Which of these 56 video game-to-film adaptations hold the most potential for the big screen?

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,742   +140
Staff member

Historically speaking, video game franchises haven’t fared well on the big screen but that hasn’t stopped studios from trying. With the exception of last year’s Warcraft and Angry Birds films (and a few others scattered over the past couple of decades), the majority of movies based on video games have disappointed.

To that end, Den of Geek has compiled a list of 56 game-to-film adaptations that have either been greenlit or are in various stages of development (including some that have unfortunately found themselves bogged down in development limbo).

The complete list is as follows:

  • Altered Beast
  • Angry Birds 2
  • Assassin’s Creed 2
  • Asteroids
  • BioShock
  • Borderlands
  • Call of Duty
  • Centipede
  • Dante’s Inferno
  • Detective Pikachu
  • Deus Ex
  • Devil May Cry
  • The Division
  • Far Cry (another one)
  • Firewatch
  • Five Nights at Freddy’s
  • Fruit Ninja
  • Gears of War
  • Ghost Recon
  • God of War
  • Gran Turismo
  • Half-Life
  • Halo
  • Heavy Rain
  • Kane & Lynch
  • The Last of Us
  • Mass Effect
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Metro 2033
  • Minecraft
  • Missile Command
  • Monster Hunter
  • Mortal Kombat (a reboot)
  • (something from) Nintendo
  • Portal
  • Rampage
  • Raving Rabbids
  • Rent a Hero
  • Resident Evil: Vendetta
  • Rollercoaster Tycoon
  • Shinobi
  • Sly Cooper
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Splinter Cell
  • Splinter Cell 2
  • Spy Hunter
  • Streets of Rage
  • Tekken: A Man Called X
  • Tetris
  • Thief
  • Tomb Raider (yet again)
  • Uncharted
  • Warcraft 2
  • Watch Dogs
  • The Witcher

Some of the most compelling game-to-film adaptations, at least in my opinion, include Firewatch, Heavy Rain, Splinter Cell, Far Cry, Gran Turismo and The Last of Us. I’m also curious to see how Tetris will turn out but I certainly have my reservations.

Which games listed above do you think hold the most potential for the big screen? Are there any obvious omissions (like Metroid, for example)? Feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Posts: 3,807   +4,934
I'd probably be excited for a Deus Ex film if it had legitimate writing and directing talent behind it. Unfortunately, the title, much like Far Cry and a number of other well-known franchises, has no relation to the content of the game. Apparently some game designers aren't great at naming their works. That list is a jaw-dropper, too: I can't believe how *few* properties with movie potential are on it. Who seriously considered a cinematic treatment of Tetris?

Squid Surprise

Posts: 4,533   +3,901
I'm one of those suckers who sees almost all of those video game turned movies.... I very much enjoyed the first Mortal Kombat and would be intrigued with a "reboot".... I enjoyed the Street Fighter movie they made a few years back (NOT the JCVD one), but have no interest in any more...

Movies that are only inspired by a video game can either be great or terrible - all depends on director and budget... So Tetris, which obviously has no actual plot to go on, COULD be great if a suitable director can be found... otherwise it will be terrible.

Story-driven games tend to suck as movies no matter how much money is thrown at them because the stories were meant to be GAMES.... Assassin's Creed the movie was terrible because of this despite the game having a great story and the movie having a decent budget and cast...

And while I said all this... I'll probably be seeing God of War even knowing it will almost certainly be terrible :)


Posts: 12   +4
Assassin's Creed 2 (it's easy to tell that the first movie is set before Desmond), Dante's Inferno (because we can't ever get too much of that), Devil May Cry (iffy here, but could be amazing), Mortal Kombat (though the reboot is already happening, YAY!), Tomb Raider (already being rebooted with Alicia Vikander), a Watch_Dogs movie could be good if it were a stand-alone storyline outside of the games, and a Metroid or Zelda could be good depending on how it's portrayed (Excuuuuuuse me Samus!).


Posts: 878   +2,054
None of them. Half the reason games "feel" great as video games is due to the pacing and content, not just how many obvious action sequences there are, but the subtle build-up and careful pacing between them. Squeezing a 20hr game into a 90-120min movie loses 90% of the more subtle content. The full soundtrack (licensed songs + orchestral) of Bioshock 1 exceeds 3hrs all by itself without any audio logs, main plot progression, cutscenes or ambient Splicer / Little Sister conversations. Likewise, squeezing a 25-30hr conspiracy like Deus Ex into 2hrs would either mean rewriting it to lose half the content, or end up being too fast paced for those unfamiliar with it to keep track of and ends up coming across as "fake edgy".

