12 Video Games That Would Make Great Movies

By: Kale Havervold
A woman wearing a futuristic smart glass in a VR environment.
Some games have a creative storyline that they are made into movies. Halfpoint Images / Getty Images

It’s become increasingly rare that Hollywood will come out something completely original. Almost everything in theaters these days is a sequel, prequel, reboot, remake, or spin-off of an existing franchise, or an adaptation of a novel, comic book, or video game. This article is going to talk about that last thing, the dreaded “video game movie.”

Throughout the entire history of film, video games movies have almost always been poorly received. A more blunt way to say it that video game movies are “utter garbage,” with almost zero exceptions. From old school efforts like Super Mario Bros. (1993) to Mortal Kombat (1995), to more recent fare like Doom (2005) or Assassins Creed (2016), most video game movies are pretty terrible. Maybe guilty pleasures at best.


Hollywood could change that, though. There’s already a list of confirmed or rumored upcoming video game movies right here, ones that could actually turn out good. In addition, we’ve made this list of other video games that we think could be turned into decent movies on their own, given the right script, star, and director. With video games becoming more and more engaged in telling epic stories than simply mashing buttons, the opportunity to tell those stories to non-gamers would be a terrific decision for some bold movie studio.

12. Starcraft

The original Starcraft was released in 1998 and since then, the game has become famous around the world, with several sequels and expansions released over the past 20 years. The real-time strategy games are in the military sci-fi genre and take place at the start of the 26th century, focusing on the struggle for galactic superiority among four species.

While it would likely be a costly production to make a proper Starcraft film (at least if they want to do it justice), it would likely do very well due to the millions of Starcraft fans out there. Universal Pictures already made a Warcraft movie, based on Starcraft‘s fantasy genre cousin. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good sci-fi movie, with epic space battles and dazzling special effects?


11. Dishonored

The world created in this 2012 video game is simply stunning and the setting alone would provide the framework for a great film. Dishonored takes place in a steampunk-like city called Dunwall, based on London in the late 1800s. The main character, Corvo Attano, is the father to a young heir that has had her kingdom overthrown. He must use his powers to take back the kingdom and battle a variety of different foes along the way.

The compelling characters, intriguing story and the alternate reality steampunk world would make for a fantastic film adaptation . Whereas many games follow a certain cliché plot, Dishonored is quite different in this regard. The only problem would be which of the multiple endings (based on the players’ choices) would work best for a movie?


10. L.A Noire

L.A Noire is one of the most unique video games in recent memory and was a huge hit amongst fans with millions of copies sold. This game is a natural choice to be turned into a movie and we’re actually surprised no one’s bothered to do it yet. The game is essentially a film noir, which was a style of film that was popular in the 40s and 50s, and is well suited for a detective story.

An L.A. Noire film would be a perfect call-back to a genre that is no longer produced and could introduce thousands of today’s youth to a style of film that they have likely never experienced. If  released, it would be an interesting look at law enforcement during the early days of Los Angeles and Old Hollywood, including a plot based on corruption, scandal, drugs, and a gorgeous female lounge singer.


9. Diablo

Diablo is in a similar vein to Starcraft, as they are both massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). They also share a common developer and publisher in Blizzard Entertainment, so it shouldn’t be a shock to see them both on this list. This game is an action RPG in which the main character battles through dungeons on their journey to hell in search of Diablo.

With a large cast of colorful characters and menacing demons, there is plenty of material to pull from in order to produce a film. There are plethora of stories to tell (across three different games thus far) and they all intertwined to form an overarching story line. A film based on the Diablo series would be great for long time fans, but also an epic action adventure movie for those who aren’t as familiar with the game.


8. Horizon Zero Dawn

Of all the games on this list, this is the game that might have the best movie potential of them all. Horizon Zero Dawn tells the story of a hunter named Aloy, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world that is seemingly overrun by hostile robo dinosaurs. The game features a giant open world map with picturesque environments that are suited incredibly well for an action film. If done right, it could be a brilliant coming-of-age story in a unique environment that audiences have never seen before.

This universe has the potential to make a truly epic movie as it provides a fascinating story, a great mix of sci-fi elements, interesting enemies, and a badass female protagonist. The game received rave reviews not only for its superb gameplay, but also it’s jaw dropping visuals and original story. Don’t be shocked if news of a Horizon Zero Dawn film starts to trickle out in the next few years.


