Time for the little guy to shine
Calling all fans of jump scares, here's some news that will make you scream with something other than flash-bang terror: indie horror and recreated childhood nightmare Five Night's at Freddy's has been picked up by Warner Brothers and will soon be getting its own feature film. How a game about hiding in a tiny room waiting to be attacked by animal-tronic terrors will work as a movie is yet to be seen, but if anyone can do it, it's the fine folks in Hollywood.
Though a movie based on a game isn't anything new, in a sea of Tomb Raiders and Resident Evils, it's rare to see a small-scale indie title be offered the silver-screen treatment. That got us wondering what other indie games would make good films and what directors would make them shine. And oh boy, did we have a lot of thoughts. Here you'll find those very thoughts on what indie games deserve their own movies and the film-focused minds that would treat them right.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, directed by Guillermo del Toro
Mr. del Toro has a peculiar filmmaking specialty - on one hand, he can create fantastical monsters, weaving traditional fairytale tropes into the slimy substance of horror. On the other, he really likes making me cry.
Starbreeze's 3D puzzle-platformer Brothers embodies both of these tenets - its world is a twisted, Nordic fantasy, but its heart is decidedly human. Sadly, between Insane and Silent Hills I can't help but think del Toro's game-related luck might mean this project is doomed from the start.
Never Alone, directed by Kevin Costner
While Costner may be better known for his acting roles, such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Crash Davis in Bull Durham, he has also directed movies - including the seven Academy Award-winning Dances with Wolves. That had a wolf in it, which dies. Never Alone has a fox in it that well, you'll have to see what happens to the fox.
The game's sweeping, windswept ice-scapes and the so-worthy-it-hurts Inupiat storytelling would translate beautifully to the big screen. Costner's film version would be three hours long, feature real Inupiat dialogue, and probably feature a diary or something that gets lost in the snow, only to be found later. It would win all the awards and have the added bonus of not being a bug-ridden mess of a game.
Westerado: Double Barreled, directed by Quentin Tarantino
It doesn't matter if he's working on a World War 2 epic or a kung fu action flick, Quentin Tarantino's love of Spaghetti Westerns like A Fistful of Dollars remains a constant through all of his work. It's why Tarantino would be a perfect fit to direct a silver screen adaptation of Westerado. It's a game about Western films as much as it's a story set in the Wild West, which makes it just meta enough for Tarantino's taste.
Westerado also has a very dark sense of humor, letting you pull your six-shooter on (and gun down) anyone in the game - even mid-conversation. Considering Tarantino wrote an entire (admittedly hilarious) sub-plot about two hit men who accidentally shoot an innocent man in the face, Westerado would be right up his alley.
Monaco, directed by Wes Anderson
It's a Wes Anderson heist movie, people. Get on board. Brought together by a mysterious benefactor, an eclectic group of thieves, ruffians, and general ne'erdowells must learn to work together if they're going to perform the biggest heist of their lives.
What unfolds is perhaps the most polite, and slightly awkward, series of robberies in the history of the craft, starring Owen Wilson as a pickpocket with a trained monkey and Ben Stiller as a man who is angry. Ultimately, the group learns that the most valuable thing they possess isn't trinkets and baubles, but the friendship they share with each other.
Device 6, directed by David Fincher
A mobile puzzle game is perhaps not the obvious choice for a full-length motion picture, but Simogo's Device 6 strikes a perfect balance between the commonplace and the unknown, presenting a smart, smiling kind of dread. As for who should bring the world of Device 6 to life, when it comes to mysteries that intertwine with unsettling characters, it's hard to beat the touch of the man who brought us Se7en, The Game and Gone Girl.
Device 6's slick presentation and evocative 60s-esque spy atmosphere are a great fit for Fincher, who not only understands the value of distinctive visuals but also excels at putting relatable characters into unsettling situations. He's also one of the few directors who can pull off the game's memorable ending.
To The Moon, directed by Richard Linklater
For those who didn't play it (or those too tough and emotionally closed-off to admit to playing it), To The Moon is a bittersweet tale of mixed-memories, enduring love, and regret. It's a genuine tear-jerker, with an upbeat ending that leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. What? I'm in touch with my emotional side.
If To The Moon was to hit the silver screen, who better to direct than Richard Linklater? He's the chap who brought us the delightful Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, the technologically-weird A Scanner Darkly (which would tie in nicely with the game's memory-invading helmets), and the critically acclaimed Boyhood. That last film is literally about a journey through a boy's life, which is very similar to To The Mo... look, you get the idea. Pretty sure that To The Moon's delicate, emotional narrative would be safe in Linklater's sensitive directorial hands.
The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth, directed by David Cronenberg
Who better to steer the journey of a young boy into the depths of his imagination, basement, and own mothers womb than the director responsible for Scanners and The Fly. Isaacs feces filled and schizophrenic quest for self discovery can only be brought to life by the twisted eye of David Cronenberg, the man who specialized in the bending of reality in Videodrome - even if you do just remember the intestines spilling out of the television.
Cronenberg would be perfectly suited to exploring the bloodied depths of the Binding of Isaac and take plenty of time to balance the religious themes of the game with actual fistfuls of gore. Isaacs demons would run terrifyingly free under Cronenbergs watchful gaze, and ensure a film that would, at the very least, be banned in Australia.
Child of Light, directed by Tomm Moore
In case Tomm Moores name isnt familiar to you, perhaps youve heard of the Oscar nominated films The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea? Moore helmed both, melding Irish folklore and 2D animation in a field dominated by massive CGI productions. Hed likely find a kinship with the creators of Child of Light, a fairytale of an RPG that Moore would be perfect for translating to film.
Child of Light has a soft, painterly touch to its art, with visuals like a storybook come to life similar to Moores films. The animation director and his team would understand the little details of Auroras flowing hair as well as believably recreating the unique world of Lemuria. Child of Light is a poetic bedtime story come to life, and Moore is fully equipped to handle the games high adventure, as well as its deeper themes about family and loss. Forget Assassins Creed, Ubisoft - get started on this film!
Limbo, directed by Tim Burton
Tim Burton specializes in stories that are at simultaneously unnerving and full of heart. Even when you watch a rag doll character sew her own arm back on, you pay as much attention to her adventurous spirit as you do her uncanny burlap exterior. With a catalog full of bleached skeletons with big dreams and scissor-handed men who just want to be loved, the story of a little boy who goes through gruesome, gothic torment in his search for a special someone is right up Tim Burton's dark and creepy alley.
While the story of Limbo is vaguer than most of Burton's works, he'd undoubtedly be able to keep the movie version mysterious while getting the creepy bits just right. Giant spiders, brain-controlling slugs, ruthless assassins and an abandoned world full of death machines - he could bring all of these things together perfectly for the big screen, while never forgetting that this is a story of a boy who wants nothing more than to find his sister/childhood love/hide-in-seek champion friend.
Those are our picks for indie games that deserve to hit the big screen, but we figure you probably have some ideas of your own. What director do you want working on your favorite small-scale game? Tell us in the comments below!