games / Columns

The Top 8 Never-Made Video Game Adaptations

May 3, 2022 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Mass Effect Image Credit: BioWare

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about videp game adaptations, specifically ones that weren’t actually made. These are basically movies or shows that were announced as to come out or be optioned for production but nothing ever actually came from it. Let’s begin:

#8: Tetris

Now, there actually are two adaptations of Tetris that were proposed. The first is a behind the scenes drama about Alexey Pajitnov actually creating Tetris and all the business machinations that then followed. This film is already in the can and will probably be fine. The other adaptation is a whole new ballgame. It was announced in 2014 and was supposed to be an 80 million dollar science fiction movie. Uh…what? Unless it was going to be an 80 million dollar adaptation of that “Hole in the Wall” game show, I don’t see what this movie could’ve possibly been. Well, alright, maybe if it was just a copy of Tron, only Flynn shows the Tetris populace that you can bend in any way, not just the 7 pieces in the game.

#7: Dante’s Inferno

Remember when Dante’s Inferno was supposed to be an epic God of War competitor and was supposed to be the start of a whole new franchise? Yeah, me either. More importantly, neither does EA. The problem with Dante’s Inferno is that the actual game is mostly fine to good but the marketing completely tanked it, almost out of the gate. So no one actually cared when it came out. It did get an animated movie and a few comics but nothing like the whole transmedia thing that EA was trying to do with their games, at this time. I imagine a movie adaptation would’ve just followed the game’s plotline, though I like to hope they’d have the actual Inferno chapter title cards, like Clerks did.

#6: Splinter Cell

Like with the last game on this list, it’s impressive that they still can’t get a Splinter Cell adaptation off the ground. It’s really NOT hard, just make a good action-spy film and be done with it. I think one issue is, the level of quality of most spy films nowadays is pretty bad, so doing it as a movie wouldn’t work. Compare to recent Jack Ryan movies to the Jack Ryan TV show, the same goes for Jack Reacher. Still, a 2 hour Sam Fisher thriller could be fun, if they (Ubisoft) actually cared about the property at all, anymore.

#5: Streets of Rage

How…does this work? Sega just announced they were going to get to work on a Streets of Rage adaptation, tasking Derek Kolstad to write it, since he did John Wick and the Nobody movie. In theory, a Streets of Rage movie is simple: three ex-cops take on a criminal syndicate and its leader Mr. X. However, movies today aren’t really geared for this, or if they are, it’s incredibly serious, like the previously mentioned John Wick, or those Taken movies. A Streets of Rage movie should be fun, like the 80’s style of action movies.

#4: Mass Effect

The long…long story of a Mass Effect adaptation could almost be a movie unto itself. Originally announced in 2008 with Avi Arad producing it as a movie, it has languished in various parts of development hell for over 14 years now, and the news late last year about Amazon making a TV based on it, doesn’t give me any hope at all. I don’t even know how you tackle this one, because the second you announce a Shepard casting, half the internet is going to burn down. If you say “Male Shepard”, the leftwing will burn down but if you say “FemShep”, the rightwing will burn down. Personally, I’d just hire Mark Vanderloo (male Shepard actual model) and have him do it, but that’s just me. I’d also get Yvonne Strahovski to portray Miranda, because she’d be excellent at it.

#3: BioShock

Another game languishing in development hell. BioShock certainly has a fantastic look, one that could be very impressive on the screen or at home. I think a lot of the smaller/weirder story stuff would be lost in an adaptation though, like the one crazy lady singing to her “baby” (gun) in the carriage or just the general downfall of Rapture itself. Plus, the “secret” of Jack is already kind of known, so if it was a TV show, it’d have to be a lot denser than the games, think something like Westworld. If it was going to be a movie, I’d want someone like Guillermo del Toro to do it but I’m sure he’s sick enough of underwater movies for a while.

#2: Joust

Yes, back in the day, someone tried to turn Joust into a movie. Announced in 2007, Joust was supposed to be a science fiction movie where it was supposed to be “Gladiator meets Mad Max”, that was set 25 years in the future with a Las Vegas suspended in mid-air. Which *checks my watch* is only about 10 years from happening, according to this movie that was never made. At least with something like The Witcher, Sonic, Mario, etc., the player character actually has a name. What is the Joust guy’s name? “Joust-Man?” “Jouster?” The idea that anyone entertained that Joust could be a movie had the same brainpower as thinking a Tetris adaptation could work.

#1: Metal Gear Solid

It was announced a little over a year and a half ago that a Metal Gear Solid movie was going to be made with Oscar Isaac as Solid Snake and Jordan Vogt-Roberts directing it. And uh, since Dec. 2020, there has been no news at all. I understand that preproduction can take a while, on average it takes about half a year for an action/spy/scifi movie but there hasn’t been any news at all. No news on additional casting, when the movie is going to start actually filming, what the budget is, etc. It was just announced and that was it. At least with this one, they got far enough to actually sign someone to it, who would probably be good in the role, but it seems completely abandoned at this point.

For comments, list video games that were announced for adaptations but didn’t actually come out, you wanted to see and why.

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