Video game movie adaptations used to be to synonymous with bad taste. After all, this was the domain of Uwe Boll and Super Mario Bros. In the past decade or so though, public perception of gaming as a medium has begun to rapidly shift, with many recent releases being considered on par, or even surpassing, the stories that we’re seeing in modern blockbuster movies.
The possibility of adapting game narratives into successful films is starting to feel more and more real, and Hollywood has taken notice. Studios have been sinking money hand-over-fist into developing no fewer than three dozen adaptation projects, to be released over the next couple of years. Whether or not this newfound interest pays off remains to be see, but either way, we’re about to see some of the most iconic video games ever translated to the big screen.
Here’s everything we know about so far:
Dead Rising – March 2015
- Dead Rising: Watchtower will get a digital release on Crackle later this year.
- It was directed by Leprechaun: Origins‘ Zach Lipovsky, and produced by Legendary Picture’s digital division.
- Rob Riggle will play Frank West.
Pixels – July 2015
- Unlike everything else on this list, Pixels isn’t a straight adaptation of any one game. Instead, it’ll be channeling the entire era of 1980s gaming.
- The premise is that aliens have picked up transmissions of video depicting classic arcade games. Believing these to be a declaration of war, they invade Earth using 80s games as a template for their war machines. To fend off the invaders, Earth assembles a team of old-school arcade champions to lead the defense.
- It stars Adam Sandler, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Michelle Monaghan, Jane Krakowski, and Kevin james.
- It was directed by Chris Columbus, the guy who made Home Alone and the first two Harry Potter movies, and wrote Gremlins and The Goonies. Basically, a walking nostalgia factory.
Hitman: Agent 47 – August 2015
- We already had a Hitman movie in 2007, but despite the fact that it made the studio a pretty decent amount of money, it proved to be a big letdown for fans and moviegoers.
- This one will be a reboot instead of a straight sequel, with Agent 47 himself being recasted with Homeland‘s Rupert Friend.
Ratchet & Clank – TBA 2015
- A CG animated movie based on the first game in the series.
- It will be directed by TMNT‘s Kevin Munroe.
- Insomniac Games writer TJ Fixman wrote the script.
- James Arnold Taylor and David Kaye have returned to reprise their roles from the games as Ratchet and Clank.
Warcraft – March 2016
- The film will be set in the Warcraft universe, and will serve as a prequel of sorts to the games, telling the story of the early days of the Human vs. Orc war.
- It will feature an ensemble cast on both sides of that divide.
- It was directed by Duncan Jones, who previously helmed Moon and Source Code.
- Production on the film wrapped up last year, putting it right on track for its spring 2016 release date.
Uncharted – June 2016
- Uncharted will be directed by Horrible Bosses‘ Seth Gordon. David O. Russell was originally supposed to direct, with Mark Wahlberg possibly starring. That didn’t pan out.
- Principle photography is slated to begin this year, but as far as we know, no one has been cast in the lead role. That’s not a particularly good sign.
- Zero Dark Thirty writer Mark Boal was responsible for the most recent draft of the screenplay, and if the movie does go into production this year, that’s likely the version they’ll use.
Angry Birds – July 2016
- A CG animated movie directed by former Sony story artist Fergal Reilly and Disney animator Clay Kaytis.
- It will star Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Peter Dinklage, Hannibal Buress, Keegan-Michael Key, and Tony Hale.
Assassin’s Creed – December 2016
- Announced in 2012, and will star Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.
- It will be directed by Justin Kurzel, who also directed Fassbender and Cotillard in a 2015 version of Macbeth.
- It’s still unknown if it will directly adapt one of the games or not, but the current word on the street is that it will be an original story set in the Assassin’s Creed universe.
Sly Cooper – Early 2016
- A CG animated film that will retell the story of the first game in the series.
- Created by the same team as 2015’s Ratchet & Clank movie.
- Matt Olsen and Chris Murphy will reprise their roles from the games as Bentley and Murray respectively.
- Sly Cooper himself will be played by Ian James Corlett.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter – TBA 2016
- According to director Paul WS Anderson, this will be the sixth and final entry in the series.
- Milla Jovovich will return as Alice, along with Michelle Rodriguez and Ali Larter.
- It was originally supposed to be released in 2015, but was delayed due to Milla Jovovich’s pregnancy.
- Universal acquired the rights in 2009, but since then, we haven’t heard much.
- Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (GI Joe and Transformers) has said that it may be about two brothers having an adventure in space.
- Was originally supposed to be directed by Pirates of the Caribbean‘s Gore Verbinksi.
- That project fell through when Watchmen bombed, which scared the studio away from expensive R-rated adaptations.
- Sony has continued to register Bioshock movie trademarks and web domains though, so it may still be in development.
- Universal has optioned a live-action film based on the game (which is in turn very, very, very loosely based on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy).
- Fede Alvarez, director of the Evil Dead reboot, was hired to helm the project.
- It will be the second film based on Dante’s Inferno. An animated direct-to-DVD feature was released to coincide with the game in February 2010.
- Originally announced in 2002, the project has been stuck in development hell for over a decade now.
- Last year, director Scott Derrickson revealed that script rewrites were still happening though, based on the game Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
Devil May Cry
- Screen Gems, the company that puts out the Resident Evil movies, is adapting Devil May Cry as an origin story for Dante.
- This won’t be the first time the games have been adapted. We got an anime series in 2007 that ran for 12 episodes.
