With Prince of Persia joining the likes of Hitman and Lara Croft as videogames to have graced the silver screen, we at Dealspwn racked out collective noggins to decide on the ten films we'd like to see in our local cinema. Brendan has already covered the movies you should steer clear of, and Matt's recent Game Buzz took a critical look at Bruckheimer's recent crossover film, but now, from the explosive and quintessentially cinematic to the obscure and unconventional, we bring you The Top 10 Videogames That Should Be Films.
An obvious choice, the Halo film's been gestating for years since Microsoft nabbed Alex Garland, of The Beach and 28 Day's Later fame, to pen the adaption. Then Mr Middle Earth himself, Peter Jackson, hopped on-board, and big hitters Fox and Universal agreed a joint distribution partnership. Problems arose when Fox and Universal balked at the supposedly 200 million + budget and Microsoft's demands. Then Jackson choice newcomer Neil Blomkamp, a former FX artist who'd only made commercials, to direct. The film was duly dropped, and has been lurking in the wilderness since.
Blomkamp since went on to helm District 9, the alien-apartheid mockumentary which became a surprise hit last summer and established the young South African as Hollywood's favourite new director. Ironic considering Fox and Universal's lack of faith. It's especially sad to see, as Halo has all the elements vital for a good film. Great action, a solid cast, and a fantastic universe to bring to life. Let's hope it Floods cinemas soon!
9. Metal Gear Solid
Like Halo, the Metal Gear Solid films been in development for years, with Equilibrium's Kurt Wimmer rumoured to be attached and Christian Bale set for the role of Snake. David Hayter, Snake's voice-actor and screenwriter for the likes of X-Men, pitched a script to Konami and hoped to direct, but with no news of success, it's doubtful.
Metal Gear Solid's one problem lies in its twisting, multifaceted story, with so many mysteries and loose-strings writing a script for this thing is equivalent to untying an impossible knot. It's also a series with a heavy reliance on monologues and drawn-out speeches, which act as breathers when playing an explosive action game, but may feel at odds with the pace in a two-hour blockbuster.
8. Splinter Cell
Sam Fisher is unlike any spy in current films. Or at least, he once was. Then he saw the Bourne trilogy. However, the original three Splinter Cells from the previous generation represent an opportunity for Hollywood to create a spy who doesn't drink on the job and bed rivals, ala James Bond, or climb murderous cliff-faces like Tom Cruise in that film I find impossible to watch. Sam Fisher is a spy who actually infiltrates the enemy, lurks in the shadow and strikes only when necessary.
Peter Berg, the guy who ruined a perfectly good Will Smith superhero film with an angelic twist, was once set to direct, but a number of issues, ranging from publishing rights changing hands to Berg probably realising he'd anger a mob of murderous nerds if he actually did direct the film, led to the Splinter Cell movie joining its fellows in the bottom drawer.
7. Ratchet and Clank
The current Ratchet and Clank games already resemble their Pixar influences in visual quality. With its sweeping galactic story and lovable leads, supported by a strong supporting cast of heroes and villians, ranging from cowardly war heroes clad in green spandex to antagonists with their heads trapped in fish-jars, the series has all the ingredients for a delicious animated family film, replete with great action.
Considering the likes of Space Chimps and Alvin and the Chipmunks can inexplicably find their way past Hollywood's presumably stringent quality process, surely fans of Ratchet and Clank can see their dreams fulfilled on the silver-screen?
6. Mass Effect
Bioware's sprawling space-opera is in the process of being considered for a Hollywood adaption, with Legendary Pictures nabbing the rights and hiring Mark Protosevich to pen the script. Protosevich wrote the I Am Legend script, which doesn't bode well, and I'm somewhat confused Legendary Pictures didn't simply task Bioware's capable writing staff to produce the script. However, I'm hopeful they're at least involved on a conceptual basis.
