Every Upcoming Video Game Movie Adaptation

From case-cracking Pokemon to Master Chiefs, your map to every video game movie and show coming up!

by and | November 12, 2018 | Comments

The new season of the animated Castlevania is out, and it continues to impress fans and critics alike – the second season of the show has a current Tomatometer score of 100%. Numbers like that for a TV series keep the flame alive for Hollywood to finally whip that pesky video game movie curse… and there’s no shortage of opportunities on the horizon. Check out every known video game movie and TV show adaptation in the works, which we conveniently separated by how far along they are in the process. Which will be the one to get that first coveted Certified Fresh designation? Jump to a section by clicking on a navigation link below.

Updated 10/12: Detective Pikachu trailer, Mario news

Coming Soon | In Production | In Development | Questionable | Dead | Announced


COMING SOON

Release dates have been revealed for these movies and shows, though they can still be subject to change.


Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Release Date: May 10, 2019
As demonstrated by the enormous popularity of 2016’s Pokemon Go, the pocket monster-capturing series’ appeal has always extended far past young fans and hardcore Nintendo gamers. Mascot Pikachu will be tested at the box office though, as he — voiced by Ryan Reynolds — dons a deerstalker cap and heads to the silver screen to crack some cases.


The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019)

Release Date: September 6, 2019
Despite the lukewarm critical reception of 2016’s Angry Birds Movie, the foul fowls and their porky foes return at the tail-feather end of summer in a star-studded follow-up. Much of the original’s voice cast, including Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, and Peter Dinklage return, while Sterling K. Brown and Leslie Jones join the nest with some fresh comedic performances.


Sonic the Hedgehog (2019)

Release Date: November 8, 2019
Sonic’s gotta go fast to make it in time for his big screen debut next holiday season, in an adaption that will leverage a combination of live action and CGI animation to bring the classic platforming franchise to life. The plucky Sega mascot will be voiced by Parks and Recreation‘s Ben Schwartz, but the real casting coup might be Jim Carrey in the role of mustachioed menace Dr. Eggman. Or will they blast process the character to the past and call him Robotnik?



IN PRODUCTION

The movies and shows are filming or getting ready to shoot, or may even be in post but without a release date.


THE WITCHER

Following the success of their animated Castlevania series, Netflix is taking another stab at adapting the interactive entertainment medium with The Witcher. While technically based on the novels that spawned the wildly popular role-playing game, the eight-episode series will star the franchise’s titular monster hunter, Geralt of Rivia. The stoic, silver-haired protagonist will be played by Henry Cavill, a casting choice that’s received mixed reactions from the games’ passionate fanbase. The series has a tentative release date of late 2019/early 2020. In October 2018, Netflix shared their first look of Cavill as Geralt: 

 


HALO

After years of rumors, speculation, and false starts, it looks like Master Chief is finally make his way to our streaming devices. Showtime will be delivering a 10-episode, live-action series based on the fan-favorite FPS franchise by – hopefully – 2020. While story details are locked down tighter than a UNSC base, it’s been confirmed Master Chief will figure prominently in this original sci-fi epic penned by showrunner Kyle Killen (Awake) and produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television. Rupert Wyatt, who helmed Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is on board to direct.


MONSTER HUNTER

Following their prolific collaboration on the Resident Evil films, husband and wife team Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich are joining forces to bring another popular Capcom video game series to the silver screen. Production on Monster Hunter – due for release next year – started this month in South Africa, an apparently suitable setting for some epic creature-carving action. Jovovich is playing Captain Natalie Artemis, and we know Ron Perlman and T.I. Harris have also been cast, playing characters named Admiral and Harris, respectively. In October 2018, Jovovich shared a photo on Instagram:

 

 

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DOOM

2005’s disappointing Doom, based on the landmark first-person shooter and starring the artist formerly known as The Rock, failed to rip and tear a new movie franchise. That’s not stopping this straight-to-video production from trying again, though. Between its female lead (Scottish actress Amy Manson) subverting the Doomguy role and the new legion of fans the series earned from 2016’s acclaimed DOOM game reboot, this one just might have a shot in, er, hell.


