No matter how many times they try, the red ring of death always seems to circle any video game movies that Hollywood has a crack at. This month alone, Alicia Vikander is set to take the mantle of Lara Croft in a brand new take on Tomb Raider but understandably audiences are reluctant to go hunting for treasure given past experiences of the attempt to transfer properties from the disc tray to the big screen.
Rather than rage quit the market altogether, studios are still determined to beat this nearly impossible boss level, so much so that there’s an abundance of titles lined up that could reaffirm fans faith that a movie based on a video game isn’t a bad idea, after all. Crazy, right? Whilst there’s a number of potentials in the pipeline, here’s 14 Movies Based On Video Games That Could Break The Curse.
Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet
A cheat code may have been applied to add it in, but this compilation of video game movies couldn’t get made without mention of our favourite Disney demolition man, Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly), and his upcoming sequel. Originally appearing alongside Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) in his first movie and being the closest to crack the video game conversion (albeit with a lot of time spent in Sugar Rush), the Rich Moore and Phil Johnston-directed follow-up will send our loveable good bad guy across the world wide web, where he causes some major connection issues.
Interestingly, the hype train for the new film doesn’t seem to have hit the tracks as smoothly as its predecessor, with a communal eye-roll occurring after the likes of iMDB, eBay, YouTube and Trip Advisor being stamped all over the place. There’s still hope for the sequel though, especially with the news of the pop culture net getting cast a little wider and not only the entire roster of Disney princesses (Ariel, Belle, Pocahontas, Merida etc) and the voice cast behind them turning up, but also the Marvel folk Iron Man, Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars characters C–3PO, R2-D2, Yoda popping in. Ah and yes, that girl in the trailer screaming the punchline is modelled on young Moana. You’re welcome.
For any iffy film idea to come out a success, serve with a twist and on The Rock for best results. Such is the case for the upcoming ludicrous but undeniably intriguing action creature feature, Rampage. Loosely based on the arcade inhabitant of the same name that saw players take the role of giant skyscraper-destroying monsters, Dwayne Johnson plays ex-Army and primatologist, Davis Okoye who has a job on his hands when three creatures come in contact with a mutagenic substance leading them to grow to a tremendous size. Along with a wolf named Ralph and a lizard named Lizzie (genius), Davis’ close albino gorilla chum, George gets caught in the chemicals, setting him on course between these new beastly threats and the special teams bent on bringing them down.
Taking the key elements from the game and tweaking them just so, Johnson looks to be recalibrating the popcorn fodder-like fare he co-built with San Andreas director Brad Peyton and having monsters tear it apart in their upcoming reunion. There also looks to be added acting weight with the talents of Naomie Harris, Joe Manganiello and bat-swiniging Walking Dead star, Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Let’s face it though, considering the impressive turn Johnson had playing in Jumanji and his unstoppable run of late, this might be worth one beating your chest over.
Ready Player One
Another glitch in the system but a welcome one nonetheless, Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ready Player One isn’t based on a video game but is certainly crammed with a whole host of pixelated heroes and villains along with other legendary figures of pop culture. Adapted from the book of the same name, the film follows Wade Watts, one of the millions of recurring inhibitors of Oasis; a virtual world that folks of the future have become obsessed with in order to escape the real world that is on the brink of collapse. Hope to leave his world behind permanently comes in the search of easter eggs hidden with this safe and hardwired haven that if discovered will grant the adventurer complete ownership of Oasis and a massive fortune that comes along with it.
A Wonka-like tale with built in WiFi, Ready Player One will have the likes of Freddy Krueger and Chucky from Child’s Play clashing with everyone from an army of Halo Spartans and even Lara Croft, herself. It’s a product placement extravaganza and we can only hope that the legendary director is still game to deliver a tale that is already beloved by fans, whilst also delivering a family adventure he’s been so capable of in the past.
If you ever looked at Pokémon poster monster, Pikachu and felt there was a swear-word spewing Canadian just waiting to burst out from that little spark plug, then you are not alone. Based on the video game set for release worldwide later this year, Detective Pikachu is the first live-action Pokémon film that will see Ryan Reynolds add his vocal talents to the titular character. Set in London, this particular Pokémon isn’t as shocking as others of his type, but what he lacks in electricity he makes up for in both sleuthing and wielding a vocabulary that expands his own name. Swings and roundabouts, really.
Accompanied with his human case-breaking buddy, Tim Goodman (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s Justice Smith), the two embark on an adventure that sees them cross paths with various people and Pokémon. Reynolds will also be providing his motion captured swagger that’ll be shrunk down for the deerstalker wearing character and will be joined by Kathryn Newton, Ken Watanabe, Bill Nighy, and Rita Ora. If this sounds as wild and untamed as a rogue Charizard then that’s because it is. Hopefully, Goosebumps director Rob Letterman is able to keep the mad beasts in check before the films scheduled release of May 10, next year.
