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Video Game Movies And Shows You Didn't Know Were Being Made

Film and TV adaptations of video games represent an entirely different beast in the entertainment industry. They've persisted through highs like Detective Pikachu and Sonic the Hedgehog and lows like Street Fighter: The Movie and Super Mario Bros. With the new Mortal Kombat film set to release in April 2021, it seems clear that film and TV productions based on video games aren't going anywhere any time soon. There are still plenty more on the way.

But even with so many of these projects on the horizon, it's difficult to keep track of which ones are coming out, or even the state of their productions. Some are well on schedule for release, while others have been stuck in production hell for years. Others have even come out with full trailers and gotten the plug pulled on them at the drop of a hat.

Here are the video game movies and TV shows you didn't realize were being made. With any luck, the one based on your favorite game will make it to the finish line and come to a screen near you.

Dance Dance Revolution will save the world

Remember the little arcades in the lobby of the local cinema? There were crane games ready to steal naive kids' cash, half-busted Pac-Man cabinets, and invariably a well-worn Dance Dance Revolution machine. Dance Dance Revolution is fairly straightforward: you step on arrows that correspond to the beat of the song on screen and flail your way to some semblance of a stomping, jumping dance. Nothing too complicated, unless one gets good enough for the too-fast-to-follow competitive scene. There's no plot, no characters; just music and movement.

Film studio Stampede has decided  there is enough drama and action within the game's directional arrows to move Dance Dance Revolution from the arcade into the theater. Former President of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman and the game's own intellectual property owner Konami have thrown their weight behind the movie version of the 21-year-old arcade classic. Little is known so far about just what production entails, but the film apparently takes place in a world nearing cataclysmic destruction.

The Dance Dance Revolution movie will be less "dance for fun and fitness" and more "dance, dance for your life!" The only hope for survival in this bleak setting is to find meaning and understanding through foot-motion.

Mega Man for the masses

After years of rumors, the secret is out: Capcom's favorite boy in blue is coming to the big screen. Mega Man is getting a movie adaptation after captivating gamers since his debut on the NES back in 1987. Fighting bad bots with Mega Man's mega buster cannon arm is sure to look more cinematic on screen than in 8-bit.

Mega Man is already further down the pipe than your typical movie adaptation: writers and directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman are already at work. They have previously produced the adrenaline-packed film Nerve and the hit documentary Catfish. It's unclear if the movie will have the same kind of plot twists a production like Catfish packs, but Capcom has stated it is aiming to bring in more than just gamers. The new Mega Man movie will appeal to action movie fans who have no idea what side-scroller even means.

Co-produced by actor Masi Oka and Chernin Entertainment, the powerhouse behind the Planet of the Apes series, the Mega Man movie looks like it could blast out of the usual video game movie mold.

Firewatch should be one to watch

Some players have said Firewatch was more of a movie than a game to begin with, but now the hit 2016 title is officially getting a movie. The narrative-driven mystery-adventure game has been praised for its masterful storytelling and striking visuals of Wyoming wilderness, setting a high bar for film studio Good Universe, who teamed up with independent developer and publisher Campo Santo for the project.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the two studios shared creative visions for the future of games and film, and thus may produce further projects together in either medium. Whatever comes of the partnership, fans hope that a Firewatch film sticks to what made the game so good: isolation, minimalism, and a woodsy, indie aesthetic.

Firewatch is unique in that the player becomes intimately familiar with just one character, Henry, while never really seeing him in the first-person gameplay. In the silence of the watchtower, all the player has to go off of are Henry's own thoughts and sparse communication with the sardonic but faceless Delilah, far off and untouchable in another lookout. The two were voiced by Mad Men's Rich Sommer and The Walking Dead's Cissy Jones, respectively. It wouldn't be too much to ask for a reprisal of their roles, this time in front of a camera rather than behind a mic.

Uncharted is wrapped and set to come out

While many of the film adaptations on this list are ones you might have forgotten about, the Uncharted film has had its fair share of steady updates leading up to its 2022 premiere. Announced in 2009, the movie is set to star Spider-Man actor Tom Holland as a younger version of the wise-cracking treasure hunter Nathan Drake. Mark Wahlberg has also been cast as Nathan's mentor, Victor "Sully" Sullivan; Sophia Taylor Ali will star as Chloe Frazer; and Antonio Banderas will appear in an unannounced role. The film is being directed by Ruben Fleischer, who also directed Zombieland and Venom.