DYNASTY WARRIORS

The massive, steel-clashing melees of the cult-favorite Dynasty Warriors series are coming to the big screen in a new, live-action film currently being produced by China 3D Digital Entertainment Limited. While there’s no word on whether or not the action romp will land stateside, the production – due sometime in 2019 – is being directed by Roy Chow Hin Yeung. If the teaser trailer is to be believed, the film will feature the same sort of over-the-top action that sees the games’ protagonists wiping out entire armies with the swipe of a sword.



IN DEVELOPMENT

These movies and shows were either announced or had a big news update within the last year.


SUPER MARIO BROS.

1993’s Super Mario Bros. movie is either a curious cultural touchstone or a complete disaster. Or both. Regardless of your feelings toward Dennis Hopper’s beyond-bizarre portrayal of baddie Bowser though, you  probably wouldn’t be opposed to a reboot. In January 2018, Nintendo and Illumination Entertainment announced they were collaborating on a feature-length animated film based on the portly plumber and his Mushroom Kingdom friends and foes. In November 2018, Chris Meledandri told Variety the movie is in “priority development” for a possible 2022 release, and that Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto is fully involved: “We are keeping him front and center in the creation of this film.”


Minecraft (2020)

Despite recently losing its director, Rob McElhenney, the Minecraft movie is still happening… just not as soon as originally planned. The development hiccup means the popular game’s film adaptation won’t make its May 2019 release date. Still, Warner Bros. remains as persistent as a Creeper, bringing on writers Adam and Aaron Nee – who are also working on Masters of the Universe — to pen a new script and get the project back on track.


FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S

This bizarre horror series, which pits players against evil audio-animatronic animals in a Chuck E. Cheese-like establishment, holds the potential to be one of the better game-based films in the pipeline, not only because the prospect of a robotic bear going on a murderous rampage sounds awesome, but because veteran Hollywood visionary Chris Columbus has been tapped to shepherd production. However, in November 2018, creator Scott Cawthon posted on Steam that he had tossed out his own script and is starting from scratch.


MEGA MAN

The Blue Bomber recently made a big splash with Mega Man 11 – the series’ best game in years – and he’s looking to continue that streak at the box office. The live-action Mega Man movie, from Capcom and 2oth Century Fox, will be written and directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman and, according to Capcom’s announcement in October 2018, will appeal to both seasoned fans of the game franchise as well as those who just appreciate a good action-cranking popcorn flick.


METAL GEAR SOLID

Specifics on the much-speculated Metal Gear Solid movie have been as slippery as the series’ stealthy protagonist, Solid Snake. The majority of intel has come from an enthusiastic Jordan Vogt-Roberts, who’s set to direct the film… if it happens. Vogt-Roberts has shared everything from ambitious story ideas to cool concept art online, including a surprise custom CODEC transmission featuring long-time Snake voice actor David Hayter:

 


CALL OF DUTY

The Activision arm responsible for tackling such projects has made no secret of the fact they intend to turn the enormously popular first-person shooter franchise into a “cinematic universe,” not unlike Marvel’s or Star Wars’. While there’s no solid timeline for the project, the studio intends to kick off its ambitious, universe-expanding plans with a first installment directed by Sicario: Day of the Soldado helmer Stefano Sollima.


THE DIVISION

2016’s promising but ultimately underwhelming Assassin’s Creed film failed to break the video game curse, but that’s not stopping developer Ubisoft from taking another crack. In April 2018, it was announced The Division will be directed by David Leitch (Deadpool 2), while Jessica Chastain and Jake Gyllenhaal will star (the latter being no stranger to video game movies after 2010’s Prince of Persia: Sands of Time). Ubisoft has again attracted impressive talent and, with the source material’s cinematic potential, The Division could be the video game-based flick that strikes a chord with both critics and fans.


SLEEPING DOGS

Details on a Sleeping Dogs film, based on Square Enix’s Hong Kong-set, open-world 2012 action romp, have been all but non-existent as of late. We’d put this under “questionable” if it weren’t for some tidbits coming from its proposed star, Donnie Yen. The Rogue One star took to his Instagram account in February 2018, and spoke as recently as this May, to confirm the flick is still on track. Based on a pic he included with the post, it also seems he may be playing the role of the game’s backside-kicking protagonist, Wei Shen.

 

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RAINBOW SIX

A Rainbow Six movie is definitely in the works, but it might not be what fans of the Ubisoft tactical multiplayer shooter expect. The Paramount project is positioned more as an adaptation of the Tom Clancy books – which the game franchise is loosely based on – than the game itself. In September 2018, Michael B. Jordan joined as John Clark, who’s appeared in previous Clancy films the Sum of All Fears and Clear and Present Danger. A prequel, dubbed Without Remorse, will come before the Rainbow Six movie to establish Clark as the protagonist.


