) as a game evaluation team member. He also did quality assurance on the games Hot Wheels: Stunt Track Challenge (2004) and Fairly Odd Parents: Breakin da Rules (2004). Frazier is currently writing xXx: Return of Xander Cage, due out in 2017.
The previous draft of Asteroids was written by Matt Lopez, Evan Spiliotopoulos, and Jez Butterworth. Producer Di Bonaventura previously stated the film would be about “…two brothers – who have to go through a seminal experience to figure out their relationship, against this huge backdrop”. The movie has been in development since Universal acquired the rights in 2009. There have not been a lot of recent updates about the movie, so it may be in danger of development hell. A release date has not been announced.
12. Temple Run
Another popular mobile app, Temple Run is a 3D endless running game. It is about an adventurer running through an ancient temple, dodging obstacles and being chased by three monkeys. A sequel was developed and released in 2013. The games have been downloaded over one billion times. New obstacles and power-ups were introduced and the three monkeys were changed to one giant monkey called Cuchanck. Originally, there were four different characters players could choose from, but there are now 22. Some of the characters include real-life figures such as the fastest runner in the world Usain Bolt, martial artist Bruce Lee, and several NFL players including Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Calvin Johnson.
The Temple Run movie is being made into a supernatural adventure movie by Warner Bros. In an article on The Hollywood Reporter, the film will be produced by David Hayer (Harry Potter). The story involves an adventurer who steals an idol and is pursued by demons. A release date has not been announced.
11. Mafia Wars
Mafia Wars (2008) is a social networking game in which players control gangsters and build a mafia. They can fight and rob other players, as well as do jobs and missions to gain experience and other rewards. It was available on Facebook, and as an iPhone app, until it was shut down for good in 2016.
Amazingly, this shuttered social networking game is being turned into a movie. Though not a lot of information has been released since 2010 (meaning development hell is looking pretty good right about now), Pajiba reported the producer would be Ted Field and the studio in charge of the project would be Radar Pictures. This is the same studio that backed Swing Vote, The Invention of Lying, All About Steve, Everybody’s Fine, and The Box.
It’s also kind of surprising this is getting a movie because of the lawsuit the game underwent. A similar online game called Mob Wars sued the company and the case was settled for $7-$9 million. Maybe they’ll sue them again if the movie ever comes to be?
10. Sega Properties
Over 40 of Sega’s games could be in the process of becoming movies, television shows, and digital series. This is a joint venture made by Sega and Hakuhodo DY called Stories International, with producer Evan Cholfin being the head of development and production. Some possible titles include the Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage, Virtua Fighter, and House of the Dead (previously adapted by Uwe Boll in 2003) franchises.
One of the more promising probable titles is Altered Beast. This game was about a Roman centurion resurrected by Zeus who battles the Underworld in order to rescue the goddess Athena. The centurion has the ability to become a human-animal hybrid. Another weird possible entry could be Crazy Taxi, a score attack/racing video game, though that may end up becoming a good bizarre digital series rather than a movie. The one game that is definitely being made into a film is Shinobi. Deadline reported it is currently in development and being produced by Marc Platt (Wanted, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World).
9. RollerCoaster Tycoon
The RollerCoaster Tycoon games are simulations where the player builds and runs a theme park. The goal of the games is ostensibly to raise the park’s rank and get more guests, but everyone knows the real goal has always been to find new and creative ways to kill the park’s guests. What better bragging rights can you have then saying you killed 4,000 people in RollerCoaster Tycoon? There were three RollerCoaster Tycoon games, as well as expansion packs, for computers. The fourth game was a free mobile game in which the players could make in-app purchases.
Information for this movie came out way back in 2010. Apparently, Heat Vision Blog reported that Sony acquired the rights from Atari, and Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid remake) is going to be heading development and be the executive producer. The two writers of The Zookeeper (2011), David Ronn and Jay Scherick, were tapped for the film. It will be a live-action/CGI hybrid.
A classic from the “Golden Age of Video Games,” Centipede (1980) involves controlling a ship and shooting incoming centipedes, spiders, scorpions and fleas. The ship can only go to the left and the right at the bottom of the screen while the insects come closer and closer, a bit like in Space Invaders. It was followed up by the much less successful and oft-forgotten Millipede (1982). A new version of Centipede was released in 1998 on several systems. Then there was a very different take on the franchise with the release of Centipede: Infestation (2011). The game took place in a post-apocalyptic world invaded by giant insects and featured a run ‘n gun shooting style.
That may be what we end up seeing on the big screen. According to Deadline, Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films made a deal with Atari to make the film. Centipede will be produced by Randall Emmett and George Furla (Lone Survivor). The executive producers of the film include Atari, Stephen Belafonte, Wayne Marc Godfrey, and Robert Jones.
7. Gran Turismo
A racing game, Gran Turismo (Italian for “Grand Touring” or “Grand Tourer”) is supposed to reflect the performance of cars. It features licensed reproductions of real-world automobiles. There was even a ceremony in which exhibitors had the opportunity to have their car become a driveable vehicle in a future version of Gran Turismo. The game began in 1997 and since then, there have been six main games, with the most recent one coming out in 2016. Developers are creating a second generation of Gran Turismo games beginning with Gran Turismo Sport (scheduled for 2017)
But that’s not everything that’s in store for the Gran Turismo franchise. The racing game will also be a live-action feature film. Sony is developing the project with screenwriter-siblings Jon and Erich Hoeber, who worked on the Red films. They will be working with Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion and TRON: Legacy). The plot and release date of the series has not been announced.