Uncharted was initially going to release in 2016, but went through several different delays as the movie experienced a revolving door of directors. The film was also unsurprisingly held up by the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, it's set to release on Feb. 11, 2022. A promotional image was eventually revealed of Holland appearing in full costume as Nathan Drake in several press coverings. The film reportedly wrapped filming in October 2020.

Tom Clancy's The Division will still have room for the story

Every other studio in Hollywood seems interested in making the next big video game movie but can't seem to get the ball rolling on actually filming it. They buy up the rights and then sit on them for years without hiring so much as a production assistant. Uncharted and now Tom Clancy's The Division are the exceptions to this rule. They have taken their time to get there, but known names cast in starring roles bring a bit of confidence to fans.

The Division now has A-list talent Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain attached to the project. What might be even more promising is the director, David Leitch, and the hardcore action experience he comes with. Having first worked as a stunt coordinator, Leitch has directed fast-firing, sometimes gritty hits like Deadpool 2 and John Wick.

Leitch has also stated he doesn't want to sacrifice story and character in favor of focusing in on the action of the first-person shooter. In an interview with Collider, Leitch said he believes he can deliver a good movie within the playground The Division fans love. Ubisoft has since revealed that Netflix picked up the rights to the film, which will release exclusively on the streaming platform.

Super Mario Bros. has a whole new medium to conquer

It won't be hard for a new Mario movie to outdo the cringey 1993 Super Mario Bros. live action movie that had the Mario brothers falling through the New York City sewers into a cyberpunk future where giant lizard Koopas threatened to take over the world. So the bar is pretty low for Illumination, the studio behind everyone's favorite little yellow Minions, to make a Mario movie that stays true to the original games and doesn't take so many over-the-top liberties.

The film will be animated and produced under the watchful eye of creator Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo announced via Twitter. Illumination's animation style jives fairly well with the clean cut animation in newer Nintendo titles; Despicable Me's minions look as if they could be off-brand Goombas. Considering the universal appeal of Nintendo and the proven success of Illumination, the fresh new Mario movie could be the one to break the video game curse and open the door to other Nintendo titles making big screen appearances. 

Move over Jurassic World and make way for Yoshi's Island in 3D. Forget Rise of the Planet of the Apes, think Donkey Kong Country the movie. Luigi's Mansion: the survival horror film to put the Blair Witch remake to shame.

Gears of War is stuck in the cogs of Hollywood

Before the release of Gears of War 4, Microsoft announced that a Gears of War movie was in the works in partnership with Universal Pictures. There has not been much news of the adaptation in the years since, but excitement has yet to die, especially if you're Dave Bautista.

Bautista made the transition from the world of wrestling into mainstream acting, best-known for the memorable role of Drax in the Guardians of the Galaxy series. Now he says that he is ready to take on an even bigger name and a starring role: he wants to play Marcus Fenix in the Gears of War movie. It's hard to argue that he wouldn't be a perfect fit. Marcus Fenix is a big man, square-jawed and serious, who may as well be Bautista's video game twin. Bautista has said that he has been pursuing the role for years, but again, there's no news yet as to what's happening with production.

Rod Fergusson, former studio head of developer The Coalition, has said the film wouldn't follow the plot of any one Gears game, but instead take place in the same universe. In an interview with Variety, he stated the movies and games are two different mediums, and that video game movies of the past have failed because they've tried to make a movie specifically for gamers while ignoring other audience members. It seems the Gears movie, if it ever releases, seeks to avoid a similar fate.

Metal Gear Solid has a potentially solid cast

Whatever Death Stranding is about, it has film director Jordan Vogt-Roberts' seal of approval. His relationship of mutual admiration with Hideo Kojima is perhaps why he has been entrusted with the good name of Metal Gear as the director of the film adaptation.

Vogt-Roberts is a big fan of the games. He thinks that Metal Gear is one of the greatest series of all time and that his job is to communicate that "Metal Gear is Metal Gear and it is nothing else."

"If you make a Metal Gear movie it needs to be [...] completely committed to one tone but then goofy the next moment, and then stylised and bizarre but then beautiful and reflective, and just that whole spectrum of things that is Kojima's voice," he said to IGN. He also revealed some of his favorite characters that he wants to include like Sniper Wolf and Cyborg Ninja. But who will bring life to Solid Snake himself?