UNCHARTED

One of the most buzzed about game-to-film adaptations, Sony’s Uncharted seems close to making the leap from in-development to production. In an August 2018 interview with The Playlist, director Shawn Levy stated the casting of Tom Holland as wise-cracking swashbuckler Nathan Drake, in addition to the “very good” script, helped pave the way for scheduling and additional casting to take shape.



QUESTIONABLE

We haven’t heard from these announced movies and shows in over a year.


GEARS OF WAR

Little is known about this adaptation of the Microsoft-exclusive shooter series, aside from the fact that a script was being worked on by screenwriter Shane Salerno, who’s also written the first Avatar sequel. Well, that and the fact Dave Bautista has been lobbying for the lead role of Marcus Fenix. In interviews and social media posts, the Guardians of the Galaxy star has made no bones about the fact he’d be perfect to fill the bandanna of the beefy protagonist and belt out his rendition of sweet emulsion.


DRAGON’S LAIR

We were ready to declare this project dead considering how much difficulty creator Don Bluth has had in getting movies off the ground this century (after Titan A.E. buried Fox Animation Studios), let alone something involving his fantasy laserdisc arcade game from the ’80s. But if a successful, $700k-raising Indiegogo campaign had anything to show us, it’s that Dragon’s Lair still has fans today. And that includes the creators of Stranger Things, who opened Season 2 with Mike, Will, Lucas, and Dustin deeply invested in the game at the arcade. The Indiegogo funds will go towards a Dragon’s Lair prequel movie before Dirk the Daring meets Princess Daphne, and… that’s all the news there’s been since last year, outside of Bluth’s interview with SyFy last November. Moviemaking is a long and arduous task and we’re not entitled to status updates if there’s nothing to report, but we’re keeping this at “Questionable” status for now, since Bluth’s dreams have a habit of being undercut by economic reality. If Dragon’s Lair were to fall apart, not only would it suck for the charitable hopefuls who filled the online coffers, but also those 40-year-olds today who called Hawkins, Indiana home.


JUST CAUSE

The paramilitary, parasailing adventures of Rico Rodriguez will continue with Just Cause 4, due on consoles and PCs this December. But things have been quiet on the movie front, with no news since March 2017, when Jason Momoa was announced to play Rico, with Brad Peyton to direct.


CONTRA

Konami announced they were teaming up with Chinese corp Starlight Media for a movie and TV show for their flagship run’n’gun series, even whipping up a logo teaser to demonstrate that this business was serious. But with Chinese money in movie production drying up or becoming more volatile (the Fan Bingbing disappearance has spooked the industry), this project is up in the air like so many spread gun powerups passing in the night.


BORDERLANDS

(Photo by 2K Games)

Fans have been clamoring for a trip to the cel-shaded, planet of pyschos Pandora, and occasional talks and rumors have obliged in stringing hopes along. Has it all just been claptrap? Gearbox Software CEO/carnival barker Randy Pitchford gave a general update during E3 2017. Per ScreenRant‘s transcription of the interview: “We’ve been developing scripts and the strategy that we’re on right now is, that it’s obviously all in the Borderlands universe, but rather than retell the stories that were in the game, we’ll create new stories so the films will have their own film canon.”


DUKE NUKEM

Players and critics weren’t thrilled with what Gearbox cobbled together to complete the infamous Duke Nukem Forever, but they still own the rights, and they’re still talking about getting the raunchy bootstamper on the big screen. From Pitchford, during the same E3 2017 interview: “I can’t announce it but it’s blown my mind. There’s been a lot of production companies that have come at us. We’re putting together a deal right now with a major motion picture studio.”


HALF-LIFE

Gabe Newell hosted a Reddit AMA early last year, and answered a question about a Half-Life and Portal movie with a to-the-point “Yep. They’re coming.” Cool. Months afterward, ex-Valve scribe Marc Laidlaw released a thinly coded synopsis of what would’ve been Half-Life: Episode 3, all but confirming the game will never be made. This has only soured the perception on how this franchise has been handled since Valve moved away from traditional game development, and with details so vague and far-between, this questionable project is close to being marked dead.


