From Cineplex to Console: 26 Movies That Should Become Video Games
Herewith: a list of film classics and cult hits that should become playable pronto.
6. “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” (2004)
Directed by Kerry Conran
The Movie: A homegrown slice of retro sci-fi, this Jude Law vehicle started out as a hand-crafted pet project of first-time filmmaker Kerry Conran, who shot the whole thing digitally and on bluescreen. Law stars as Joe Sullivan (a.k.a. Sky Captain), an intrepid freelance fighter ace running a private air force called the Flying Legion. When giant flying robots attack New York City, Sky Captain must fly to the rescue and figure out who’s behind the dastardly plot.
Why a “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” Game Needs To Exist: The throwback sensibilities that give “Sky Captain” its appeal can be tricky to nail interactively, as video games don’t go in for pulp very much. But, enemy planes with creepy flapping wings, towering maleveolent machine enemies, rayguns and exotic locations make the perfect ingredients for what would essentially be a playable Saturday matinee serial.
Who Should Make It: Naughty Dog. The development studio behind the hit “Uncharted” games specializes in creating movie-like spectacles in playable form and “Sky Captain” would be a great way for them to stretch their legs. They’ve already shown great skill at making lush tropical environments but aerial combat through the skies of 1930s New York and beyond would be a great new challenge for the folks who’ve brought Nathan Drake to life.
If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play: “Dark Void.” This 2010 game from Capcom combined “Gear of War”-style gun battles with high-flying aerial combat. The plot involved a down-on-his-luck pilot getting swept into another dimension via the Bermuda Triangle, where he finds Nikola Tesla, jetpacks and aliens waiting to invade the Earth. “Dark Void” didn’t set the world on fire but its unique mix of elements does scratch a particularly specific itch.
7. “Serenity” (2005)
Directed by Joss Whedon
The Movie: The beloved TV series and movie follow-up from nerd god Joss Whedon transplanted the tropes of a Western into a fractious future where mankind’s colonized distant planets. Charming rogue Mal Reynolds anchors a crew of losers and outcasts on the run from the Alliance, a fusion of the American and Chinese governments that rule the inner part of the galaxy with an iron fist.
Why a “Serenity” Game Needs To Exist: Viewers were only getting to know Whedon’s sci-fi universe before Fox pulled the plug on the TV series and the feature film that followed only left fans wanting more. Fillion’s an avid gamer, has played a lead role in “Halo: ODST,” and surely love to reprise his captaincy in a video game.
Who Should Make It: Bungie. The one thing that the “Halo” games lacked was personality so it’s be great to see what Master Chief’s daddies would do with Joss Whedon’s scruffy ragtag band of spacefarers. The crew of the Serenity aren’t cyborg super-soldiers like the Spartans of the Xbox mega-franchise but you can still give them an epic adventure with the huge ground battles and sweeping, upper-atmosphere dogfights seen in “Halo: Reach.”
If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play: “Bulletstorm.” It’s not out yet but Epic Games’ first-person shooter is aiming to capture the rapid-fire banter and two-fisted feel of “Firefly”/”Serenity.” The game’s characters also live on the fringes of colonized space, falling into piracy to earn enough money to keep them drunk. And the game’s Skill Shot system–where you figure out how to kill enemies in the most egregiously flamboyant way possible– evinces an inherent brashness that also feels kindred to “Firefly”/”Serenity.”
8. “Funny Games” (2008)
Directed by Michael Haneke
The Movie: Haneke’s twice-made torture porn artifact brings the horror of sadism to a sleepy suburban neighorhood. Two preppy lads–played by Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet–invade a family’s home and present them with a wager that they won’t survive past the next morning. The movie then becomes a parade of torments that leave no decency unsullied.
Why a “Funny Games” Game Needs To Exist: The key to making “Funny Games” in game form would be to riff off of the breaking of the fourth wall that happens during the movie. Cast players as Peter and Paul and throw them into a suburban neighborhood where garden tools, golf clubs, firearms and other everyday objects can be implements of woe. Assign points to the most creative methods of inducing pain and rewind the clock to do it all over again. Of course, this gets you a game that would make the ESRBs eyeballs bleed…
Who Should Make It: Visceral Studios. The EA dev studio made “Dead Space,” one of the scariest games in recent memory. The shivers from the futuristic horror title come mostly from the atmosphere of dread and it’d be interesting to see what the developers could come with when you control the monsters who do the scaring.
If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play: “Pain.” There’s pretty much no plot to this downloadable Playstation Network game, which has you catapulting hapless humans into virtual environments. The more destruction your rag-doll artillery causes, the more points you get.
9. “Richard III” (1995)
Directed by Richard Loncraine
The Movie: This art-house masterpiece is itself an adaptation, which brought Shakespeare’s classic play of the same name to the silver screen. Loncraine’s modernized version happens in an alterna-Britain in the 1930s where Richard’s machinations to acquire the crown eerily echo the Nazi rise to power. McKellen helped adapt the film from a stage production and turns in one of his best performances ever, making you almost want to root for him.
Why a “Richard III” Game Needs To Exist: Too few games let you play the villain and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one than Richard. A hybrid action/strategy/RPG template would be required to juggle the up-close betrayals, political scheming and military maneuvering of the Duke of York.
Who Should Make It: Sony Santa Monica. This internal development team for the Playstation console has shepherded three blood-soaked chapters of the “God of War” saga, where warrior-turned-god Kratos wreaks havoc on the gods of Olympus. The tone and story of the games make for a grand tragedy and it’s easy to see that Sony Santa Monica would be comfortable with the pomp, circumstance of this Shakespeare adaptation and the petty jealousies seething beneath.
If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play: The “Overlord” games. You play as the guy out to take over the world in these two releases, and not the guy out to stop him. You command an army of goblin minions in the series and can command them to do evil things like club baby seals to death. Written by Rihanna Pratchett, The games lampoon a host of fantasy tropes and present a series of ludicrously self-rightheous heroes for you to take down.
10. “Bullitt” (1968)
Directed by Peter Yates
The Movie: Lieutenant Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) is assigned to protect a witness in a major Mafia case. After the witness is killed by a pair of hitmen, Bullitt chases down some leads, then chases the killers through the hilly streets of San Francisco.
Why a “Bullitt” Game Needs To Exist: Steve McQueen’s entire onscreen persona was based around the fact that every guy watching his movies desperately wanted to be him. So what could be better than a video game where you’d actually get to be Steve McQueen? Gameplay would alternate between high octane “Need For Speed”-style chase sequences in Bullitt’s 1968 Ford Mustang GT, “Heavy Rain”-ish crime scene investigations, and occasional levels where you go home and make out with Jacqueline Bisset, then stare off into the distance as if thinking of something really profound. Vicarious thrills at their finest.
Who Should Make It: Criterion Games. This wholly owned subsidiary of EA made the classic “Burnout” racing games for the last two generations of home consoles. They’ve also just turned out the well-reviewed “Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.” Aside from their racing games, Criterion also created “Black,” an ambitious FPS that made waves on the PS2. Put those two genres together and you’re well on your way to a great “Bullitt” game.
If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play: the upcoming “Driver: San Francisco,” which will definitely deliver the requisite San Fran car chases, if not the brooding masculinity in sportcoat and turtleneck. Or if you can’t wait that long, just mix yourself a martini, buy Lalo Schifrin’s amazing score, find an arcade that still has their copy of “San Francisco Rush The Rock,” and create your own “Bullitt” game experience.
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