12 Dream Video Game Movies and TV Shows


It’s well documented that the history of the video game movie adaptation has been a mixed one, to say the least. But, with recent hits such as Netflix’s Arcane and Castlevania series, as well as a promising(?) looking Super Mario movie on the horizon, we may have finally turned a corner.

With a brighter future ahead of us, I’ve decided to attach directors to 12 dream video game movies and TV shows, that I think Hollywood would be frankly foolish to pass on. Sure, most of these games would probably benefit from being left exactly as that, but let’s have a bit of fun, shall we? 

James Cameron’s Titanfall 2

Let’s start big. And blockbusters don’t get much bigger than when Terminator, Aliens, and Titanic director James Cameron is at the helm. Arguably the best first-person shooter campaign ever created, Titanfall 2 would be an incredible sight to see in his hands – a time-travel subplot, one man’s heartbreaking relationship to a sentient AI, a shit ton of mechs – it has all the hallmarks of a Cameron action movie. We’d need him to hurry up and finish his 17 Avatar movies first, but I reckon it would be well worth the wait. 

Kathryn Bigelow’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

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Director of both The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow is the master of the modern war movie. Put the already cinematic story of 2007’s Modern Warfare in her hands and we could be looking at something special. She’s well-versed in stories of the darker, more shrouded side of war seen beyond the frontlines and ones where governments don’t necessarily have their people’s best interests at heart. All Ghillied Up, the shooter’s standout mission, contains all the trademark tension of a Bigelow action sequence, and something I’d love to see on the big screen.

Mike Flanagan’s What Remains of Edith Finch

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Let’s scale things down a bit from global conflicts to family ones. What Remains of Edith Finch is the story of a seemingly cursed family told through a variety of beautifully crafted vignettes. Most of all though, it’s irrepressibly sad at times. Director Mike Flanagan is largely known for his horror movies and TV shows – and while Edith Finch isn’t really a horror game – there’s something about this fit that just works. Maybe it’s the heart-wrenching family drama at the heart of his Haunting of Hill House adaptation or the titular house full of character that it takes place in, but a similarly structured limited series focusing on each member of the Finch family just sounds perfect to me. 

David Lowery’s Shadow of the Colossus

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Also mournful in tone is Team Ico’s 2005 masterpiece Shadow of the Colossus – probably the first truly cinematic game I remember playing and one that would translate beautifully to the big screen. One person’s journey through the corridors between life and death is a theme filmmaker David Lowery is no stranger to in his previous films including A Ghost Story and The Green Knight. He has an eye for marrying majestic spectacle with quiet moments of human emotion – two aspects at the core of Shadow of the Colossus. In truth though, I’ve been thinking about this combination ever since seeing Dev Patel wandering through the mist before coming face-to-face with a frankly colossal giant in The Green Knight.

Ari Aster’s Silent Hill 2

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Staying in the world of A24, let’s give a modern king of horror a story to sink his teeth into. Ari Aster’s Hereditary and Midsommar are two horrific tales that certainly stick in the mind of any who have seen them, so why not give him a game that did the same to any who played it? Silent Hill 2 is still as scary as it comes over 20 years later and Aster’s ability to take us to a very unwelcome place, weave in a story of someone’s all-encompassing grief, and leave our brains permanently scarred would work a treat. 

Daniels’ Overwatch

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It blows my mind that there hasn’t already been an Overwatch TV series, especially when you look at how successfully something like Arcane adapted the world of League of Legends. Overwatch is bristling with character and I can’t think of a better match than getting to the two Daniels of Daniels fame involved. The phenomenal Everything Everywhere At All Once was a showcase for their eye for inventive action and effects work that would bring Overwatch’s heroes and their numerous abilities to life. The film also displayed a warm heart that mirrors what is at the centre of Overwatch and a delicate touch when navigating a dysfunctional family dynamic. There’s also the fact that I’ve seen one half of the director duo, Daniel Kwan, tweet about Overwatch on more than one occasion. Let’s get this one done, lads.

