Update: The Witcher saga is coming to Netflix!
It's just been confirmed that Netflix is making a show based on The Witcher. You can read the full details here (opens in new tab), while I sit here pretending that we had something to do with it. Hurrah!
***Original article continues below***
The sad truth is that most live-action movies based on video games are awful. There’s the occasional, reassuringly mediocre outlier (opens in new tab), but generally: they suck. The news that Netflix is definitely making a show based on Castlevania (opens in new tab) and probably one on Assassin’s Creed (opens in new tab), then, should fill us with unutterable dread. But there’s a reason to be hopeful.
While it’s apparently impossible to condense a 10-hour game into a two-hour movie, an episodic TV show might work. With this in mind, we asked you, the noble GamesRadar+ audience, which games you want to see made into TV shows. Let’s put aside twisted memories of of Mortal Kombat: Konquest or King Koopa's Kool Kartoons, and instead look at the games that could actually work as TV shows.
Confirmed: The Witcher
“I would like to see CD Projekt Red do a Witcher series on Netflix.”
Brittany Dawn Mayben
Hold up. There’s already been a TV show and movie based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels. Strictly speaking it translates as The Hexer, but that’s still our Geralt. Don’t go rushing to find it, though: it’s in Polish, for one thing, but the bigger problem is that it’s slightly rubbish.
Good news, though! As stated above, Netflix has confirmed it's making a new series based on the saga, with Andrzej Sapkowski acting as creative consultant. He said (opens in new tab), “I’m thrilled that Netflix will be doing an adaptation of my stories, staying true to the source material and the themes that I have spent over thirty years writing.” There are plenty of reasons to be excited. A smart, bigger budget reimagining could fill the gap left after Game of Thrones ends. The Witcher 3 nails the feeling of a exploring wartorn landscape better than any other game, and Geralt’s growling moral ambiguity is fascinating. Keep an eye on this one.
“Bioshock perhaps? ❤”
Ariana Wolfy Pérez
This one could be great. A Bioshock show could fill in the narrative gaps left by the games, which have you racing past all the interesting stuff as you murder strangers using magic hand-bees. Combat is the most boring bit of every Bioshock game, and a TV show could slow it all down and add context and humanity. Imagine seeing Rapture turn from subaqueous utopia to a leaking, splicer infested nightmare? Or seeing a Westword-style examination of ideology and racial tensions in Columbia? There’s an argument that these things are best left to the imagination, but a TV show would offer the perfect opportunity to explore the more cerebral aspects of a world we only see in passing.
“Resident evil TV series.. Please..😓😓”
Ruwan Tharindu Perera
This one could go one of two ways. It could be a hilarious, campy disaster, channeling the macho preposterousness of the first game; or they could take it dead seriously and recreate the threatening undertones of Resident Evil 7. The second option could work amazingly well, even if Netflix has a shaky history with horror shows (opens in new tab) (I’m looking at you, Hemlock Grove). How could it work? Cut loose from the wretched films, give us a bright new character in the same mould as Claire Redfield, and explore the conspiratorial themes that all the Resi games touch on. The Umbrella Corporation is a brilliant antagonist, and TV show could do them justice.
“A Mass Effect or a Dragon Age show would be awesome. Games like these have way too much story to fit in a 2 and a half hour movie.”
We’ve got fantasy well covered in The Witcher, so let’s tackle Mass Effect instead. The exploration of Andromeda would work brilliantly, but it’s been done. Badly (opens in new tab). The looming threat of the Reapers could also work, with a ragged bunch of aliens and humans on the run from unstoppable space squid. But I’d argue that the first contact stuff is the thing to explore: the first trip through a Mass Relay, the war that follows, and the slow, confusing realisation that yes, you can have sex with Turians. In fact, we could forget the war stuff entirely and make it a romantic soap opera instead. Guiding Lightyears? Dallas Effect? Perhaps not.
“I'd love to see a show made entirely from the same tech Blur uses in games like Halo 2 Anniversary. Make a whole movie or show like a game's cinematics.”
The story is the worst bit of the Halo games, but there is promise there. Ditch the Little Shop of Horrors nonsense of Gravemind, and focus instead on the overwhelming power of the Covenant being held back by some brave marines, a seven-foot super soldier and a naked AI ghost. It could be thrilling. Heck, even the convoluted political stuff from Halo 2 could work. In the game, the stuff with the Arbiter fails because you never want to play anyone other than Master Chief. Why would you? But with the added context of a TV show, the idea of badass alien doing a face turn is pretty exhilarating. Yes, forcing two sworn enemies to work together is the tropiest thing imaginable, but it’s popular because it works. Add 343 Guilty Spark for some comedy relief, and you have a probably-hit.
“Overwatch... Don't tell me you didn't love the cinematic shorts.”
You know what? We do love the cinematic shorts. Overwatch is brilliant as it is, but there’s something empty about seeing such bright, likeable characters relentlessly murdering each other. And seeing as my petition for an Overwatch point-and-click adventure only has two signatures - thanks mum! - the best way to explore those characters is with an animated TV show. The shorts we’ve seen do a great job of fleshing out Overwatch’s wonderful cast, so a series should narrow the focus and pick a few characters. I suggest Winston, because if watching a clever gorilla do science is wrong, I’d rather not be right.
Kane and Lynch
“Kane and Lynch”
Oh God. Seriously? Okay then. A series starring gaming’s least-likable double act in gaming could probably work - you’d just need to wash your eyes after every episode. How about an unflinching, cinéma-vérité examination of the criminal underworld they inhabit? There’s a bit of family baggage to explore, and interesting characters (even if they’re deeply, unquestionably detestable). It could escalate each week, with Kane and Lynch leaving a trail of murder, suicide and chaos in Shanghai, culminating with a bare-assed, blood-soaked chase through a wet market. Just remember to pixilate the soft bits, yeah? Or maybe the entire show.