Video game movie adaptations are almost always incredibly disappointing. The reason for that is because it’s incredibly difficult to transfer hundreds of hours’ worth of story into 2 hours of film. A TV series gives more of an opportunity to tell our favourite stories.
With the upcoming Witcher Netflix series heading into pre-production, I got to thinking about game universes which would make great TV shows. These are stories and worlds that we’ve already spent many hours in. Imagine hundreds of hours of new content, storylines and characters but without the game over.
1. The Elder Scrolls
The Elder Scrolls games have so much potential. Imagine a show centred around one of the many factions within the series. The Blades, The Thieves Guild, The Mages Guild, The Dark Brotherhood (and indeed their rivals, the Morag Tong). Let’s take the Thieves Guild as an example – it might be a procedural drama which begins with the guild members discussing the next target and then travelling across Tamriel to find and then steal the item they’ve been tasked with taking. All while avoiding the local guards. Think of all the great heist movies and tv shows you’ve seen before. This could be Ocean’s 11 but with monsters and magic and Khajiit.
Or we could have a story based around the The Blades. Working as a kind of police force clearing out the mines and other areas that have been taken over by bandits or beasts. There are limitations to what would be possible with TES on TV, because of the various different races in the world elevating the special effects costs, but can you honestly say you wouldn’t want to see Alan Tudyk playing a wise-cracking Orc?
The alternative reality of the Fallout series opens up two separate worlds to explore. First of all there is the obvious post-war wasteland. We could see stories lived out in areas that we already know from the games like the NCR or The Capital Wasteland or even further afield in the US. Harold’s journey across America is also a possibility. Or life in a Vault – but who would play Gary? That last suggestion really intrigues me. I’d be really interested in seeing how Vault 108 ended up how it did in Fallout 3.
The other option of course is Pre-War America. Mad Men with robots and lasers. The build up to the Resource Wars, Operation Anchorage, the annexation of Canada; these would all provide an interesting backdrop with which to tell a story. Operation Anchorage was my favourite DLC from Fallout 3 and I’d love to see an expansion on the battle from the perspective of several different combatants. A Dunkirk style of storytelling I think would work really well with this scenario.
Yes, I know they’ve tried this twice before and failed. Where the movies went wrong, for me at least, is that they focused more on action and not enough on the stealth aspects that make the game so much fun.
In my mind I envision a show that’s an amalgamation of The Blacklist and Sherlock. Each episode starts with footage of the target(s) doing whatever it is that drew the ire of the client, all narrated by Diana giving the contract to Agent 47. After the prologue each episode would have 47 finding their location and then reconnoitring the area to find the best way to go about taking them down. A montage of him planning out his mission meticulously and with contingencies. Using clues he has discovered to gain close access. Wearing disguises, causing “accidents” – basically performing each mission the way the developers encourage us to when playing.
4. Mass Effect
Mass Effect has all of the components to make a fantastic sci-fi saga on par with Star Trek or Star Wars. The lore available within the games is great, but I feel it could do with expanding. The rise of the Krogan and their subsequent defeat due to Genophage is something that I want to see more of. Everyone’s favourite characters in the series were Wrex or Garrus. I’d love to learn more about Wrex and the effect that the Genophage has had on his people. I’d love to hear the Salarian ambassador to the Citadel explain to the Council why they feel introducing the Genophage is the correct solution to dealing with the Krogan uprising.
Then of course there’s Shepard’s back-story. Although a lot of it was down to player choice, there’s no reason not to allow screenwriters to pick one and then expand on it. Maybe as an example Shepard was a spacer, grew up on-board Alliance ships and stations. This would allow for a relationship with Shepard’s parents. We could get to see the Thresher Maw attack that’s behind the Sole Survivor backstory selection.
5. Future Cop: LAPD
For anyone who doesn’t remember it, Future Cop was a 3rd person action game on the PS1 and PC released in 1998. Players would take control of an X1-Alpha pilot. The X1-Alpha was a robot designed to fight against the serious crime on the streets of Los Angeles in the year 2098. Kind of like the Jaegers in Pacific Rim or the Titans of Titanfall. You’d be tasked with going into an area of the city and taking out all of the criminals within usually with one specific target required for completion. I spent many hours playing co-op of this game with my friends when I was younger.
I watch a lot of crime dramas, I don’t know if you can tell that from what I’ve suggested so far, and what I would really like to see is one with some strong sci-fi elements. I think Future Cop has those elements and has a strong base from which to build into a strong series. You could see the life of the pilots both within and outwith the X1-Alpha. The rise of the criminals in this futuristic Los Angeles and the subsequent Crime War would make for great television.
These are just some video game universes that I thought would make great TV series. There are obviously many, many more out there that would make for entertaining viewing. What game would you like to see transformed into a TV show? Let us know in the comments.