Seeing Mass Effect in cinemas would be redemption for the space-opera genre. In my opinion, the opening few hours of Mass Effect 2 contained more quality than the entire second Star Wars trilogy. The colossal cast is excellent, the universe rich and deep. The only problem is hurdling the Commander Shepard complex. Frankly, he's a boring protagonist only helped by a wonderful supporting cast and the player's direct involvement. A charismatic actor and some good writing can help atone for this.
5. Red Dead Redemption
Just as the game breathed life into a genre stagnating on consoles, the Red Dead Redemption film could reignite the Western in cinemas. Westerns were once Hollywood's most reliable blockbuster, but as the market saturated and the quality gradually declines, its success faded. Westerns continue to be made, and the likes of 3:10 to Yuma and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford prove the genre still has life yet.
But with Red Dead Redemption interesting even me, a non-Western fan, I feel a film adaption could result in a resurgence in the genre. Rockstar deftly lifted elements from all the best films, but painted it in their own eclectic colours, with a vast, variety-strewn cast and a wonderful backdrop to ponder over. John Marston is one of the most grounded, subtle (if you count bandit-slaying and horse-wrangling as subtle) protagonists in such a long time, he could carry the film with the right actor in his boots.
4. Shadow of the Colossus
It would be a monumental task to translate Team Ico's grandiose masterpiece. It's a mostly silent game, with very little dialogue. The story is threadbare, a wandering warrior must slay sixteen enormous beasts, the colossi, to resurrect the girl he loves. But it's an emotional, affecting piece, as each colossi falls in tragic defeat, you begin to realise how wrong your quest is.
No easy feat, indeed. But the scope of the world, with its sweeping barren landscapes and lumbering giants, is ripe for cinematic exposure. It would require a special and unconventional director to steer. No Michael Bays or Roland Emmerichs. I suggest Lars von Trier, who could find the brutal, shameful beauty in Shadow of the Colossus.
With a script by John Logan, and Gore Verbinski set to direct, the Bioshock film seemed destined to someday emerge from the depths. But Verbinski has since abandoned ship, with 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo picking up the pieces. It's not clear what stage the Bioshock film is at, as it undoubtedly requires significant financial investment to recreate the underwater nightmare of Rapture and its twisted denizens.
But if it were to be made, Bioshock could be quite special. Fresnadillo is a talented director, although whether he can handle the creeping dread of the game and juggle it with the series' philosophical overtones is another question. The biggest problem, however, is the conundrum of protagonist Jack himself, a veritable cipher, with no face, no voice and no overall personality, who, without gameplay, now only serves the purpose of guiding the story towards its inevitable plot-twist.
An odd choice, but Fable's fairytale setting blended with Monty Python-esque humour could result in a quite original film. Following in the footsteps of either game, it could focus on the plight of a lowly street urchin wandering the Dickensian slums of Bowerstone, only for tragedy to strike and the urchin resolve to become a hero. Fable has a twisted charm to it, and as long as Peter Molyneux isn't advertising the game, we won't suffer the usual Fable release hype.
I can imagine the posters. From the creator of the best RPG ever, Peter Molyneux brings you a cinematic vision of such unparalleled greatness, your mind isn't prepared for such a movie. Prepare for the best film ever made!
I enjoyed Uncharted 2 more than the most recent Indiana Jones, another series George Lucas seems intent on ruining. The man's a sadomasochist. But I digress. Nathan Drake is perhaps more fitted for film than games, as his outlandish actions and firearm proficiency are at odds with the series' attempts to portray him as an everyman. I love Sully and Elena is a solid love interest, and the games focus on mysteries and myths with more credence than a crystal skull belonging to a buried spaceship.
I propose Joss Whedon to direct, and for half the budget to be invested in transforming Nolan North into Nathan Drake. I can't imagine anyone else embodying the character. Just no scenes where Drake is navigating a sprawling puzzle ruin, slips moving a lever and dies in the fall. For the 50th time!
The majority of games featured in this list are actually in development, but Hollywood is strangely afraid of investing in them properly. Prince of Persia represents the first true videogame film with a proper budget, but with the film failing to sweep the box-office, it's doubtful Hollywood will lose this caution any time soon. In the meantime, why not tell us what films you'd like to see on the silver-screen?