7. Metroid

The Metroid series features over a dozen games (including handhelds and spin-offs) spanning multiple consoles, since the first game was released in 1986 for the NES. We’d argue that there’s enough backstory for not only one movie, but for an entire franchise of films. Metroid follows galactic bounty hunter, Samus Aran who protects the galaxy from evil. It is one of the darkest series Nintendo has ever put out and that darkness could translate really well to the big screen.

There have been several rumors about a Metroid film over the past decade, but nothing has ever come to fruition. While it might not be happening anytime soon, a Metroid film could be incredible and would be a dose of nostalgia for anyone who has played the games growing up. Plus Samus could be the greatest sci-fi heroine since Ellen Ripley!


6. Infamous

While there are already a ton of superhero movies out there, this one would be a little bit different. Infamous is a very unique game that follows a man named Cole MacGrath, as he gets electric superpowers following a mysterious explosion. The game is one of the best open world actions games in recent memory and many of the games elements make it a great choice for the next big superhero film.

It has a great story line, some excellent character development, a unique set of villains, as well as the fact that the player can play either the good guy or a bad guy, which could play out in a very interesting manner in the film. There is also a fascination with comic book and super hero films right now, so why not throw Infamous into the mix?


5. Grand Theft Auto

Few video games out there garner as much hype as a new Grand Theft Auto title, so just imagine what kind of attention a movie would get! The GTA games are known for their amazing crime stories and introduce many new characters with each iteration, providing a long list of storylines that could be adapted to a film.

In fact, you could argue that any of the last three or four Grand Theft Auto games would make a great film, dating back to Vice City (even though that one was already a blatant rip off of Scarface). Fans of the iconic Rockstar franchise would surely line up to watch a big-budget GTA movie, as would people who just love the action-crime genre of films. There is loads of potential for this series to head over the big screen and it could introduce a whole new generation of fans to some of the older games.


4. Skyrim

If you were to ask many people what the most visually stunning and all-encompassing game of all-time is, many would say Skyrim. Part of the Elder Scroll series, Skyrim is an open world game where you can be whoever you want to be and go wherever you want to go. Sure, there is a main storyline, but most people love the game for its branching paths and the sheer variety of activities that you can do.

While it would be hard to fit all that Skyrim into one single film, we would love to see someone try — even if it was over the course of a trilogy. It would be interesting to see how they would represent the hero but one thing is for sure — the expansive world, characters, and (of course) dragons, would all be amazing.


3. Bioshock

BioShock is considered one of last generation’s best games and would make an excellent framework for a blockbuster film. The feeling of discovering Rapture for the first time is one of the greatest moments in gaming history. The story takes place in an underwater utopia that has been abandoned and overrun by all kinds of creepy enemies. The game featured some gorgeous visuals for the time and introduced gamers to some excellent music and dialog that was prevalent in the late 1950’s.

Although there have been 3 games released in the series (any one of which would make a great film) the first entry remains the best of the bunch and makes the most sense as a screenplay. With it’s vast array of plasmids body augmentations and weapons used to combat the game cleverly designed enemies, Bioshock would make a great sci-fi action film.

2. Wolfenstein

Wolfenstein is a series of games that takes place in an alternate reality where the Nazis have won WWII and expanded their control over the entire globe. The Wolfenstein series has had storied history that spans several decades and has played a major factor in the rise in popularity of the first person shooter. The series stars muscle bound protagonist William “B.J.” Blazkowicz, as the Nazi killing machine tasked with toppling the empire and foiling their evil schemes.

With a rich background full of interesting characters and a unique setting in the Nazi controlled alternate reality, Wolfenstein is just begging for a film adaptation. The idea of sticking it to the Nazis never gets old, and someone like Tom Hardy would be great in the role of B.J. Blazkowicz.

1. Red Dead Redemption

While Wolfenstein was almost our choice at the top spot, that honor has to go to Red Dead Redemption. The game focuses on the decline of the American Frontier and follows John Marston, a former outlaw who is blackmailed into becoming a hired gun for the government. The Red Dead series features open world gaming in a classic setting, an unmatched soundtrack, and character development that is rarely seen in video games.

All of these elements would translate brilliantly to an epic Western film and we hope to one day see a Red Dead Redemption story on the big screen. It is rare that the cut scenes in a game capture your attention the way they do in RDR, and that is a good indication that the story in this game would make one hell of a film.