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Video game movies you didn't know were being made

Unfortunate but true: video game movies don't exactly have the best track record. Undeterred, Hollywood has always had interest in getting the rights to the most popular titles. Familiar names like Mario or Minecraft already have a guaranteed fanbase that studios are relying on to make the movie version a box office hit. And sometimes that works out, but after bombs like Assassin's Creed and Warcraft, gamers and moviegoers alike are hesitant to get hyped when a game finds new life on the big screen.

However bad the remakes might be, there's always a chance to do better. This must be the logic behind the dozens of deals being made for big-budget productions of your small screen favorites. Because there are a lot of video game movies being made; even titles that have no apparent plot are eligible for the Hollywood treatment. Some have been stuck in development for ages, while others are releasing to global audiences faster than you think.

Surely, somewhere here is the diamond in the rough: the video game movie to break the curse of bad remakes.

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.

Recently launched film studio Stampede has decided that 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 20-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 apparently 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 that 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 sidescroller 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.

Minecraft: Movie Edition

Of course one of the biggest names in gaming would get a movie adaptation. It was only a matter of time before Minecraft would go from blocky to big screen. Or blocky on the big screen, depending on the production.

There isn't a lot that we know about the film's production, other than it's been stalled after director Rob McElhenny, better known to some as Mac from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, left the project. This sets the original May 2019 release date back a bit. What was sure to be a summer blockbuster will have to bide its time before a new director comes forward to helm the production, which was kickstarted back in 2014 when Warner Bros. Pictures acquired the rights.

In light of this loss, the community is speculating what a Minecraft movie might look like. It is currently unknown if the film will be animated or live action — if the creepers will be horrifically realistic or the square critters gamers know and love. Minecraft is a sandbox in which players build their own stories brick by block, so the plot is totally up for interpretation. This ambiguity threw a wrench in the works for the early stages of production, Mojang apparently unhappy with the initial director Shawn Levy's vision of the world of Minecraft.

Whatever shape and story the Minecraft movie takes on, audiences will have a while to wait to see what kind of film Warner Bros. has crafted.

Sonic the Hedgehog inspires shock and awe

Sonic the Hedgehog has been reincarnated in many forms: from an extensive series of games with varying quality, to comic books, to questionably executed animated series. Now the time has come for Sega's sassy Blue Blur to try out the big screen.

Paramount Pictures has been working on a version of Sonic that pairs live action with CGI. In the film, Sonic is on the run as he usually is, but this time, he's running from the law. Shady government agents are after him with unknown intentions. Sonic then meets a cop from the rural and aptly named town of Green Hills to help him outrun his captors.

In anticipation of the 2019 release, we've seen some glimpses of what Sonic might look like on the big screen, and the few leaks and posters have frankly caused a whole lot of controversy. The release of a silhouetted outline of the newly rendered blue hedgehog led to the internet more or less losing faith in the film because of Sonic's strangely muscular legs, the new, realistic design a clear departure from the Sonic we know and love. Both fans and the original Team Sonic expressed their worries for the movie, but hey — you can't go wrong with Jim Carrey as Eggman, right? Right?

Firewatch should be one to watch

Some players have said that 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 even seeing him in the first-person gameplay. In the silence of the watchtower, all the player has to go off of is 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 needs to find a path out of development

It might seem impossible, but we are now closer than ever to an Uncharted movie. Fans got a taste of what all the action and adventure the game series packs in a dream-cast mini-movie starring geek supreme Nathan Fillion as wisecracking treasure hunter Nathan Drake. As perfect as Fillion appears for the role, Drake has already been cast. The brand-new star of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tom Holland, will play a younger Drake, the production theorized as a prequel to the Naughty Dog games players know and love.

Despite his younger face, Holland has athletic skills, big-budget film experience, and a dance repertoire that may or may not come in handy for the role. The script has been written by Joe Carnahan and is in excellent shape, according to director Shawn Levy, best known for his work on Stranger Things and evident interest in bringing video games from console to cinema. Bryan Cranston has also been rumored to be playing the part of Nathan Drake's mentor, Victor Sullivan, but so far the only solid facts on the production is that Tom Holland has been cast, the script is solid, and that the movie is happening. Hopefully sooner than later.

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

Every other studio in Hollywood appears 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 on the film. Uncharted and now Tom Clancy's The Division productions 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 of the games.

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 that 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.

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.

Studio head of developer The Coalition Rod Fergusson has said that 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 said that 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. He doesn't want to do that with Gears of War and instead create something everyone can enjoy.

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 that, "The ball's in Oscar's court."

Monster Hunter roars into theaters

Move over Godzilla, there's a new host of gargantuan, scaly kaiju ready to to take over the silver screen. An apparently poorly kept secret, it looks like Capcom's hit franchise Monster Hunter is lumbering toward the Hollywood hills. The live-action film will be directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, who is well acquainted with the video game movie genre, having headed up the Resident Evil film franchise. The film is currently in development, and Anderson is all-in as not only the director, but also as the writer and producer alongside Capcom.

