With HBO Max’s successful The Last Of Us adaptation now fully aired, many are wondering what other games should be adapted into TV series next. Game-to-screen adaptations such as Paramount’s Halo have been largely criticized in the past due to their vast divergences from the source material, and while The Last of Us did differ from its source material at times, it’s been largely praised for how close to the game’s story it was while expanding the narrative to include new moments outside of Joel’s perspective.
This has given players renewed hope in adaptations of their favorite games, and many streamers already have several game-based projects in development. Tomb Raider and God of War series are in the works at Amazon. Meanwhile, Netflix had success with its Castlevania series, is making multiple Gears of War projects, and has partnered with Ubisoft to create Splinter Cell and Assassin’s Creed shows. With this in mind, here are 10 other game series that should get TV adaptations.
10 Max Payne
The great thing about more linear games is that their levels form a solid structure for a TV series to follow episodically. The original Max Payne was split into three main acts with John Woo-style action and a great Noir atmosphere at its core, which would lend itself well to a TV drama. While the 2008 Mark Wahlberg-led movie disappointed fans by rearranging and changing key elements and rushing the story to fit a 100-minute runtime, a TV show could take its time to unravel the conspiracy behind the death of Max’s wife and child more faithfully over multiple episodes.
Game auteur, Hideo Kojima‘s work has always been incredibly cinematic, with lengthy cutscenes that sometimes amount to the length of an episode of a TV drama. Although a movie starring Oscar Issac has been in the works for a while, a Metal Gear Solid show that spans the decades-long narrative of the games would make for incredible television. The technothriller stealth series is packed with incredible dialogue, strong character moments, and rich ethical dilemmas that would make it just as compelling to watch as the games were to play.
Two movies have attempted to adapt Agent 47’s stories in the past, but the recent Hitman: World of Assassination game trilogy showed how an episodic approach to Hitman could work if adapted to TV. A TV show could showcase unique kills each week with various nods to the game’s more unique assassination methods as Agent 47 hunts down a variety of targets. By adding a storyline such as an overarching conspiracy, it could turn this simple killing game into a show that keeps viewers coming back for more.
7 Alan Wake
Much as it did with Max Payne, Remedy is known for wearing its influences on its sleeve with the games it produces. This was the case with Alan Wake, which follows the titular author as he visits the fictional town of Bright Falls, where many mysterious events unfold that mirror his recent novel manuscript. A TV adaptation would bring things full circle, as Alan Wake clearly draws inspiration from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks series with its location and more surreal moments.
6 Mass Effect
The universe of Mass Effect is so rich that it opens up a variety of options, and could even follow different characters within it to adapt companion narratives while nodding to the canonical events of the games. One of the main appeals to the Mass Effect games, however, was letting players carve out their own narrative path with their own version of Commander Shepherd, so a TV adaptation might not satisfy everyone as it would have the hard task of picking one version to follow. That being said, with its huge universe, dozens of planets, and political intrigue, it could easily become the next big sci-fi drama if the narrative is done well.
The story of bodyguard-turned-assassin Corvo’s quest to save the heir to the throne, Emily Kaldwin, would work well on TV if given the same treatment as something like Game of Thrones to truly bring its plague-ridden, steampunk world and the politics within to life. Dishonored may have some common critiques, however, its narrative and different outcomes (depending on players’ actions) were well received. Its sequel chose an ending as canon, so a TV show would likely adapt that. As Dishonored was told from Corvo’s perspective, a show could also explore more of Emily’s story during the first game in order to build her up prior to a second season that could follow her Dishonored 2 arc.
Despite Netflix already having a Bioshock movie in the works, a TV show could work as a great companion piece. Across the Bioshock games’ cities of Rapture and Columbia, players could access audio logs that told the stories of key characters in the cities prior to the events of the game. An anthology series could delve deeper into these stories and would be an interesting way to also show Rapture at its prime in the moments before its downfall.
3 Sleeping Dogs
The story of Sleeping Dogs is one that could be adapted to TV fairly easily as a special limited series. Wei Shen’s undercover mission, where he infiltrates the Sun On Yee Triad organization and has to walk the fine line between enforcing and breaking the law to maintain his cover would offer plenty of suspense. Each week, Shen could delve further into the criminal organization while offering up plenty of martial arts action.
2 Dead Space
Legendary sci-fi and horror director John Carpenter stated that he’d adapt Dead Space as a movie. While Carpenter also implied that a Dead Space movie might be in development with another director, a series would be a good way to further expand the universe outside of Issac’s story. Standalone episodes akin to The Last of Us‘ acclaimed “Long Long Time” following members of the Church of Unitology, or those working on the USG Ishimura during its doomed planet-cracking mission could be strong standouts in the episodic storytelling that TV would allow.
1 Red Dead Redemption
Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption titles have already been highly praised for their heartbreaking narratives surrounding the fall of the Van der Linde gang during the decline of the American Old West, and given how long both games were, a TV show would be the best way to adapt them into other media. A former Rockstar developer, Tobias Kleanthous even voiced his opinion that Leonardo DiCaprio would be ideal casting for RDR 2‘s protagonist, Arthur Morgan in a screen adaptation. As a game comparable to The Last of Us in terms of lasting success and impactful story, Red Dead Redemption would be the next logical game to adapt; providing a company like HBO Max are the ones to do it.