5 Video Game TV Shows in the Works
Previously, we’ve covered the games that are being made for the big screen. But the movie theater isn’t the only place Hollywood wants to bring video games. They want to bring video games to… the living room! You know, the place where you play video games! Because why would we want to play games when we could watch them instead? Of course, gamers aren’t really the target audience. If we can learn anything from comic book adaptations, it’s that you should make them for people who’ve never read a comic book. Then again, some of these actually sound pretty good, so there may be fewer memes this time.
#5–The Witcher – Netflix
I admit that calling Netflix’s forthcoming Witcher adaptation a video game TV series is a bit disingenuous. Naturally, CD Projekt Red’s masterful RPG series is an adaptation of its own. But I think it’s fair to say that if it weren’t for the multi-million dollar success of the games, Netflix may never have written the check to produce this series. However, the show has made an effort to distance itself from the games, which is a bit off-putting, given that the games have millions of fans across the world.
This adaptation is said to follow the source material by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski much more closely than the games, which are more of a remix than a strict adaptation. The focus on the books will surely disappoint fans who love the games exclusively (ha!), but the original short stories and novels are fantastic and have plenty of great material to draw from.
There have been a few setbacks that led fans to question the series. Henry Cavil’s casting as Geralt seemed odd, as Geralt is characterized as an older character in both the books and the games (“I’m getting too old for this” has been a refrain). Teaser images featured a clean-shaven Geralt who reminded fans of Legolas. Set photos of Nilfgaardian armor leaked that were affectionately called “ballsack armor.”
But since then, we’ve seen the teaser trailer, and I have to say, it looks promising. Put me down as cautiously optimistic. My biggest concern right now is that Geralt only has one sword on the poster.
#4–Resident Evil – Netflix
Just when you think it’s dead, it rises back up again! The storied franchise returns with an adaptation from Netflix. Well, to be honest, it never really went anywhere in the first place. Considering the fact that a reboot film is in the works as well, we should’ve known that the supposed “Final Chapter” was anything but.
Production company Constantin Film, which produced the original films, can’t seem to let this series go. Now that Paul W. S. Anderson is off directing Monster Hunter, maybe we can see a series based on the games for once? Just a thought. I know, I’m a crazy man with ideas. Who else could’ve thought of that?
The series is considered a drama and is intended to expand the universe and “explore the inner workings of the Umbrella Corporation and the new world order caused by the outbreak of the T-virus” according to Deadline. It sounds like it could be a prequel of sorts. The games have avoided being too explicit about the evil pharmaceutical company at the core of the series for the sake of preserving the mystery surrounding them, which leaves a lot of wiggle room for the creators. Since most of what we’ve seen is the aftermath of Umbrella’s illegal biological weapon operations, witnessing the history of the virus could be interesting. If the canon of the games is anything to go by, Umbrella was interested in more than just making money from chemical weapons, and the series could explore their ideology in greater detail.
#3–Devil May Cry – Castlevania “Bootleg” Multiverse
We are truly living in the age of the cinematic universe. First there was the MCU. Then, there came the Godzilla-King Kong monster universe thing. Now, they’re taking any two successful franchises and smashing them together like atoms in the hadron collider, just to see what happens. Or maybe they’re more like zookeepers locking two pandas in a room with a bottle of lubricant, hoping for some action.
Regardless, Netflix’s animated Castlevania series was a success. It got renewed for a third season almost immediately after the second arrived for streaming. The executive producer for Castlevania, Adi Shankar, told IGN that he got the rights to Devil May Cry “so the jabronis in Hollywood don’t f*** this one up too.”
Based on this statement alone, I like this guy. Fans seem to like his Castlevania series, so maybe he won’t turn out to be one of the jabronis. But we haven’t seen the show yet, so for all we know, he might be projecting. After all, you know what they say: you either die the hero or live long enough to see yourself become the jabroni.
How the two properties will be connected is still a mystery. No word yet on when the series will be released.
#2–Final Fantasy XIV Live-action Series
If you told fans when Final Fantasy XIV was released that there would eventually be a TV show version, they would’ve laughed. The launch of the MMORPG was so bug-riddled and universally panned that it took a complete overhaul by a second development team to get any positive press.
So why did they pick XIV instead of one of the most popular single-player installments like Final Fantasy VII? Apparently, Hivemind, the production company behind this production, as well as The Witcher, wants to tell an original story in the world of Eorzea that can evolve as the MMO’s story does. They hope to cross-pollinate stories with the game’s development team so the story feels more cohesive. It seems to be a common theme that filmmakers want to have freedom to create original stories instead of following any particular game too closely, which is why XIV lends itself better to the screen for Hivemind. Games are notoriously difficult to adapt, since games mostly consist of gameplay, so it makes sense that they would want that freedom. If they are reverent to the source material and come up with a great original story, it could be a winning formula.
Writers Ben Lustig and Jake Thornton (Winter’s Knight, The Wells Initiative) are currently mapping out the pilot and the first season. Showrunners have yet to be chosen, however, so it’s likely all of it is subject to change. No one knows what year it will release or what streaming platform will acquire it. Will it even see the light of day? We’ll just have to wait and see.
#1–Halo – Showtime Series
I’ve always thought a Halo film was a no-brainer. Hollywood seems to think so as well, but can never seal the deal. Many names were attached to attempts to bring the games to life, including Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, D.B Weiss, and Alex Garland, but all of those projects came and went. Now it’s real. Like, will start shooting any day now, real.
Despite the fact that it’s coming out in 2021, little is known about the series, other than the fact that Master Chief is, in fact, the star of the show, and they found a guy 6’5” tall to be inside the Spartan suit. Of course, the real question is: will we get to see his face? After all the teases and cutaways that the games have done, it would feel wrong to see John unmasked. But considering Hollywood’s proclivity toward origin stories, it seems likely we’ll have to at some point.
Either way, Pablo Schreiber will be playing him. Yeah, I don’t recognize the name either, but apparently he played a character nicknamed “Pornstache” on Orange is the New Black, which I find hilarious. Also, we know that Natascha McElhone (Californication, Designated Survivor, The First) will play Dr. Halsey as well as her creation, Cortana.
Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment is in charge of the production, indicating that this may be an off-shoot of the project he was attached to several years back. It will be ten episodes long, and it will be writing in part by Kyle Killen, who has created one-season shows Lone Star and Awake.
Personally, I’m hoping for an adaptation of the excellent prequel novel The Fall of Reach. But of course, as we already discussed, most writers want to create their own stories. Either way, I’m actually looking forward to this, possibly more than Halo Infinite.
Do any of these shows interest you? What games would be the best to adapt? Or should Hollywood stay away from our precious franchises? Let us know in the comments below.
Brian Schuchert is a writer and filmmaking professional. He’s been playing games since before he could read and will continue to play them until he’s a big-shot director in Hollywood with no time on his hands. You can follow him on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/TINSELTOWNINC) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/ShookEarthMedia).