In 2011, Minecraft planted a flag in the world of sandbox gaming and no one has managed to move it since. Branching out into various mediums already (books, spin-off games and TV shows), it was only a matter of time until Hollywood came a knocking. Hording gear, building extravagant establishments and keeping Creeper’s creatures that belong in a 2-star Overlook Hotel’s at bay, there really is a lot of different things to be, ahem, mined from this basic but brilliantly addictive game. What’s even more interesting about its development though, are the key players involved.
Lining up to get stuck into crafting and mines and such (can you tell I’ve never played the game?) is none other than It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Rob McElhenney. He’s taking directing duties as well as co-writing the film alongside Wonder Woman scribe, Jason Fuchs, both of which will be overlooked by the games creator, Markus Persson aka xNotch. So far there are no names set in stone for the cast but Steve Carell has been rumoured for some time to be giving it a go. We can only wait and see what develops with the films set release for 2019.
Sonic The Hedgehog
Though he might not have had the best run of late, every gamer and their uncle will have a soft spot for that little blue prick in the red sneakers. Makes sense then, that a feature film is standing at the starting line to bring Sonic the Hedgehog his very first cinematic entry. The quick-footed counter to Nintendo’s rotund pipe-jumping plumber, Mario (more on him later), Sonic first graced our screens back in 1991 as Sega’s new mascot, breaking boxes and running faster than his breed of spiky mammals usually do. Unlike the fella in the red dungarees though, there’s a plethora of material to be plucked from Sonic’s world, what with the early 90’s TV shows and even comic book series that have spawned from property.
Currently details of just what will make the cut have yet to be confirmed, with the only solid facts being that Academy Award nominated-animated short director, Jeff Fowler is handling proceedings. In addition to that, it’s been assured that the heroic hedgehog will be entering our world, as the film will be a part live-action and CGI extravaganza. No one has pressed start on appearances from the likes of Tails, Knuckles and Dr. Eggman/Robotnik (depending on your preference) just yet either, but watch this space.
Stuck in development hell like some of its best and most frustrating puzzle levels, an Uncharted film has waited to be dug up ever since game developer Naughty Dog first blessed PlayStation with the Tomb Raider-like adventure franchise. A number of names have come and gone trying to jump hurdles, with the director’s chair being offered to everyone from David O. Russell to Neil Burger, and the coveted role of Nathan Drake crossing the desk of Mark Wahlberg and Chris Pratt. Since then though, levers have been cranked and statues have been aligned with the revelation that film will now predate the games and young Nathan Drake will be played by everyone’s favourite wall-crawler, Tom Holland.
Swapping the busy streets of New York for forgotten ancient tombs, Holland will have a job on his hands taking on a character that has a massive fan base like his friendly neighbourhood hero. Chances are the spectacle could be just as grand as well, considering some of the cinematic game design the franchise is famous for. Currently there’s no confirmation for when cameras start rolling or Holland starts running from collapsing buildings, but just keep your fingers crossed this will even come to pass given its history.
Call of Duty
Contrary to popular belief from narrow-minded politicians and squeaky-voiced teenagers who claim they’ve spent an evening with my mother, there’s more to Call of Duty than just firearms and progressive perks. Prior to the era of wall-running, spacesuits and the recent effort to get back to WWII basics, there were a number of compelling campaigns that drew in a host of A-list talent (Sam Worthington, Gary Oldman, Bruce bloody Campbell) and are ripe for the taking if recent progression is to be believed. Running through the trenches from as far back as 2015, Activision Blizzard have had their eye on bringing Call of Duty to the big screen and now reports recently broke that Sicario 2: Solado director, Stefano Sollima has been tasked with the job.
Originally plans were to build a CoD-based cinematic universe akin to Marvel and DC and rumours are already circulating of famous names being linked to the title. Most recently, Tom Hardy had a mention for the project, (which coincidentally isn’t the first video game adaptation he’s been linked to) but why not return to the well and get the famous names involved again, instead? Besides Oscar winners and cult icons, there’s the likes of Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Timothy Olyphant and Jimmy Kimmel who’ve lent their vocal chords to the franchise in the past – why don’t they get properly in front of the camera for this as well? Why butcher an already perfect animal waiting to break out and why did that guy just not die when I got a perfect headshot?! With no confirmed release date as of yet, there’s plenty of time to vote for your favourite choice and map to base it in. My money’s on Gary Oldman bringing back Viktor Reznov.
Untitled Mario Film
As well as the Sega-bred speedster running down the theatre aisles the hopping, skipping, mushroom-munching plumber Mario recently got mentioned as getting the movie treatment very soon, too. One of the most recent game to film revelations, Nintendo made the official announcement last month, with the company’s CEO, Tatsumi Kimishima, having plans to bring Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad (that long time deceiver who’s not even a real mushroom) along for the fun, as well.
Plans are thankfully, levels ahead of the 1993 live action bob-omb starring the Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo. Instead, Nintendo have requested Illumination Entertainment insert a coin and bring the same style of fun to the table as they have with the likes of Despicable Me and (gulp) Minions. Look, they don’t care if you’ve grown up with Mario, the film just won’t be for you, okay? Currently, there’s no names mentioned as to who will be voicing the prestigious plumber and his lanky brother in green, but expect plenty of names to come falling down the pipeline in due course.