"Metal Gear Solid, that's the one. I'm throwing my hat in for that one." Oscar Isaac of Star Wars fame told IGN that of any video game adaptation, he would want to star in the Metal Gear movie the most. And Vogt-Roberts seems on board, having commissioned a convincing Photoshop edit of Isaac as Solid Snake. While the official casting process hasn't yet begun, Vogt-Roberts said tThe ball's in Oscar's court."

Werewolves Within is unleashed onto Hollywood

Everyone's favorite party game of betrayal and bluffing was reincarnated in VR by Ubisoft in Werewolves Within. The game, sometimes called Mafia or Werewolf, is usually played sitting around couches at an IRL get-together, each player pleading their innocence while trying to discover the killer in their midst. Werewolves Within supports all the same social aspects of whispering, yelling, and accusing each other, just with the more fitting ambiance of a village sitting around a magic crystal ball.

Now the game is getting the Hollywood treatment thanks to Ubisoft's Women's Film and Television Fellowship, a paid program aimed at elevating women's voices. Mishna Wolff was one of the first candidates chosen for the fellowship and was given access to Ubisoft's entire library of games. At the end of the program and after much deliberation, she and fellow Tasha Huo pitched their ideas to Ubisoft Motion Pictures. 

Huo is now working on a TV pilot for a live-action Child of Light series. Wolff, complete with her fitting name, is scripting a live-action Werewolves Within. Wolff has described her vision as a political satire, set in a small town where every resident is suddenly judge, jury, and executioner. The horror comedy pitch came as a surprise to Margaret Boykin, Ubisoft's Director of Film Development, but she seems confident the end result will be a "slam dunk."

The Last of Us is getting the Game of Thrones treatment

Yes, The Last of Us is getting a TV adaptation on HBO. What's even more exciting is that this adaptation has the official seal of approval from the original creator of Joel and Ellie's story. Head writer Neil Druckmann will be working closely with the production to make sure HBO doesn't take too many liberties. Druckmann seems just as excited as fans to see his beloved characters on the small screen.

"I can't believe we get to team up with one of my favorite writers to bring Ellie and Joel's journey to HBO," Druckmann tweeted when the news broke. That favorite writer just so happens to be Craig Mazin, the genius behind the critically-acclaimed series Chernobyl.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mazin has just as much respect for Druckmann's artistic abilities. "Neil Druckmann is without question the finest storyteller working in the video game medium, and The Last of Us is his magnum opus. Getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years, and I'm so honored to do it in partnership with Neil," said Mazin.

This is a promising start to what's sure to be a beautiful friendship. And TV show, of course.

Call of Duty is stuck in production hell

The Call of Duty franchise seems like the perfect fit for an action-packed Hollywood flick, and Activision was poised to take the reins. In 2015, Activision Blizzard unveiled Activision Blizzard Studios, a division dedicated to producing TV shows and films based on the company's properties. One of those properties was, of course, Call of Duty.

Ambitious from the start, Activision Blizzard Studios revealed its plans to create an entire cinematic universe around the sprawling war games to rival that of Marvel. In 2018, the first of these films signed on Stefano Sollima as director. The film even had a writer for a sequel before the first movie had an inkling of a trailer.

Filming was supposed to begin in 2019, as the movie aimed for a release in 2020 or 2021. But as of February 2020, the film has reportedly been put on hold. In an interview with an Italian news site, Sollima stated that the film was no longer a priority at Activision. At this point, only time will tell if this film ever sees the light of day.

Minecraft is in limbo

The popular building block game Minecraft has its own movie tentatively on the horizon. In 2014, the film distribution rights were acquired by Warner Bros. Lego Movie co-producer Roy Lee was attached to the film with Peter Sollett as director. The film even has a full story ready to go, wherein a young girl and her band of adventurers must save the world of Minecraft from the evil Ender Dragon. The film could become yet another charming animated flick — if it comes out.

Unfortunately, news on the film has all but trickled to a halt. Initially planned for release on March 4, 2022, the Minecraft movie has since become another project stalled by the ongoing pandemic. Warner Bros. has delayed many of its upcoming productions, including Robert Pattinson's The Batman,  as well as other DC superhero films. The Minecraft movie was no exception. No new information has cropped up regarding the future of the film's release.