- Uwe Boll made a Far Cry movie in 2008, but it was entirely terrible and quickly forgotten.
- This new film is part of an aggressive new push from Ubisoft to turn their games into movie series. In addition to Far Cry, they are also pursuing projects based on Raving Rabbids and Watch_Dogs.
Gears of War
- Despite a promising announcement and a rumored budget of upwards of $100 million, Gears of War has so far failed to gain much traction.
- Previously, Underworld‘s Len Wiseman was going to direct, but that didn’t pan out.
- In 2013 we got word that Scott Stuber has taken over producing duties for the film, and is developing a script with Epic Games.
- Warner Bros. is partnering with Michael Bay to create a Ghost Recon movie, the first time the studio has collaborated with the director.
- Writing team Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia (Human Target, Warehouse 13, Jericho) are currently working on the screenplay.
God of War
- A God of War movie was originally announced in 2005 after the release of the first game in the series. It was originally going to star Daniel Craig, with X-Men 3‘s Brett Ratner directing. That version of the film fell through though.
- In 2013, Saw IV writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton were hired to create a new draft of the script, with a direction inspired by Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies.
- A $150 million budget has reportedly been earmarked if the studio can crack the script.
- 50 Shades of Grey producers Dana Brunetti and Mike De Luca are working on bringing Gran Turismo to the big screen.
- It’s rumored to be about Lucas Ordóñez, a real-life Gran Turismo player-turned-professional racecar driver.
- Work on a movie version of Heavy Rain began before the game was even released. New Line acquired the rights to it just days after it was shown off at E3 2006.
- Warner Bros. now has those rights, and hired Deadwood writer David Milch to write the script in 2013.
Kane & Lynch
- Lionsgate is currently developing a movie version of this 2007 game.
- Bruce Willis and Jamie Foxx were originally attached to play Kane and Lynch respectively. More recently, Gerard Butler and Vin Diesel have been mentioned as circling the project.
- It will be directed by Law Abiding Citizen‘s F. Gary Gray.
The Last of Us
- Naughty Dog will co-produce the movie with Screen Gems.
- Sam Raimi, of the original Spider-Man and Evil Dead trilogies, is reportedly in line to direct the movie.
- It will be based directly on the game.
- Legendary Pictures, the guys who brought us the Dark Knight trilogy, Godzilla, and the upcoming Warcraft movie, is developing the movie version of Mass Effect.
- Mass Effect‘s Casey Hudson, and Bioware’s Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuck, are executive producers on the film.
- In 2012, Thor and I Am Legend writer Morgan Davis Foehl was hired to pen the screenplay.
- In 2013, it was announced that Legendary would be presenting the project to Universal, with Universal having the final say as to whether or not development continues.
- Fox acquired the rights to make a Missile Command movie in 2011.
- Since then, we haven’t heard anything about this one, so there’s a fair chance that it’s dead.
- After the success of the Mortal Kombat: Legacy webseries, New Line and Warner Bros. greenlit a feature film reboot in 2011.
- The project has since stalled out though, and it’s uncertain whether or not the movie is still being developed.
Metal Gear Solid
- Hideo Kojima himself announced a Metal Gear Solid movie project in 2006.
- That version of the project died, but in 2012, Columbia Pictures and Arad Productions re-announced a movie adaptation.
- Last summer, Jordan Vogt-Roberts was rumored to be in line to direct. Vogt-Roberts is an indie and web director whose first big Hollywood production will be the King Kong prequel Skull Island in 2017.
- The Raving Rabbids have proven to be as popular, if not more so, than the Rayman game series that’s spawned them. Ubisoft hopes to capitalize on this by creating a feature film based on the characters.
- It will be part of their partnership with Sony Pictures, alongside Assassin’s Creed, Watch_Dogs, and Far Cry.
- In 2010, Sony Pictures Animation was developing a movie based on the games, featuring a live-action/CGI hybrid art style.
- Harold Zwart, director of the Karate Kid reboot, joined the project soon after.
- Since then, we’ve heard absolutely nothing about it though, so there’s a very good chance it didn’t get anywhere.
- A Sims movie was reportedly in pre-production back in 2007.
- Puss in Boots writer Brian Lynch was hired to write a script the following year, with game producer John Davis saying it would be inspired by John Hughes’s 1985 movie Weird Science.
- The project stalled out soon after, with no updates in the past half a decade.
- Of all of Ubisoft’s film projects, Splinter Cell is the furthest along.
- A script by Sheldon Turner has reportedly been finished, with New Regency hoping to begin production this year.
- Tom Hardy has previously been announced to be playing Sam Fisher, although that was back in 2012.
- Universal acquired the movie rights to this game way back in 2003.
- Dwayne Jonson was originally supposed to star in it, with John Woo directing, but both of them left the project after development slowed in 2005.
- Two years later, Resident Evil director Paul W.S. Anderson was hired to direct. He’s reportedly been working on a new script ever since, but we haven’t heard much in the past few years.
- The first two Tomb Raider movies, starring Angelina Jolie, were mildly successful at the box office, but got slammed by critics and fans.
- A reboot centering around a younger Lara Croft has been in development since 2011, with MGM distributing and Buffy the Vampire Slayer writer Marti Noxon penning the screenplay.
- Paul Wernick and Rhet Reese are writing this adaptation. They previously worked on Zombieland, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and the Deadpool movie together.
- It will be part of Ubisoft’s big push to develop their big game franchises into movies. Other related projects are Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Raving Rabbids, and Splinter Cell.