The announcement that The Last of Us is set to become a HBO TV series got us thinking… What other games out there could work on TV?
This feels like it could be the start of something. While films of games have often got plenty of stick from critics, the thinking seems to be that some well-loved video game characters could be better suited to the small screen than the cinema. Hence the recent success of The Witcher, on Netflix, (which was watched in record numbers, despite mixed reviews).
In its Q4 2019 investors’ letter, Netflix said: “[The Witcher] is tracking to be our biggest season one TV series ever. Through its first four weeks of release, 76m member households chose to watch this action-packed fantasy… As a testament to how our hit content can penetrate the global zeitgeist and influence popular culture, the show’s launch drove up sales of The Witcher books and games around the world, and spawned a viral musical hit.”
So, The Witcher resonated with audiences, even if it didn’t win over all the critics. But, which other games should be getting their own TV outings?
God of War
Kratos has been a real favourite for a lot of gamers since he first appeared 15 years ago in the original God of War.
The vicious Spartan warrior was re-imagined most recently in God of War (2018). The game showed new sides to Kratos’ character and saw him interact with young Atreus in a way that differentiated God of War from previous outings in the series, (despite the fact they didn’t even bother thinking of a new name).
The interplay between Kratos and his young charge, Atreus, is also reminiscent, in some ways, of the relationship between Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us – which is of course set for its own televisual adaptation.
Where previous outings had perhaps shown Kratos as a slightly one-dimensional killing machine, the latest game in the series showed his character. It also made it much easier to imagine a TV version of God of War and – if The Last of Us succeeds – then PlayStation Studios will want to follow up with another of their exclusives, putting Kratos in pole position.
Related: God of War Review
Ghost of Tsushima
Yes, it’s not out yet, but the plot as it’s been described so far sounds like it could make for a brilliant small-screen epic.
The game’s plot is an exercise in alternative history, as it sees the Mongol Empire invade the small Japanese island of Tsushima. The player takes the role of one of the last samurai on the island and attempts to mount a sort of resistance movement against the invaders.
It wasn’t so long ago Martin Scorcese brought Feudal Japan to life in style on the big screen, in Silence. It was pretty understated but showed the visual potential of that particular historical setting.
The game looks beautiful, brutal and gripping. The early signs suggest it would be well at home as a TV drama.
From The Godfather to Goodfellas, to The Sopranos and Gomorrah – gangsters are always ripe for dramatisation. So, why not the Yakuza series?
The beat-em-up RPG series has had enduring popularity since launching in 2005. While the games are already inspired by Yakuza films on the silver screen, we can definitely imagine the game fitting into an episodic format, as The Sopranos did. Expect with more fistfights. (A lot more fistfights.)
Image Mad Dogs meets The A-Team, meets Full Metal Jacket. Yes? That’s what we’re thinking.
Whichever entry in the series you want to base it on, Far Cry has always done a good job of mixing an interesting story into edge-of-your-seat action.
Admittedly, Far Cry 3, 4 and 5 are probably the outings better suited to TV as they did such a good job of mixing humour, darkness, atmosphere and action. The wacky characters and over-the-top violence of those series entries could be perfect fare for TV. (Remember the missions where you had to go kill people for Malaria medication?)
There are plenty of games we can imagine taking to the small screen like ducks to water. Gears of War, Diablo and Fallout are among them but the list is huge. Let us know which games you’d love to see dramatised – get in touch on Twitter @TrustedReviews