End result for 2hr "moviefying a 20-30hr video game" = another cheap generic Michael Bay flick.


Posts: 348   +123
Never going to happen, at least not in the near future, apparently Hollywood is going on strike till they get their way. Good thing there's some cool stuff coming out of Russia now. ( eg: Hardcore Henry , Viking ).
Even if it does happen, Hollywood is so drenched in virtue signaling now, it's impossible to watch the movie without being overwhelmed by a regressive liberal message now. Any video game is going to have it's feel and intent , modified to be what the studio wants the ' message' in it to be.


Posts: 308   +187
You could make a movie about assassin zombies (hey), if you pick one of the later Assassins creed games before the bugs and facial glitches got patched.


Posts: 1,297   +969
Witcher might make a good movie. But then there are already many movie similar already out.

Would love to watch if the Witcher is made into a movie. I imagine it to be Lord of the Rings combined with good dash of Van Helsing done for 18+ audience.


Posts: 153   +82
Witcher might make a good movie. But then there are already many movie similar already out.

Witcher is not a video game movie adaptation. Witcher is a book to video game adaptation. So I expect that the movie will take more cues from the books rather than the video game. (an adaptation of an adaptation weird)


Posts: 779   +975
Witcher as an adaptation of novels already had a movie (check 'Wiedzmin' aka 'Hexer')and was a disaster...


Posts: 27   +58
Far Cry was made into a movie (Albeit a far cry from good one... :p ) by Uwe Boll.

Suffice it to say I think that just about any of the FarCry games would be a decent movie if done right by a good director.

But from the list I would have to say Metro 2033 would make another decent movie, but then again the game was made from a novel as well...

Now Bioshock??? THAT might be a fun film to watch


Posts: 2,653   +3,310
TechSpot Elite
Technically all of them have the potential (well, the ones that actually have a universe), as long as they are placed in the game universe and don't try to emulate the game's story (because it's a different type of storytelling).

I know Halo has had some decent shorts, but never a full blown movie. Also, Warcraft and Prince of Persia weren't bad...

The only thing I am wondering is if a well respected director and writers and the rest have ever made an adaptation from a video game? Or has it so far been lackluster picks?


Posts: 2,648   +1,808
Bioshock, Half-Life, Drakan, Unreal, Legacy of Kain.
And Warcraft actually wasn't that bad, they made the Orcs too big (like the new Ninja Turtles) and also had some bad decisions/so-so execution but overall I enjoyed the movie. Gul'dan was done well.


Posts: 7   +1
The last of us, Bioshock it would be really hard to be good on the big screen but I just want to see Rupture.


Posts: 7   +1
Bioshock, Half-Life, Drakan, Unreal, Legacy of Kain.
And Warcraft actually wasn't that bad, they made the Orcs too big (like the new Ninja Turtles) and also had some bad decisions/so-so execution but overall I enjoyed the movie. Gul'dan was done well.
Mmm orcs supposed to be big you know?? The problem with the movie is that they just wanted to tell to much in too little time


Posts: 29   +23
A serious STARCRAFT movie would be awesome. I really liked Starship troopers (the first one) when it came out.

Alex Voinica

Posts: 99   +85
Games like Uncharted, The Last of US, Heavy Rain or Deus Ex should look good on the big screen too.

You can consider "Logan" as a Last of us movie since there are some similar aspects - at least in the trailer.

From my perspective - Warcraft was not a bad movie and it pushed fx a little bit forward. I would say an 7 out of 10.
The same goes for Need for Speed - I was glad it did not take the Fast and Furious approach and even more, all of the stunts were done with real cars and no effects added - I appreciated that part and they did not exagerate with physics and other stuff. It was an ok movie.

The issue with these movies as it was with other big Hollywood productions ( Robocop, Fantastic Four ) is that the studios control too much of the production of the movie. They want to play it too safe and often make bad decisions, like making Robocop PG 13 and not R Rated, Fantastic Four - refilming some scenes and rearrange the entire film.

Btw, Max Payne is missing from the list in this article - and yes that was a bad movie - Hitman also missing, Doom ?

What I believe it would be great as an gritty action movie rated R is Kane & Lynch. I remember a few years back Bruce Willis and Jamie Foxx were attached to play.