12 more video game adaptations on the way after The Last of Us

Video game adaptations have officially entered the mainstream

BioShock
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It's safe to say the video game adaptation curse has been broken. HBO's The Last of Us has been receiving rave reviews and strong viewership, proving video games can be successfully adapted into other mediums without disappointing fans. Its success could inspire a wave of new video game movies and TV shows, just as there was an uptick in fantasy series after Game of Thrones, and many are already on the way. So which could be similarly successful? Here are some of the most notable video game adaptations on the horizon:

God of War

If we're searching for the "next The Last of Us," one of the strongest candidates would be another series adaptation of a hit PlayStation game lauded for its cinematic storytelling that centers on the relationship between an adult and a kid: God of War.

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Specifically, we're referring to the 2018 version just called God of War, though the franchise dates back to 2005. Drawing on Norse mythology, the game follows former God of War Kratos and his son, Atreus. After the death of Kratos' wife, he and Atreus go on a quest to scatter her ashes at the highest peak in the realm to fulfill her final wish. 2018's God of War and its 2022 sequel, God of War Ragnarök, are widely regarded as two of the greatest games of all time, with each receiving a perfect 10 out of 10 score from IGN. The 2018 game also won the top prize of Game of the Year at the Game Awards, the video game equivalent of the Oscars. Like The Last of Us, it has been praised for its story in addition to the gameplay, particularly for the exploration of the central father-son relationship.

A television adaptation of God of War received a series order from Amazon Prime Video in 2022, with Rafe Judkins, who previously worked on The Wheel of Time, serving as showrunner. Children of Men writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby are also on board.

Gears of War

Speaking of war, Gears of War is another hugely popular video game franchise being turned into both a movie and a TV show courtesy of Netflix.

The first Gears of War game, a third-person shooter, was released in 2006 for the Xbox 360, but it has continued to receive sequels and spinoffs, including 2019's Gears 5. The games are set in a world where humanity is at war with a race of genetically altered humans, the Locust Horde, on the planet Sera. The first three installments center on a soldier named Marcus Fenix.

Netflix has confirmed it's working on a live-action film and an animated television series based on Gears of War. The casting hasn't been announced, though fans have long suggested Dave Bautista for the lead role of Marcus Fenix, and Bautista has expressed interest. Game developer The Coalition will be involved.

Fallout

After the death of Westworld, the show's creators are turning to a hit role-playing game next.

Westworld creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan are producing a series adaptation of the Fallout franchise, which is headed to Amazon Prime Video. Dating back to 1997, the series takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland following a nuclear war, making use of a retrofuturistic aesthetic. The games tell a sprawling story with many different possible quests that the player can explore, so the show will have to streamline things rather than being a one-to-one adaptation of a contained story like The Last of Us.

Walton Goggins is starring in the show, and Deadline reports he will possibly be playing a ghoul, which in the game are humans mutated by radiation. Ella Purnell and Kyle MacLachlan will also star, and Bethesda, the studio behind the games, is producing. "It is just a gonzo, crazy, funny, adventure, and mindf--k like none you've ever seen before," Joy told Collider. The show began filming in 2022, so it could potentially debut by the end of 2023.

BioShock

Would you kindly do a BioShock adaptation justice? A movie based on 2K Games' first-person shooter has long been discussed given the game has so much compelling lore to work with, and a film was confirmed to be in development at Netflix in 2022.

The original horror game, a first-person shooter, is set in a run-down underwater city called Rapture, a planned utopia built by an Ayn Rand-esque figure named Andrew Ryan. As players progress through the city, they learn about Rapture's rise and fall and how a substance called ADAM was discovered that can alter a person's genetic material and give them supernatural abilities. The game's most iconic enemies are known as Big Daddies, genetically-altered humans in diving suits.

A BioShock movie was once set to be helmed by Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski, but that version of the project fell apart. It's now moving forward at Netflix from Francis Lawrence, director of most of the Hunger Games films, and Logan screenwriter Michael Green is writing. The original BioShock was released in 2007 and spawned two sequels, 2010's BioShock 2 and 2013's BioShock Infinite, so Netflix could have a trilogy on its hands if it plays its cards right. Get ready to watch with your little sister.

Borderlands

Another classic 2K game getting the feature film treatment is Borderlands, and with this one, the co-creator of HBO's The Last of Us is involved.

Similar to the games, the movie will follow an outlaw named Lilith, who "forms an alliance with an unexpected team" and "must battle alien monsters and dangerous bandits to find and protect the missing" daughter of the "universe's most powerful S.O.B." in a journey on the planet Pandora, per the official plot synopsis. Cate Blanchett is set to play Lilith, and the rest of the cast includes Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Borderlands will be released by Lionsgate, and it was directed by Eli Roth, who wrote the script with The Last of Us co-creator Craig Mazin. But there's been speculation the project could be in trouble considering it began shooting in April 2021 and still doesn't have a release date. The last we heard was that another director, Tim Miller, is set to step in to direct two weeks of reshoots because Roth is busy with another project.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Along with The Last of Us and God of War, one of the most acclaimed PlayStation franchises of recent years is the Horizon series.

Beginning with 2017's Horizon Zero Dawn, the games take place in a post-apocalyptic world where machine creatures roam, and they center on a hunter named Aloy, played by Ashly Burch. "Explore distant lands, fight bigger and more awe-inspiring machines, and encounter astonishing new tribes as you return to the far-future, post-apocalyptic world of Horizon," the game's plot synopsis says.

