Let’s face it, it can be difficult to stay positive about video game movies when pretty well every movie adaptation has let us down. One needn’t look further than Doom or Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li, to see that Hollywood is prone to giving fans of the source material exactly what they don’t want in a live-action representation of their beloved game series. However, as the landscape of the film and games industry are now starting to converge, with incredibly cinematic gaming experiences offered by titles like Uncharted, The Last of Us, and Metal Gear Solid, we remain incredibly hopeful that game-based movies of the future will do a much better job of staying true to the source material than they have in the past. We’ll get our first taste of this new age of video game adaptations later this year with the Assassin’s Creed movie starring Michael Fassbender, but here are 12 video game movies currently in development that we also have high expectations for.
12. God of War
Despite being in development since the first game was released in 2005, we still know next to nothing concerning the details of the live-action God of War movie. At one point it was said that Brett Ratner was attached to direct and that Daniel Craig had turned down the lead role of Kratos, but, other than that, information has been very scarce. If the film ever does in fact see the light of day, it’s expected that the script will be loosely based on the story from the first game, where Kratos must face off against Ares and emerge as the new God of War.
11. Splinter Cell
Ubisoft’s film studio is working together with New Regency Productions to make a film version of their popular black ops stealth game. Though the game franchise stars an experienced gray-haired agent named Sam Fisher, the film version will probably look considerably younger with 38-year-old Tom Hardy set to play the lead role.
For a time, Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow and The Bourne Identity) was attached to direct but he’s since left the project. In the past, Liman has demonstrated a keen ability for making smart genre thrillers, so hopefully Ubisoft can find someone just as talented to replace him while actor / screenwriter Frank John Hughes works on revising the script. Previous screenplay drafts for the project were penned by Oscar-nominated scribes Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle) and Sheldon Turner (X-Men: First Class), however, it remains to be seen which of these writers will ultimately be credited (or if a new screenwriter will have to be brought in for rewrites, which is a possibility).
10. Shadow of the Colossus
Though rumors of a Shadow of the Colossus movie have been swirling for quite some time now, according to a 2014 Hollywood Reporter story, the movie is actually in development. This PlayStation 2 treasure presents a gorgeously desolate world and a heart-wrenching tale of a young man who must traverse said world in order to slay sixteen enormous creatures in an effort to bring the girl he loves back to life. Although the movie version has been on the back burner since 2009, Sony Pictures has just hired a new director to lead the project, Andrés Muschietti, whose horror film Mama scared terrified audiences back in 2013. Assisting Muschietti is his wife and producing partner Barbara Muschietti and Kevin Misher, who worked on Public Enemies and The Scorpion King.
9. Watch Dogs
Ubisoft’s hacking-themed game Watch Dogs has been getting shopped around for a movie treatment since 2013 before the game was even officially released. No production or projected release dates were given during the announcement of a feature film at Gamescom 2013. All Ubisoft Motion Pictures mentioned is that they would be working with two other partners in developing the picture. Those partners have now been revealed to be Columbia Pictures and New Regency, who have brought on Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese to write the script.
Currently, the movie has been put on hiatus — perhaps because of the game’s somewhat lackluster critical reception — but reports say it’s still very much in the works.
8. Deus Ex
Deus Ex is a stylish and thought-provoking action-stealth game franchise that was revitalized in 2011 with the release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. A movie based on the game was originally announced all the way back in 2002, but was abruptly cancelled in 2004. Now, a new movie based on the plot from 2011’s critically-acclaimed Deus Ex: Human Revolution is thought to be in the works. CBS films had reportedly been in talks with Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill — the writer / director duo behind Sinister — to develop what they describe as a realistic cyberpunk movie, but Derrickson has since left the project so he could direct Marvel Studio’s upcoming Doctor Strange movie. According to producer Adrian Askarieh, the screenwriters are now supposedly looking for a new production company to realize their vision.
7. The Last of Us
The Last of Us is one of the best examples of cinematic storytelling in video games, so it’s hardly surprising that movie studios immediately jumped at the chance to do a big screen adaptation after the game’s release in 2013. The movie is still only in the early stages of development, but reports indicate that Sam Raimi’s Ghost Light Productions is handling it, with the game’s original story writer Neil Druckmann working on the screenplay. In January 2015, Druckmann gave an update and assured fans that his screenplay would be “pretty faithful” to his original game script, despite a few “big changes.”
The finished product is still likely pretty far off, but if the quality of the source material is any indication, we expect it will be worth the wait.
6. Five Nights at Freddy’s
Scott Cawthon’s terrifying point-and-click survival game Five Nights at Freddy’s has recently been picked up by Warner Bros. for a movie adaptation. The movie is expected to closely follow the game, which is set in a Chuck-E-Cheese-style restaurant where one of the establishment’s animatronic characters comes to life and becomes a murderous kill-bot at night. In the game, you play as a night security guard who must survive their shift by fending off and eluding the creepy mechanical animals who seek to kill you.