The Tomb Raider movie is getting a sequel

According to Deadline, a sequel to the 2018 reboot adaptation of Tomb Raider was greenlit in 2019. Alicia Vikander is set to reprise the role as renowned treasure hunter Lara Croft. The film was originally slated for release on March 19, 2021, but filming was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film was subsequently removed from upcoming WB's release schedule, along with several other films. Production still seems to be chugging along, however. In January 2021, Deadline reported that Lovecraft Country's Misha Green had signed on to direct the film, replacing initial director Ben Wheatley.

This isn't the first time Lara Croft appeared on the big screen, nor is it the first time a Tomb Raider movie got a sequel. In 2001, the game series received a theatrical adaptation with Angelina Jolie taking on the titular role in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. A follow-up to that was released in 2003.

The status of the Watch Dogs film is unknown

After the film release of Assassin's Creed in 2016, Ubisoft was poised to create film adaptations of several other of its game franchises. Among them were Far Cry, Rabbids, and the cybernetic third-person action shooter Watch Dogs. Announced in 2013, Zombieland writers Paul Wernick and Rhet Resse were attached to pen a script for the Watch Dogs movie. It was set to be released by Sony and New Regency.

Unfortunately, that's about the last anyone's ever heard of it. The Watch Dogs movie has been stuck in production hell for several years now. With no plot details or release window to speak of, the status of this upcoming movie is tenuous at best.

The Watch Dogs video games have fared better in recent years, at least. Watch Dogs: Legion, the third game in the series, was released in 2020. While some reviewers praised the permadeath gameplay, others were critical — interestingly enough — of its story and its acting.

Mass Effect may have found its star

The Mass Effect franchise has seen many ups and downs, the most recent of which being the disastrous launch of Mass Effect: Andromeda. As the series seeks to aim higher in the future, Mass Effect also has its sights set on hitting theatrical releases. The Mass Effect movie was announced in 2010, with the rights being acquired by Legendary Pictures. While Thor film writer Mark Protosevich tackled the first version of the script, he was replaced by Morgan Davis Foehl in 2012.

In recent news, rumors began to spread stating that actor Henry Cavill was cast as protagonist Commander Shepard. A February 2021 post on the actor's Instagram account teased a new project that he was working on, along with a picture of Cavill in makeup. Cavill is best known for his roles as Superman in Man of Steel and Justice League, as well as the Netflix series adaptation of The Witcher.

Horror flick experts are in charge of Five Nights at Freddy's

If anyone can be trusted with a film adaptation of a cult horror game franchise, it's the twisted minds at Blumhouse Productions.

The studio behind Get Out and Happy Death Day acquired the film rights to Five Nights at Freddy's from Warner Bros. after the first studio hit "several delays and roadblocks," according to series creator Scott Cawthon. Chris Columbus is set to direct the film, which has gone through a number of script changes since 2018. In an Inverse interview from November 2020, Blumhouse Productions CEO Jason Blum stated that the coronavirus pandemic has held up several of its productions. While this includes the adaptation of FNaF, Blum also stated that production is "still active." Blum also spoke of the difficulties adapting the game's large, sprawling story to the big screen.

According to a Reddit post by Cawthon, filming is set to begin sometime in Spring 2020.

All is stealthily silent on the Deus Ex front

Not many movies on this list have a tenuous production period of nearly 20 years, but the Deus Ex movie is certainly fast approaching that milestone. Announced back in 2002 by Columbia Pictures, the first production cycle hardly saw any traction. The film was initially slated for release in 2006, but the script was never fully finalized. In 2012, the rights were acquired by CBS Films

Scott Derrickson was initially brought on to direct, but left to direct Doctor Strange for Marvel Studios. In 2013, writer C. Robert Cargill discussed the challenges of adapting Deus Ex in an interview with Screen Rant. Cargill was adamant in creating a cyberpunk movie that wanted to become the new Blade Runner in terms of revolutionizing sci-fi cinematic storytelling. He later expressed the desire to make sure the adaptation remained faithful to the source material. Producer Adrian Askarieh teased some sort of announcement back in 2015, but there's been no news on the movie ever since.

