Video game developer DONTNOD Entertainment's latest, Vampyr, is being optioned into a TV show. DONTNOD is primarily known for the Life is Strange series but Vampyr was an ambitious new gamble for the studio. Unlike Life is Strange, which has an interactive visual novel style set-up, Vampyr attempted to combine a moody gothic story with action-oriented gameplay.
Also unlike Life is Strange, Vampyr didn't manage to find a huge audience. The game received mixed reviews, but was praised for its story and environment. Luckily, and apropos as the game concerns the undead, Vampyr might be getting a second life on TV screens.
Deadline reports that Fox 21 Television Studios have optioned the television rights to Vampyr. Fox 21 is developing the title in conjunction with McG’s Wonderland Sound & Vision and DJ2 Entertainment. McG, who has executive produced TV shows from Supernatural to Chuck, is set to direct and executive produce the project. It's currently unclear if Vampyr is being considered to become a TV movie or an ongoing series.
It does appear, though, that the television adaptation will follow the story of the game or at least be heavily inspired by it. Vampyr is set London during 1918, immediately following World War I. Players are given control of Dr. Jonathan Reid, a young doctor who has just returned home from the war. Upon hitting London again, Jonathon is infected by a vampire and turned into an undead blood-sucking creature. Jonathan is haunted by his desire to drink blood, which is at odds with his doctoral oath to do no harm. When a deadly, possibly supernatural, virus starts sweeping London, Jonathan is determined to discover its cause. The game gives players the option to make Jonathan as bloodthirsty as possible or control his taste for blood completely. Obviously the TV show would make a definitive decision one way or another with Jonathan's morality on his quest.
Vampyr's development into a TV show (or movie) in its very earliest stages. There's not even a potential network or streaming platform attached. If the project did make it to series, though, it would be rather unique. There have been video game TV shows but they've mostly been cartoons directly aimed at children. Typically, studios that option rights to video games try to recreate the story as a movie. The results are almost never ideal with some of the worst movies ever created being video game adaptations. There's no guarantee that a TV series could adapt a video game better. However, there's a higher chance since a TV show, like a video game, has far more time to develop its story and characters. Vampyr being optioned might represent a change in the way Hollywood approaches video game adaptations.
Vampyr isn't the only video game project in TV development either. Castlevania has been turned into a successful show on Netflix. Meanwhile, the long-awaited Halo TV series is finally becoming a reality with a projected premiere date of 2020. Halo and Castlevania do have bigger audiences, or more recognizable names, than Vampyr. So it's hardly surprising that both have found some manner of success. Yet if Showtime's Halo series performs well and Vampyr's project gets off the ground, there could be a lot more video game TV shows in the future.