PORTAL

The question Newell fielded from his AMA also pertained to Portal, so he’s claiming an adaptation is concurrently in the works.


RESIDENT EVIL

Constantin Films wasted no time in announcing a reboot of the Resident Evil franchise after The Final Chapter came out in January last year. They’re planning a six-film series, and nothing beyond that has been announced since Cannes 2017. Perhaps they saw how well the stripped-down Resident Evil 7 game did, and have been suitably ‘inspired’ to chase after that style. It’d certainly be cheaper.


SPLINTER CELL

There hasn’t been a Splinter Cell game in almost six years, but why let such a cool franchise name go to waste? Case in point: Tom Hardy has long been attached to play Sam Fisher, through various attempts of the getting the film off the ground. With the last update in January 2017, when Hardy was given a new script to read, and nothing since, one can imagine a Splinter Cell movie has been stealthily killed.


THIEF

Square Enix is reportedly working on a fifth Thief game. That’s a surprise already, but then there’s the extra news that a movie is being worked on in conjunction. With no news in the year-and-a-half since, this one maybe have been absconded with off into the night.



DEAD

These projects are either officially dead, or we haven’t gotten any updates in over two years. But considering these are all based on a medium built around 1-ups and extra lives, the door’s open for future resurrection.


BIOSHOCK

“I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose…development hell!” Despite its protracted public development, the Bioshock movie was apparently just eight weeks away from shooting. Gee, with the start date that close, there must’ve been mountains of production material and sets ready to go, right? If you look at director Gore Verbinski’s follow-up movie after Bioshock fell apart, A Cure For Wellness, you’ll get some distinctly Rapturian vibes.


ASSASSIN’S CREED 2

A video game movie starring Michael Fassbender, directed by the guy who made the Certified Fresh MacbethAnd with Marion Cottilard? What could go wrong? Apparently, lots, according to Fassbender himself. And when your main star publicly drubs the movie, that puts a damper on any sequel talk going forward. Oh, and also the fact that Assassin’s Creed bombed with critics and audiences everywhere.


FALLOUT

Bethesda’s Todd Howard told The Wrap that there’s no Fallout movie because “nothing quite clicked,” which meant nothing was ever announced in the first place. Any memories you have of a Fallout movie being in the works were radioactive fever dreams.


THE LAST OF US

In 2016, Sam Raimi revealed why a Last of Us movie imploded: Sony and TLoU co-director/writer Neil Druckmann have differing opinions on what said movie should look like. (It’s easy to speculate that one party would want to use Joel and Ellie, and the other wouldn’t.) Turns out, Druckmann doesn’t even want a movie to happen anyways.


MORTAL KOMBAT

Though Mortal Kombat has seen a brand resurgence over the last few years (along with other American 3D fighters like Injustice), an MK movie might just have been hit with a fatality: One of the movie producers in control of the brand tweeted that things are dormant and nothing is being worked on.


GOD OF WAR

Pacifc Rim: Uprising director Steven S. DeKnight has been calling up Sony to float the idea of a God of War movie, suggesting Dave Bautista to play Kratos. An interesting idea but, reading between the lines, this means a GoW isn’t close to being announced or even really being worked on.


MASS EFFECT

(Photo by Electronic Arts)

An action-oriented space opera with moral quandaries seems like it would’ve been a great fit for a movie, especially one bankrolled by a company with as deep pockets as EA. But alas, Mass Effect fans, no stranger to ignoble endings, may be waiting an eternity to see the battle against the Reapers on-screen, as no movie was ever formally announced. While developer BioWare promises that the series isn’t quite dead yet, the aftermath of the disastrous ME: Andromeda reverberates still.


WATCH DOGS

There’s been no news on adapting the techno-thriller since 2016. And considering Watch Dogs 2 sold up to 80% less than the original, safe to say this one’s been put to sleep.


DEVIL MAY CRY

People were writing articles wondering where the Devil May Cry movie was back in 2013. And then the game reboot happened, with a bro-makeover to Dante that fans hated. And now another game reboot is happening, with Devil May Cry 5 returning back to its silver-haired roots. Seems Capcom needs to prove it can get the game series back on track with a consistent style before even attempting to transmute the property for film.