Denis Villeneuve’s Deus Ex Human Revolution

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How organic does the human body have to be to be considered human? This is a question that not only drives the plot of Deus Ex Human Revolution, but also Denis Villeneuve’s stunning cyberpunk sequel, Blade Runner 2049. A perpetually dark world where only the lights of megacorporation towers light the sky and private companies oppress the masses, Deus Ex fundamentally shares so much of its DNA with the world of Blade Runner. Take the visual palette of 2049, slap a whole load more yellow and gold onto it and throw some of Dune’s fight choreography into the mix and I reckon we’re onto a winner here.

Gareth Evans’ Hotline Miami

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Picture this: the best fight scenes from The Raid, but with a pulsating 80s synthpop score and a lot more animal masks. You’ve just imagined Gareth Evan’s Hotline Miami. Sprinkling some of Dennaton Games’ ultraviolent kill rooms with some of Evans’ Indonesian action movie-inspired choreography would be a prospect to savour. Plus, he already has experience of taking on a video game adaptation with the crime drama Gangs of London, based on the PSP action-adventure of the same name. I’m not sure if it would be live-action or animated in an attempt to honour the distinct art style of Hotline Miami, though. Gareth’s a better filmmaker than me though. He can work that bit out.

Richard Linklater’s Bully

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Fun fact: Rockstar Games once produced a film of their own. Admittedly, it was the ill-advised Danny Dyer hooliganism vehicle The Football Factory, but a film nonetheless. That long-held interest in moviemaking is reflected in their long list of acclaimed games and Bully is the first of three I’d love to see get made. And who better to helm the project than a master of the suburban school drama, Richard Linklater? I’m imagining a fun teenage tapestry with the cliques at Bullworth Academy getting the Dazed and Confused treatment with some hormonal Everybody Wants Some! escapades thrown into the mix. Sounds like a lot of fun to me. 

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Red Dead Redemption 2

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Now, he may need a trilogy here in order to tell the whole of Red Dead Redemption 2’s sprawling epic, but the temptation to pair my favourite game with my favourite filmmaker was honestly too much to resist. Paul Thomas Anderson has already made a western-by-proxy with 2007’s There Will Be Blood, and you can see a lot of Red Dead in it. Oil money runs through both stories, but it’s in its characters that the starkest similarities are to be found – Dutch Van Der Linde is video games’ answer to Daniel Plainview as he charismatically fools a whole group of people into helping him accrue personal wealth. There’s even a small prospector’s camp to be found on Red Dead’s map called Plainview that bears a striking resemblance to Daniel Day-Lewis’ at the start of the film, so you just have to think that Rockstar would be happy to give their blessings to this one. 

Matthew Weiner’s L.A. Noire

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This one writes itself to be honest. Half of the cast of Mad Men already appeared in L.A. Noire so let’s get the gang back together and send the TV show’s creator Matthew Weiner to 1940s Los Angeles. Mad Men is renowned for its sense of time and place, so there’s no one I’d trust more than Weiner to bring the golden age of Hollywood back to life as a different case is solved each week. The world-building and storyline of the open-world detective thriller were stellar, but its gameplay did often leave a little to be desired, so maybe television was always meant to be its home after all. Let’s just make sure the actors don’t replicate every aspect of their facial performances.

The Lonely Island’s PaRappa the Rapper

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Andy Samberg spouting foul-mouthed lyrics from the mouth of PaRappa the Rapper. What more do you want from me? The Lonely Island’s Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is one of the more criminally underseen comedies of the decade with its 21st-century spin on the Spinal Tap formula. Now it’s the turn of everyone’s favourite rapping dog to get the Lonely Island treatment. I don’t really know what the plot of the movie will be. I just want to see the dog do some raps. They could even re-use Karate Guy from Popstar for the Chop Chop Master Onion scene. Just an idea. Probably a bad one.

Well, those are just some of my dream video game adaptation pitches. What movie or TV show would you love to see? Let me know in the comments below.


Simon Cardy would also be up for playing an open-world game of There Will Be Blood. Follow him on Twitter at @CardySimon.





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