6. Metro 2033
The Metro 2033 (English language version released in 2010) game is a first-person action shooter based on a story of the same name by Dmitry Glukhovsky. It takes place in Moscow after a nuclear war. There is so much radiation in the air that survivors need to underground in the metro tunnels. If they go to the surface, they need to wear masks for protection. The player controls Artyom, whose missions is to destroy an evil mutant race called the Dark Ones. There was a follow-up to the game in Metro: Last Light (2013). There was also a compilation pack, Metro Redux (2014).
This story could actually make for quite a compelling movie. The film was originally picked up by MGM back in 2012 and producer Mark Johnson (The Chronicles of Narnia and Galaxy Guest). However, Johnson is no longer attached to the project. Instead, Michael De Luca, Stephen L’Heureux, and Dmitry Glukhovsky are working together to create the film. Cinema Blend mentions author Glukhovsky previously adapted his work into a video game rather than a film because he felt there would be more creative freedom.
5. Missile Command
Missile Command (1980) was released during the “Golden Age of Video Games.” In it, layers protect six California cities from ballistic missiles. The game’s National Missile Defense parallels the Cold War time period it was developed in. Polygon interviewed lead developer Dave Theurer, who actually had nightmares about the cities being destroyed. He commented, “I would dream that I was hiking in the mountains above the Bay Area, with the fabulous views of the San Francisco Bay. In the dream, I’d see the missile streaks coming in and know that the blast would hit me while hiking there on the mountain…. It tapered off after the game, but still, I had them for a couple years afterward, maybe one every two or three months.”
This upcoming film has the same people behind it as the other Atari game-becoming-movie, Centipede. The deal between Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films for the Centipede film was also made with Atari to make the Missile Command film. It will be produced by Randall Emmett and George Furla (Lone Survivor). The executive producers are Atari, Stephen Belafonte, Wayne Marc Godfrey, and Robert Jones.
4. Nintendo Movies
1993‘s Super Mario Bros. is perhaps the worst video game movie of all time. Since then, another live-action Mario film has not been attempted. Now, we may be seeing multiple Nintendo related films, sooner rather than later. But based on the Mario film, they’re not planning on making them live-action. In an interview with The Verge, Nintendo CEO and president Tatsumi Kimishima was asked if Zelda or Mario would be among the films made. His official word: “We’d like to use IP that is popular with everyone. I can’t say ‘it’ll be Mario’ — just that we’ll do things that people will be familiar with.”
If they do go the Mario route, maybe they could even base that film on some of the craziest Super Mario fan theories. They’re certainly more original than the traditional Mario Bros. story. Other possible films could include The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Metroid, Kid Icarus, Fire Emblem, and Kirby. Maybe they could even do a huge crossover inspired by Super Smash Bros. Then, of course, there are the inevitable Pokemon movies. The possibilities are enormous, as is the potential of these films… if the creators play their cards right and don’t end up making another Super Mario Bros.
The original Rampage (1986) game involved players controlling giant monsters and fighting against military forces, wreaking massive property damage along the way. The level is complete when the entire city is decimated. Playable characters include the King-Kong like George who was transformed by an experimental vitamin, the Godzilla-like Lizzie who was transformed by a radioactive lake, and the werewolf Ralph who was transformed by a food additive.
It was announced by actor and semi-retried professional wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson that he would be making a film based on Rampage. Johnson talked about the film: “We have a shot to raise the bar and make something cool with this one as the basic storyline is three mutated gigantic monsters (Silverback, Alligator and Wolf) destroy major cities and landmarks across the US. … If you were a fan of the video game like I was, then you KNOW how bad ass and fun this movie can be. I’ll try not to screw it up.” He will probably play the lead, but this has not been confirmed.
One of the most recognizable games by gamers and non-gamers alike, Tetris is a tile-matching puzzle game originally released in 1984 that has gone through multiple iterations. Originally created in Russia, Tetris marks the first time an entertainment software was exported from the USSR to the US. In the game, “Tetriminos” falls from the sky and the player controls how they land. When an entire row at the bottom of the board is covered, that row disappears. The player must keep the pieces from reaching the top of the board.
This is probably the most bizarre game to be made into a movie on this list, but it’s even more likely to come to fruition than games like Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command. The film will be a U.S.-China production shooting in China. It will be the first project of Threshold Global Studios, which was founded by China’s Bruno Wu and Mortal Kombat producer Larry Kasanoff. The Hollywood Reporter says the “epic sci-fi thriller” will start shooting next year and will have an $80 million budget with a Western and Chinese ensemble cast. Line producer Dane Smith (Transformers, Harry Potter, Spider-Man) will be using unique Tetris VFX created specifically for the film.
1. Dead Island
A more recent zombie game, Dead Island (2011) is a franchise still currently going, with a sequel to the original game set for 2016. There was also an expansion, Dead Island: Riptide (2014). This is a first-person action role-playing survival horror video game that follows survivors on an island infested with zombies. There isn’t much of a story, which definitely let down players who saw the amazing trailer for the game (that won a Golden Lion in Cannes at the International Festival of Creativity). Hopefully this will be rectified in the upcoming film.
Lionsgate acquired the rights to make the game into a movie back in 2011, but after stalling the project seemed dead in the water. It wasn’t until 2014 when Occupant Entertainment and publisher Deep Silver breathed life into the film once again. In a comment to Deadline, Occupant partners Joe Neurauter and Felipe Marino said, “Deep Silver has created a highly successful game franchise based on very cinematic, widely viewed and well received trailers, which provide a great template for launching a film franchise with a distinctive and commercial take on the zombie apocalypse.”
Which video game movie adaptation are you looking forward to the most? What one do you think will be the biggest disaster? Let us know in the comments section.