Gears of War
Another undeniably spectacular shoot-em-up that has been jammed like a poorly reloaded Lancer rifle, the Microsoft exclusive title, Gears of War is a property begging to get the big screen treatment. Cinematic in just about every facet, the Gears of War series has spanned five games in total, each one chronicling the explosive and undeniably epic war between humans and the cave-dwelling, machine-gun-toting bad bunch known as the Locust Horde. Plans to bring leading meat head Marcus Fenix and his Delta squad to life started as far back as 2007, when New Line Cinema nabbed the rights with Len Wiseman stepping in to the role of director and then back out by 2010.
All hope was thought to be lost until after the announcement of Gears of War 4 in 2016, when it was confirmed that Universal were now handling things and writer Shane Salerno being announced last year as penning a script that is set outside of the games thus far. Salerno’s credits aren’t really much to write home about, but he is in line to write the four planned Avatar sequels (whenever they’ll arrive) and penned the story for Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Hopefully, he’ll deliver something fans won’t want to take a chainsaw to whenever the Gears of War start turning again.
There are a number of silent heroes people think of when they hear the word ‘stealth’. For some, it’s Solid Snake wandering around Shadow Moses Island in a cardboard box in Metal Gear Solid. For others, it’s seeing a grey haired fella with fancy goggles doing splits in conveniently tight hallways in Splinter Cell, the latter of which is a damn sight closer to getting a planned filmic treatment. Sorry Snake. Snake? Snaaaaake!
Following in the carefully placed footsteps of other stealth games, Splinter Cell is one of Ubisoft’s hit and miss franchises that follows top-level super spy, Sam Fisher. Lethal, limber and a character so cool Michael Ironside did the voice, he’s a gent that fans have warmed to over his impressively long lifespan. Development as early as 2005 has been underway for Fisher’s iconic tri-night vision goggles to light up cinema screens, with the most recent push being January 2017, when a script was completed and handed to scheduled Sam-to-be, Tom Hardy. Since then, activity has been so silent it could sneak up behind you now and you wouldn’t even know it. Keep an eye out.
Ubisoft’s The Division is somewhat an exception on this list, as whilst the story might be a compelling one, the game it unravelled in wasn’t met with the greatest reception. The RPG-like cover based shooter was set in a post pandemic New York City, where a virus has led the Big Apple to turn rotten and streets to be overrun with tooled up gangs. The Division are a secret team called into bring a bit of order back to the area and find out how the virus came to be. Compelling stuff, right? Shame its execution was so frustratingly bad. Nevertheless, Ubisoft see potential in the Tom Clancy bred world, with even two names added to the cast list to get things going.
Shortly after the game was released news got out that Jake Gyllenhaal was set to co-produce and star in an adaptation with Jessica Chastain getting attached shortly after. Nothing came up on the radar for a year until January of last year, when Syriana and Gold director, Stephan Gaghan was lined up to direct. Currently there’s no confirmed date or further details and with Gaghan prepped to shoot Robert Downey Jr’s. The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle for next year, the math may need to be reworked to get The Division going again.
Five Nights At Freddy’s
One of the most recent projects to come down the pipe and hopefully with a little more motion than some of the other titles on this list, Five Nights At Freddy’s looks to have all the makings of being a great little family fright session. Based on the video game that sees you as a night watchmen for a kid-friendly restaurant that is anything but when the lights go out, you try to make it through the night before the anarchic animatronics of Freddie and friends get you before the place reopens.
Sounding somewhat Gremlins-y, they couldn’t have made a better pairing with news that the writer behind those midnight snacking beasties – Chris Columbus – is down to direct, as well. To make sure that the scares come thick fast, or slow and intense (this is horror, after all) Blumhouse Productions are on hand to certify that these nights are worth staying for. Currently there are no cast names down on the list but expect them to start lining up in due course.
The stature of the Terminator, the mouth of John McClane and longevity of Rowdy Roddy Piper in They Live, Duke Nukem might very well be a product of his time, but that isn’t to say there’s a chance to see him finally get his big movie break. Spawned from the likes of Doom, Mr. Nukem is a woman-loving, beer-chugging crew-cut with an attitude and he’s fought off a number of alien invasions to ensure our safety, so show him some damn respect. Such an action hero demands a man equal in masculine, marble-like stature – and his name is JOHN CENA!
Revealed in January this year, Variety confirmed that the WWE turned movie star, John Cena had indeed been approached to don the shades and bright red vest. Should things go ahead, it’ll be Cena’s biggest role to date and one that feels the complete antithesis of WWE’s wholesome wrestling icon who also holds the record of fulfilling Wish Upon A Star wishes. Currently there’s no confirmed creative members mentioned in the project so far, but we can only wait and see which brave soul will bring this world to life. Go ahead Hollywood, make my day.
Got an entry on that list you’re excited to see, or do you think that Hollywood needs to press quit on the whole video game movie gig? Sound off with comments below.