DEUS EX

(Photo by Square Enix)

There hasn’t been any news about a Deus Ex movie since 2012, a year after comeback game Human Revolution came out. But surely the latest sequel, Mankind Divided, must’ve stirred up the augment’s nest? Not so fast: Mankind apparently didn’t sell too well, and nobody at Eidos or Square Enix is working on a new game. Considering Adam Jensen’s story was left incomplete at the end of Mankind Divided, they ought to focus on wrapping that up before dropping a Deus movie.


SPY HUNTER

No number of covers of the Spy Hunter/Peter Gunn theme can keep this high-octane espionage property alive. The last news was from November 2015, when Dwayne Johnson was associated with it. With Jumanji and Rampage, we think he may have gotten his video game rocks off by now.


DANTE’S INFERNO

Dante’s Inferno was an obscure game (especially by publisher EA’s standards), yet for some reason, a few people in Hollywood were insistent on turning it into a movie. After no updates were released since 2013, three years after the game came out, potential director Fede Alvarez broke his silence to announce… there were still no updates. With 2019 on the horizon, could another non-announcement be in the works?


ASTEROIDS

Spaceships. Mass destruction. Explosions galore. Asteroids sounds like it would’ve been a match made in vector heaven with director Roland Emmerich, who, at the time, hadn’t directed a disaster epic in years. Alas, he passed on the project in 2015. Just as well: He directed Independence Day: Resurgence instead, and where would cinema be today without that?


GRAN TURISMO

We’re not sure what shape a Gran Turismo movie would take (even Fast & Furious had to throw in international espionage and nuclear subs to keep things interesting), but if the prospect of one has been keeping you up all these years, bad news: The last time anyone’s written about a GT movie was in 2015, and that was to float the idea that the whole concept had been sent to the salvage dump.



ANNOUNCED

Movie and game studios are often eager to make fanfare announcements either prematurely or to drum up public interest, and then the project’s never heard from again. These movies and shows could be worse than dead: They may never have been alive in the first place.


ALTERED BEAST

(Photo by Sega)

Announced by Sega in 2016. Likely to have been welcomed to its doom as there have been no developments since.


CENTIPEDE

Old game properties usually get announced in chunks, as the movie rights are sold to studios in package deals. This was the case for Atari when they announced both a Centipede and a Missile Command movie at the same time.


MISSILE COMMAND

The Cold War may be over, but America’s got a whole lot of problems with other countries, so maybe a Missile Command movie is still incoming after its 2016 announcement. But don’t hold your breath.


FIREWATCH

Firewatch was the most popular walking simulator of 2016 thanks to combining mystery, romance, and thriller tropes into an attractive package. Developer Campo Santo said in 2016 that a movie was in the works. And they’ve since been acquired by Valve, so maybe things will move at a quicker pace. (Stop laughing!)


FRUIT NINJA

As smartphones inserted themselves into everyone’s pockets and purses, Fruit Ninja was one of those big viral games that highlighted our new world of mobile inanity. So it’s no surprise that a movie was announced in 2016. It’s also no surprise there’s been no news since.


METRO

(Photo by 4A Games)

Despite its very cinematic presentation, it took a while for the post-apocalyptic franchise to get its movie announcement. Fast forward to 2019, when latest game sequel Metro Exodus will be released in February, with no new updates on the movie. Fortunately, Metro is based on a book series, so the series may have a long shelf-life even after the games conclude.


RABBIDS

The video game equivalent of Minions, the Rabbids, were announced to be getting their own movie in 2015. Three Robot Chicken writers were attached at the time.


RENT-A-HERO

Announced by Sega in 2016, with Hot Tub Time Machine‘s Steve Pink attached, based on the very obscure character. In fact, none of this hero’s two games ever made it to the States, and the only way American gamers could’ve encountered him was as a secret character in Sega Saturn’s Fighters Megamix.


SHINOBI

Announced in 2016, based on Sega’s long-running (but now dormant) ninja platformer.


STREETS OF RAGE

Announced in 2016. Sega’s beat ’em up has a seriously dedicated fanbase, especially for one that hasn’t had a new entry in 25 years. The wait (and all the fan games) paid off when SoR4 was announced for a 2019 release.


TETRIS

The Tetris Company was all too eager to announce the pieces were coming together for a movie, alongside an $80 million influx of Chinese cash. But that was over two years ago, and with the volatile market for money from the Middle Kingdom, the movie may have vanished like a well-placed L-block.

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