Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Video Game movies have historically been very, very bad. Almost as bad as movie video games, but not quite that terrible. I can still finish a bad video game movie without wanting to break a $60 controller and the $60 game. Video Game movies seem to be some sort of Pandora-like puzzle for Hollywood, it’s the one adaptation that they can’t seem to figure out.

There are all types of remakes, reboots, and adaptations that happen in Hollywood yearly, and some are good and some are bad. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was brilliant, but then there were also the last few Hobbit movies, not so brilliant. Every medium has its ups and downs, but video game to a movie is reliably bad.

There have been a few decent attempts in the past decade or so, I still stand by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his giant CGI Gorilla Pal in Rampage. But, the secret there is that Rampage doesn’t really have characters or a story. With The Rock headlining it all you needed was monsters fighting on a building to get it right.

But in early 2020, just before the Covid-19 Pandemic hit something kind of magical happened. The most boring Superman to ever grace the screen put on a Halloween USA Legolas Wig and picked up a sword as Geralt of Rivia. Henry Cavill as the Witcher crushed it and became an instant Netflix superstar. Has the secret to video game adaptations been in streaming services this whole time? The answer is yes. For a 40-60 hour story you need more than just a 2-hour film and here are five franchises perfect for the flip-to-video game shows instead of a movie franchise.

Sly Cooper

We haven’t seen a Sly Cooper game since 2013 on the PlayStation 3 with Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. So, it’s the perfect time for a comeback, especially with Netflix wanting to expand into video games over the next year. Bringing out an animated series with a new installment would be the kind of tie-in that would hook gamers instantly into Netflix Video Games.

Sly Cooper used a type of graphics style called Cell Shading that makes it look like you’re actually playing a cartoon. It would be a perfect blend between gaming and animation and Sly is perfect for all ages of gamers, it’d be a great family show.

Following Sly and his friends through their capers in a Robin Hood meets Dora the Explorer mash-up, everyone would fall in love with it. Netflix has also had success with a lot of its animated adaptations including Castlevania, DOTA2, and now Resident Evil, adding in something more kid-friendly would be a big boon.

There have also been long-running rumors of a Sly Cooper movie in the works, which means there must be interest from the game’s developer, Sucker Punch Studios.

Mass Effect

Nearly a decade ago when Mass Effect was at the height of its popularity, even amidst a controversy surrounding the trilogy’s end, Legendary Pictures was confirmed to be working with Bioware on a movie. A few years ago there was even a rumor that Henry Cavill may be attached to the project in some way.

Unfortunately, the hope of fans everywhere was dashed like a Turian Cruiser against the hull of a Reaper warship earlier this year. It was announced that the Mass Effect movie wouldn’t be happening because the studio didn’t feel like they could properly honor the characters and story in just one film.

This is why it would be perfect for long-form storytelling on a service like Netflix or HBO Max. Viewers the world over eat up Sci-Fi Operas, which is evident with past shows like Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, and the new Star Wars fever following the Mandalorian. Besides Star Wars and the recently finished Amazon series The Expanse, the genre is criminally underrepresented. Commander Shepard and their ragtag crew would perform amazingly in this medium.


This last one should be a no-brainer as fans of the Hero Shooter have been asking for it since Blizzard released their first short cinematic. Games like Overwatch, League of Legends, and Apex Legends all have such a rich and diverse roster of characters in the source material just begging to be let loose in their own show.

DOTA2 and League of Legends have already taken the plunge, coming out with anime series set in these universes. In completive games like Overwatch, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for world-building or lore. Blizzard does a decent enough job expanding it through short animations or comic books. But this as a tv series, even beyond the gamers who already play, the world would absolutely eat up and then beg for seconds.


This one might actually surprise some people, as Phasmophobia is a newer game that has found popularity among streamers. There’s no story to it, as players go from haunted location to location trying to identify what kind of ghost is on the premise so the real ghost hunters can come in and exorcise it.

Despite being a ghost hunting game, it ends up being equal parts hilarious as it is scary. This would be the perfect adaptation to marry comedy to horror. The idea reminds me a bit of Nick Frost’s Amazon Series Truth Seekers.

With the right comedic talent, having a handful of would-be Ghost Hunters fumbling their way through a grown-up version of Scooby Doo would be an instant hit as there’s little on the market that capitalizes on this niche idea.

World of Warcraft

Any Massively Multiplayer Online game is strategically placed for a streaming show, but there is one big caveat creators need to keep in mind. You cannot make a direct adaptation of a game that never ends. Instead, use the show to help cultivate the world and explore more of it.

This has actually been done once by a show and game called Defiance. They may not have been World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV big, but they went three seasons and the game only recently shut down after several years.

Using a show to allow audience members to explore online worlds more and introducing new characters would be a fascinating new way to engage your player base and look to bring new players into the fold.

Gamers and non-gamers alike have had enough of the flops, the Max Payne’s and Assassin Creed’s of the movie world need to be put to rest entirely. Stop letting Warner Bros team up with the likes of Electronic Arts and dolling out half-backed films and TV. Give the next generation of media in the streaming series the resources and creatives they need to make series like the Witcher and Castlevania.

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Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images