It does not appear as if the film will retell the story of the games, but Capcom has promised "familiar faces" in the ambiguous synopsis of the movie, which details a tale of two heroes and the many monsters that threaten them. Casting for the Monster Hunter movie is promising so far: Resident Evil's leading lady Milla Jovovich, rapper T.I., Diego Boneta, and Ron Perlman have all signed on to the epic adventure. Filming has even begun, taking advantage of the vast, wild landscapes in South Africa and Namibia. The Monster Hunter movie will be rip-roaring into theaters in no time.

Move over Marvel, the Call of Duty cinematic universe is in the works

Activision Blizzard Studios wants to be the next Marvel; producing film after action-packed film which come with an already raving fanbase eager to buy popcorn and upcharged movie tickets. Call of Duty is ready-made for that vision. Producers with serious experience under their belts are eyeing multiple summer box office hits. Co-presidents of the studio, Pulp Fiction producer Stacey Sher and former Disney executive Nick van Dyk have waxed on about a Modern Warfare plot, a Black Ops version, and even possible television series.

This is all before the first film, in what will apparently sprawl into an empire, has been released. Early in 2018, the studio was wooing director Stefano Sollima, who helmed Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the high octane action movie with a ruthless drug war at its center. Sollima definitely has talent when it comes to directing big battles and bigger guns, likely why Activision Blizzard has set their eyes on him to direct the first film.

Now the studio has found a writer, not for the first, but for the second film in their lengthy series. Black Panther writer Joe Robert Cole will bring some Marvel magic to the Call of Duty series, slated as the scribe for the next installment for the yet-to-be-seen Call of Duty movie franchise. Evidently Activision Blizzard is preparing itself for a hectic release schedule to rival the busiest of studios.

We found Carmen Sandiego … on Netflix

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? created a whole new generation of internet sleuths. The classic computer game captivated kids and mollified parents: it's an edutainment game, encouraging kids to learn geography, pick up on context clues, and even practice math. The first game was released in 1985 and since then a slew of sequels up until the early 2000s had players searching for clues as to where internationally infamous thief Carmen Sandiego might have escaped to. Facebook took advantage of the series' nostalgic appeal and made its very own Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, which stayed true to the original … except for the addition of microtransactions.

Now we're about to experience a full-blown revival of the detective puzzle edutainment games. 2019 will feature a Netflix-produced animated series that will explore how and why the infamous Carmen Sandiego became a thief of national treasures and priceless artifacts. Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez is slated to not only voice the titular character, but to also portray her in a live action movie. All she needs now is a red hat, black gloves, and a penchant for disappearing.

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 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 seems confident that the end result will be a "slam dunk."

Ryan Reynolds is Detective Pikachu

In all the excitement over the Detective Pikachu movie, with superstar Ryan Reynolds managing to fully embody a fluffy, two-foot-tall electric mouse, people may have forgotten that the movie is based on a game. Released in Japan in 2016 and in North America in March of 2018, the game paired Tim Goodman with a gravelly-voiced Pikachu who claims to be a great detective. Together, they work toward cracking a conspiracy. The narrative focus of the game felt more like the anime than the mainline RPGs and was apparently the perfect candidate for the Hollywood treatment. Thus, Legendary Pictures acquired the rights.

Reading this list, one can understand wariness regarding video game movies, but Detective Pikachu appears to be set to become an iconic summer blockbuster. The trailers show a caffeine-addicted, wise-cracking Detective Pikachu in a world filled with the Pokemon that gamers have grown up with. Pokemon from different generations have appeared throughout the trailers, from Charizard to Ludicolo. While it's neat to see Pokemon alongside real-life people, some are creepier than others on the big screen. We're going to have nightmares about that Aipom for months.

Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu makes up for it, however, and so does his clear passion for the role (even if it might go a little too far sometimes.)

Doom: Annihilation might not be as hellish as Doom

In 1993, Doom didn't pioneer the first-person perspective, but it certainly popularized it. The game is the foundation upon which first-person shooters were more or less built upon, and only naturally spawned sequels, comics, and an inevitable movie. With action-packed scenes and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as the principal character, what could go wrong?

A lot. 2005's Doom was fun for fans, but even the most avid gamers couldn't stand the five-minute FPS scene that was honestly nauseating. Hopefully, studio Universal 1440's "subtle homage" to the first-person perspective will actually be subtle in the fall 2019 Doom: Annihilation movie. Director Tony Giglio said to Polygon that the most FPS we would get is in a nod to a heads-up display. "While Doom is widely known for pioneering the first-person perspective, it's not 'new' anymore. So I wanted to find a way to give a nod to it, but not have it dominate or distract or take you out of the film."

The film isn't slated to get a cinematic release, and it has the look of a straight-to-DVD movie with hackneyed sound effects and half-hearted acting. The story follows space marines responding to a Martian distress signal, only to discover hellish creatures that are actually from hell. A portal has been opened by experimenting scientists, staying more true to the original game than 2005's mutated human monsters. id Software is apparently uninvolved with the movie, maybe for good reason.