Let's face it, the concept of a movie adaptation of a video game is one that has had a hard birth. When you can arguably point to Resident Evil as the best work in the genre then there are more than a few problems going on. Sure, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children showed us that a game studio can put out a quality product, but Resident Evil: Degeneration showed us that the opposite can be true as well.
Still, there are games that have enduring legacies and in a sense should be completely unable to mess up as a movie, and yet they are no where to be found. How hard can it be to make...
Castlevania Simon's Quest introduced RPG elements into side-scrolling video games back before RPGs were even really a thing in console gaming. Plus, the series started the now standard Hollywood practice of rounding up all the well-known and public domain monsters you could and just letting you beat them to death with a whip. Add in Dracula's Curse that introduced some of the most enduring characters in the franchise and leads directly in Symphony of the Night and you're talking about a game whose elements have served as the template for pretty much every goth-y looking action flick of the last decade.
A movie helmed by Paul S. Anderson has supposedly been in the works since 2005. The $50 million picture would follow the interwoven destinies of Dracula and the Belmont clan, and was even supposed to bring series composer Michiru Yamane on board. After location scouting Anderson left the project in 2007 to work on Death Race, and in 2009 James Wan was announced as the new director. Nothing more has been heard since.
Bionic Commando I've never really understood the popularity of Bionic Commando. It's really not all that great a game, though even I will admit that having a sweet grappling hook arm really does sell the average gamer on pretty much anything. I've never known anyone to play a Zelda title and not want to power through to the hookshot as fast as possible.
Still, it's remained a viable franchise even if the 2009 continuation has bar-none the dumbest twist ending in gaming history. If you made it today it would really just be a more exciting version of Winter Soldier, but with a Hitler clone so that makes it way better. Ben Judd of Capcom said in 2008 that they were open to the possibility. But so far no one has stepped up to the plate.
Monkey Island There's not a single video game ever made that would more easily translate directly into a film than the Monkey Island series. They're funny, engaging, have a great cast of characters, and the perfect mixture of classic pirate appeal and edgy modern writing.
Unfortunately, as I've discussed before Disney's acquisition of Lucasarts has pretty much ensured we will never, ever see a Monkey Island movie. Both it and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were inspired by the Tim Powers novel On Stranger Tides, and thus are extremely similar in many regards. Pirates movies already make millions of dollars, and Disney isn't even keen on letting Monkey Island compete as a game let alone a film franchise of its own.
So, unless they wake up and realize one day that an animated film teaming up Jack Sparrow with Guy Thrushbeard would literally make all the money in the world, we're stuck.
This story continues on the next page.
Metal Gear Solid It's not hyperbole to say that Metal Gear Solid changed the face of gaming. Even someone like me, who would rather eat old cat food than play a stealth mission game, got into the intrigue and one-of-a-kind characters. The whole thing is already the cobbled together best bits of other movies, so it should be a shoe-in for a film adaptation, right?
This is probably the closest one to actually existing. Producer Avi Arad (Who worked on the Amazing Spider-Man movies) said in April that after six years of development hell they had actually finalized the director and the story pitch. A script is in development and it will supposedly take place in Alaska. At one point Christian Bale was said to be involved.
So we'll see if someone can finally turn a game series that has a single cut scene longer than some actual Hollywood films into one of them in its own right.
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The Legend of Zelda It just doesn't make any sense. Here in a film era obsessed with both fantasy epics and reliving '80s and '90s nostalgia somehow no one has turned Ocarina of Time into a movie. Well, there was that fan film that Nintendo generously allowed to briefly exist, but an actual real movie with someone like Peter Jackson behind it? No, and it's a damn shame. If any game can truly break the glass ceiling for the medium in film then it's Link's greatest adventure.
But it won't happen because Nintendo is still butt-hurt about the Super Mario Bros. movie in 1993. In 2007, Imagi Studios put together the video above as proof of basic concept for a Zelda film and Nintendo still turned them down citing how bad their last film attempt was. I'm sorry, guys, I know it was a terrible movie, but two decades is a long time to hold a grudge. It's time to give Pixar or someone a call.