The Last of Us on HBO is one of the best video game TV adaptations I’ve ever seen, but it’s not the only game I want to see a whole season of.
It proved that a faithful reinvention of an in-game story is possible, and with time and care, you can create something truly special — something that stands alone as a companion piece to the game you love, while being welcoming of all viewers without the previous experience.
So, it got us thinking. What other games do we want to see get the TV show treatment? Here are our suggestions.
Gordon Freeman’s adventure is just begging for a TV adaptation. It’ll be a tricky one to do, but stick with me on this. I interviewed the writer of Half-Life, Marc Laidlaw, on my own blog, and I asked him about a movie adaptation.
The answer was, quite frankly, jaw dropping. He spoke of a feature that would be helmed by the likes of either Sci-Fi legend Paul Verhoeven, Peter Jackson or the creatively inspired Guillermo Del Toro. Any of these, in my opinion, would create something out of this world — the focus would be different, from the scientific lore of Verhoeven to the twisted horror visuals of Del Toro.
Whoever would take it on, could tell the story of a scary, claustrophobic escape from Black Mesa, followed by the vast expanse of the 1984-esque City 17 with brutal efficiency.
— Jason England, Content Editor
For those uninitiated, Firewatch is an incredibly emotional single-player game that tells the story of Henry: a man escaping a harrowing situation with his wife by taking a job as a National Park Ranger. During this time, he builds a relationship over walkie-talkie with Delilah, who is the lookout from the neighbouring tower, while he uncovers a conspiracy and a dark mystery in the Shoshone National Forest.
I couldn’t possibly say more without spoiling the game, but just think about how amazing that story would be in a TV show! The reduced number of characters could mean that you get so much more time to learn about each person, and really connect with their motivations. The mise-en-scene would be unique amongst all the very dark or very bright shows on TV at the moment.
Plus, it’s an endearing, relatable tale that delivers a gut punch at every moment it possibly can. Someone please give this story to the makers of This Is Us — I’m ready to cry.
— Jason England, Content Editor
I know what you’re thinking: A Dark Souls adaptation is likely to go wrong in a million ways. It’s not difficult to imagine how this dreary tale of death and rebirth can be bastardised into fantasy schlock plagued by awful one-liners, terrible special effects and a generic narrative that takes a little too much from Lord of the Rings (as many fantasy tales do).
But with vision, a Dark Souls adaptation could channel its lonely atmosphere into an episodic format that lends itself to what Souls has always been about: Quietness. By revolving around a single individual’s struggle throughout a dead world directed in a style that borrows more from horror than it does fantasy, I could imagine a Dark Souls series offering a seamless transition into TV format. And to keep in line with what we love most from these games, it would only benefit from equally minimalist dialogue, harrowing monster designs and framing that focuses on the world’s staggering environments.
Of course, this is merely a pipe dream. To fully sell what Dark Souls is about, you’d need a budget that few shows can even dream of acquiring (something along the lines of Game of Thrones or The Rings of Power). It would make more sense for it to be a one-off film, as there’s greater justification to splurge on environments and monsters, but even then, it could completely miss the mark without a solid understanding of what makes this series special. Regardless, I’m a dreamer, and I think about what this would look like frequently.
— Momo Tabari, Contributing Writer
World of Warcraft
Animated video game adaptations have been a thing for a long time (remember Donkey Kong Country from 1997?), but only recently have companies started taking them seriously, pouring significantly higher budgets into animation studios: Arcane, Netflix’s Castlevania and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners are just a few examples of animations we’ve seen recently, with all three possessing staggering acclaim.
It’s hard not to wonder what will come next, and as Laptop Mag’s resident World of Warcraft nerd, I know exactly what I want. Yes, there was a Warcraft movie once, but it’s not particularly good (although I did enjoy it). Instead, I’m looking for a sprawling epic that reimagines some of Warcraft’s important historical figures and perhaps takes us back to a time far before what we’ve played within WoW itself. I’d love to see how all my favourite locations can be recreated within an animated space, especially if the adaptation is given an appropriate budget.
Blizzard does a few animated shorts shortly before launching each expansion and I adore them, with Warbringers: Azshara in particular giving me goosebumps each time I watch it. I’d love to see this quality of storytelling applied to a full series. Please, oh, please Blizzard! Give it to me!
— Momo Tabari, Contributing Writer
Final Fantasy VII
This was a tough one as this easily be a post for Final Fantasy IV, VI, VIII, IX or X. But no, Final Fantasy VII is the one that’s had my heart on lock since my formative years as a gamer. I would love to see Cloud and the gang in live action, preferably in either a movie or TV series so the story could have room to breathe and non-gamers can really get to know the game and the characters I’ve loved for over a decade.
Plus, think of the setpieces. Can you imagine a live-action Midgar –– the upper level shiny and modern, but eerily sanitised juxtaposed against the gritty desperation of the Sector 5 Slums? How about Aerith’s garden, an oasis of beauty amidst the ruins. Even better, think of the fight scenes. From Cloud’s sword play to Tifa’s pugilism and Barrett’s guns, we’d be in for some unforgettable action. And as far as we’ve come with CGI, I’m not going to say no to live-action Red XIII and Cait Sith. In short, an FF VII series would be the perfect mix of high-fantasy and sci-fi and with the right script that stays true to the source material, it could be a massive hit.
–– Sherri L. Smith, Editor in Chief
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Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.