The film is being directed by Gil Kenan (Monster House) Gil Kenan is currently attached to direct and plans on using a lot of practical effects to create the macabre machinations of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. And judging by the pictures he’s been posting to social media, the movie appears to be in very good hands.
Following the huge success of The Lego Movie, it seemed inevitable that Minecraft, the insanely popular sandbox title from Mojang, would eventually make its way to movie screens. And not too long ago, it appeared that the Minecraft movie was moving forward full-throttle thanks to the combined efforts of Warner Bros. and Night At The Museum director Shawn Levy. With a hot video game property at their disposal, and a director with a wheelhouse of predominantly family-friendly films, a successful movie release seemed all but assured. But, unfortunately, it now looks as though Minecraft fans will have to wait a little longer before they get to see any sort of pixelated wonderment at their local cineplex, as Shawn Levy has confirmed he’s off the project.
Oddly enough, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s co-creator Rob McElhenney took Levy’s place in 2015, and is now working with The Lego Movie producer Roy Lee and Jill Messick (Mean Girls) to get the ball rolling on production. Hopefully they pull it off.
4. The Witcher
The argument could be made that we’ve already had a Witcher movie and a TV series since the books that inspired the games were adapted to film and television as The Hexer in 2001 and 2002. But with the franchise being popularized for current gaming audiences in 2007 thanks to developer CD Projekt Red’s acclaimed game adaptations, with last year’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in particular receiving rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that another movie has been green-lit.
The movie is reportedly being spearheaded by producer Sean Daniel (The Mummy series) in collaboration with Platige Films. This won’t be the first time Platige Films has had a hand in the Witcher series either — they’re the ones responsible for a few of the trailers and cinematic sequences found in The Witcher 3:Wild Hunt. Like this one.
The Witcher movie is currently scheduled for a theatrical release sometime in 2017.
3. Metal Gear Solid
Talks of a Metal Gear Solid Movie have been taking place ever since series creator Hideo Kojima confirmed it was in development back in 2006. At the time, Kojima hinted that the movie might be set in Alaska, and follow the story of the original game, which centers around protagonist Solid Snake infiltrating a heavily-guarded enemy compound.
The film was purported to be in English with an undetermined release date, however in January 2010, it was announced that production had stalled, with the film’s producer saying that development likely wouldn’t continue. Nevertheless, on August 30, 2012, it was revealed that the movie is back in production, and will be produced by former Marvel Entertainment CEO Avi Arad. Though there haven’t been many clues dropped as to who will play Solid Snake, there have been rumors that both Christian Bale and Kiefer Sutherland (who, interestingly enough, provided Snake’s voice in last year’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain) have been targeted for the role.
2. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
The road to the Uncharted movie has been a long and strenuous one, but the people involved in the project are still confident that the film will get made and be a huge success. Development began in 2011, but directorial issues over the storyline and budget constraints resulted in a revolving door of directors and writers coming and going ever since. Back in 2011, it was thought that David O. Russel and writer David Guggenheim had finally managed to nail down a script that brought lead protagonist Nathan Drake’s extended family into the story. In an interview, O. Russel said “I think if we take that family dynamic that we have in The Fighter, and put that in terms of a grander stage, with a crime family that metes out justice in the world of art and antiquities…They’re like the Sopranos in some ways.” However, since Neil Burger took over directing duties in 2011, it’s believed that the plot has been rewritten with the ‘Soprano-style family’ idea removed entirely.
Actor Nathan Fillion had previously expressed interest in playing the role of Nathan Drake, and even started a Twitter campaign to encourage fans to support him in this endeavor. When news surfaced that then-director O. Russell wanted Mark Wahlberg to star in the role, Fillion expressed his support for the casting decision. However, now that Wahlberg is no longer attached, we’re hoping there’s still the possibility that Fillion will get the part, although the actor’s advancing age makes this a less realistic possibility the longer the film sits in development hell.
1. Mass Effect
With Mass Effect, Bioware created an epic space opera that is practically begging for a big budget, live action movie adaptation, which is probably exactly what Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment were thinking when they snatched up the rights in 2010.
Mass Effect is still in the early stages of development with no announced cast or director in place. However, in addition to Morgan Davis Foehl who is writing the screenplay, Avi Arad, Thomas Tull, and Jon Jashni have been attached to produce, with Bioware co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, alongside former Mass Effect project director Casey Hudson serving as executive producers. In an interview with IGN, Tull revealed that preparing Mass Effect’s sprawling story for big screen has been no easy task:
“I think the canon they’ve created is sophisticated. It’s very broad, meaning you can’t pitch that in 30 seconds, right? It’s a complex story. So it is challenging. If it wasn’t challenging, the movie would have been out by now, but it is. We’ve just got to stick to our guns that, if it’s a movie that’s going to come from us, we want it to be great. If we can’t crack that yet then we just have to keep working.”
According to producer Avi Arad, the film is likely to debut in 2018 or 2019.