The 2017 game received a sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, that was lauded as one of the best games of 2022 and received seven nominations at the Game Awards, including Game of the Year. A Horizon TV series is now in the works at Netflix, and the showrunner of The Umbrella Academy will be involved.

Death Stranding

From legendary video game designer Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid), the 2019 sci-fi action game Death Stranding boasted a surprisingly star-studded cast including Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Léa Seydoux, and Margaret Qualley. So it only makes sense that a film version is now in the works.

The original game is set in a near future where "mysterious explosions have rocked the globe, setting off a series of supernatural events known as the Death Stranding," the game's website explains. The protagonist, Sam Porter Bridges (Reedus), must save humanity and "travel across the ravaged wasteland" with "otherworldly creatures plaguing the landscape, and mass extinction imminent."

A Death Stranding movie was confirmed in December 2022, and Kojima Productions is set to produce. With Kojima himself involved, the game will "introduce new elements and characters into the Death Stranding world," according to Variety. It isn't yet clear whether Reedus or any of the other stars will reprise their roles.

Ghost of Tsushima

One of the most acclaimed games of 2020 was Ghost of Tsushima, which was nominated for the top prize of Game of the Year at the Game Awards, and it's now getting the feature film treatment.

The game sees players take on the role of a samurai in the 13th century when the Mongols invaded Japan. "As one of the last surviving samurai, you rise from the ashes to fight back," the game's website explains. "But honorable tactics won't lead you to victory. You must move beyond your samurai traditions to forge a new way of fighting — the way of the Ghost — as you wage an unconventional war for the freedom of Japan."

A Ghost of Tsushima movie was confirmed in 2021 with John Wick director ​​Chad Stahelski attached, though it sounds like it's still years away. In November 2022, Stahelski told IGN the movie is on his "list of things I'm dying to direct" but that while "we have a very good script," they're "still working out some of the details."

Tomb Raider

The Tomb Raider game franchise has already spawned a few movies, but Hollywood isn't finished excavating it.

Amazon has reportedly ordered both a new TV series and a movie based on the Tomb Raider franchise, an Indiana Jones-like adventure series centered around archaeologist Lara Croft. Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge is reportedly writing the show, though she isn't expected to star in it. But Amazon has also ordered a Tomb Raider film, and The Hollywood Reporter says the "idea is to build out a connected world of Tomb Raider" with a film, TV show, and new video game all existing in the same universe, similar to Marvel. However, Waller-Bridge would reportedly only be involved in the show, not the movie or the game. The Reporter noted this is one of Amazon's largest commitments outside of the Lord of the Rings franchise.

Angelina Jolie starred in the original two Tomb Raider films in the 2000s, while Alicia Vikander took over the role in a 2018 movie. But MGM lost the rights after failing to make a sequel to the 2018 film.

Twisted Metal

The writers behind Zombieland and Deadpool are taking Twisted Metal out for a spin.

Based on the vehicular combat games that center on a chaotic demolition derby and include characters like a killer clown named Sweet Tooth, a Twisted Metal TV series in the works at Peacock. It will follow a "motor-mouthed outsider offered a chance at a better life, but only if he can successfully deliver a mysterious package across a post-apocalyptic wasteland," per Deadline. "With the help of a trigger-happy car thief, he'll face savage marauders driving vehicles of destruction and other dangers of the open road, including a deranged clown who drives an all too familiar ice cream truck."

Anthony Mackie has been cast in the show, and he'll star alongside Stephanie Beatriz, Thomas Haden Church, Will Arnett, and Neve Campbell. The series adaptation comes from Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who wrote Zombieland and the Deadpool films, and it's expected to debut sometime in 2023.

Five Nights at Freddy's

One of the popular horror games of the past decade is Five Nights at Freddy, and one of the past decade's biggest horror studios is giving it the big-screen treatment.

The original games take place in a Chuck E. Cheese-esque pizza restaurant, and the player takes control of an employee, who must survive as the various animatronic characters come to life. The first game was released in 2014, but it has spawned numerous sequels and spinoffs.

A Five Nights at Freddy's horror movie is now in the works at Blumhouse, the famed studio behind films like The Purge and M3GAN. Emma Tammi (The Wind) is directing, with Matthew Lillard and Josh Hutcherson set to star. No release date has been set, but the project began shooting in February 2023, so it should be just around the corner.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie

The first major live-action video game movie was 1993's Super Mario Bros., and it was a notorious disaster. But 30 years later, could Illumination finally get it right?

Unlike the 1993 version, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is animated, and it comes from the studio behind Minions. Though the Mario games aren't driven by story, the film appears to be much more faithful to them than the previous adaptation, which invented a plot involving dinosaurs that was poorly received by fans. The movie is also incorporating elements from various Mario franchises beyond just the main platforming games, including a Mario Kart-inspired sequence teased in the trailers.

The casting of Chris Pratt as the voice of Mario attracted much online derision, though, with critics arguing he sounds too much like himself as the character. But fans have been more accepting of the rest of the cast, which includes Charlie Day as Luigi, Anya Taylor-Joy as Peach, and Jack Black as Bowser. Box office expectations are sky-high, especially since the film has secured a coveted China release. It hits U.S. theaters on April 5.

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