The Splinter Cell movie aims to be different

The one thing fans can hope for from a video game film adaptation is that it remains true to its source material. When it comes to Ubisoft, the company has made it a point to be as involved as possible with adaptations of many of its franchises, including the upcoming Splinter Cell movie.

The film is still very much in pre-production, with Tom Hardy starring in the film and John Wick producer Basil Iwanyk on the team. In a 2017 interview with Collider, Iwanyk called Hardy a "gamer" who really wants to make something unique from this adaptation. Hardy and Iwanyk were reportedly working closely to make the film stand out from previous video game adaptations. Unfortunately, there have been few updates since that 2017 article.

Splinter Cell is also receiving an animated series on Netflix. Coincidentally enough, the writer of that series also worked on John Wick.

The Sly Cooper film has gone missing

It's not very often that a movie with a full teaser trailer is followed by the unceremonious cancellation of said movie, but such was the fate of the Sly Cooper movie adaptation.

Sucker Punch Productions' flagship thieving mascot was set to star in his own animated feature. The Cooper gang appeared fully rendered in a trailer by Rainmaker Entertainment, which teased a 2016 release. Despite the actors of Sly's friends returning to voice the characters, quintessential Sly voice Kevin Miller was not approached to reprise his role. Though the trailer was unveiled, the film hadn't yet entered full production. And soon, it wouldn't make much difference.

Despite a once-active social media presence, the critical and financial failure of another animated film adaptation worked against Sly's big screen debut. Rainmaker Entertainment (now known as Mainframe Studios) also worked on an adaptation for Ratchet and Clank, another popular PlayStation mascot. While Ratchet and Clank did see a theatrical release, reception was less than stellar, and the film's box office numbers plummeted during the second weekend. Rainmaker stated that it was no longer actively producing the movie, though its cancellation was not explicitly confirmed.

Sleeping Dogs is currently underway

Square Enix's Hong Kong mafia action game has some pretty heavy hitters working on its upcoming film adaptation. In a Deadline report, it was announced that Rogue One and Ip Man star Donnie Yen is set to star in the movie as protagonist Wei Shen. Neal Moritz, worked on the Sonic the Hedgehog movie and is currently working on its sequel, as well, is slated to produce.

The film was announced in 2017, and a 2018 Instagram post by Yen confirmed that the movie was officially in production, coupled with a picture of Yen in a cinematic parallel shot with Wei Shen. Though news on the film was scarce for some time, a Weibo post by Yen from July 2020 seems to tease that filming is still going smoothly. Yen's post refers to his latest project being his next great challenge, and tags "sleepingdog" within it. The film has not announced a director at this time.

Daisuke Tsuji wants to reprise his role in Ghost of Tsushima

As gorgeously cinematic as Ghost of Tsushima is already, the critically acclaimed 2020 PS4-exclusive game is already set to receive a film adaptation, with that news breaking less than a year after the game's July 2020 release. John Wick director Chad Stahelski is confirmed to direct the film, which is being produced by Sony Pictures and PlayStation Productions. The team at Sucker Punch Productions has been brought onto the film as executive producers. It is unknown when the film will enter full production, as Stahelski is set to start filming the fourth John Wick film.

Daisuke Tsuji, who portrayed the game's main protagonist in facial capture and voice, expressed interest in reprising his role in the movie. He even joked that he was willing to perform butt nudity for the film, which he also did for the game in scenes where his character enters a hot spring.

Hopefully, this attempt at an adaptation for a Sucker Punch game will be a little more successful than that of Sly Cooper's failed film outing.

The Demon's Souls movie is all but announced

As the progenitor of the Souls franchise (and the "Dark Souls of x" meme), Demon's Souls has quite the illustrious reputation as an action RPG. Originally released in 2009 on the PlayStation 3, the game received a remake on the PlayStation 5 that came out in November 2020. And if the rumors are any indication, its vast gothic medieval world may soon be hitting the big screen.

According to a rumor from a reputable source at Giant Freakin' Robot, a film adaptation for Demon's Souls is currently in the works. While no official announcement has been made by Sony, the film is reportedly expanding into a major internal project for the studio. With Sony having greenlit screen adaptations for Uncharted and The Last of Us (the latter of which stars The Mandalorian's Pedro Pascal), it's not unreasonable to think there might be official confirmation on an adaptation soon enough in the future.