As improbable as it is Netflix intended to crack the “video game modification code”, recent hits such as Powerhouse Animation Studios’ Castlevania and that of Fortiche Arcane proved that animation is the key format. Coincidence or not, the streaming giant has noticed since animated adaptations for, among others Assassin’s Creed† Tomb Raider† Far cry† Splinter Celland more are on the way in various studios.
Movies could work for many gaming IPs too, but a serialized format would arguably provide the most breathing room to do justice to a story. What other franchises could be on the horizon remains to be seen, and whether others like HBO and Amazon will get the hint, but there’s still a wealth of much-loved games that would translate well into small-screen animation.
supergiant games’ Hades has taken the gaming scene by storm in 2020. The indie roguelike action game has taken the subgenre to the next level by mixing the pulse-pounding and cathartic dungeon crawling it’s known for with a compelling, emotional story. Hades made the quieter moments in Zagreus’ father’s House of Hades as rewarding as the moment-to-moment action by a diverse, irresistible and lovable cast of characters with meaningful intrapersonal dynamics.
Big props go to the art direction and impressive acting, which go hand in hand with the fantastic storytelling and character writing for why Hades yearns for an adaptation of an animated TV show. Even the launch trailer for the game essentially served as a proof of concept for how this would work.
While the above Hades is arguably the most seamless choice for an animated TV series, Elden Ring is both a strong contender and the most current. Given a recent press release from publisher Bandai Namco however, and Elden Ring animated series may even be unavoidable† FromSoftware’s latest sprawling dark fantasy epic has made an unforgettable milestone in the gaming industry in a similar way to Super Mario 64† The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrimand The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild did for their respective genres/subgenres.
The will of Under the spell of the Ring† Game of Thronesand The Witcher have comfortably brought fantasy back to the mainstream, and the rich, dense knowledge and world-building of the Lands Between would give a potential creative team a sandbox of stories to play with and put on screen. And with George RR Martin’s ties to the game’s production, there might be a smooth pipeline to HBO Max†
An all-time classic JRPG from the era of 16-bit gaming, Square Enix’s chrono trigger has a perfect template for a serialized animated TV series. More specifically, given the style of the game, it would make an excellent anime series.
It doesn’t look like it chrono trigger will soon be getting a remaster, remake or (another) sequel, and in the hands of the right writing team and animation studio, this fantastic journey would be a great excuse to relive this story in a new way. Toei Animation would be a prime candidate to animate it as the studio is the go-to producer for Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball IP, whose art forms the basis for chrono trigger†
The Legend of Zelda
As one of the icons of the video game medium and one of Nintendo’s biggest cash cowsit’s surprising that The Legend of Zelda hasn’t seen a high-profile animated adaptation yet. Now that fantasy is more in demand than ever and ZeldaDue to the inherent JRR Tolkien/LOTR-esque vibe, the timing seems as good as it ever has been for the property to integrate with the world of TV.
The options for a story are also many, as most of the main games can translate into a series. Breath of the Wild seems to be the easiest choice due to its beautiful visuals, setting and scope. And while it would be a big “if,” an original story could be another option, given the universe’s already complex timelines.
Metal Gear Solid
Sony has long confirmed that it is working on a live-action Metal Gear Solid movie starring Oscar Isaac, but as tempting as that sounds on paper, an animated TV series is arguably the ideal format. Converting the Isaac-led movie into a live-action HBO series, such as The last of us would also have been an excellent option, given the network’s great creative track record.
However, an animation similar to what Powerhouse did with Castlevania could be exciting in its own right and provide an excuse to bring back fan-favorite Solid Snake voice actor David Hayter. Metal Gear Solid has been praised for its mind-blowing psychological elements, spy thriller story, and compelling if at times complicated political commentary. It is for these reasons that elongated TV would give an edit the careful treatment it deserves.
As with other JRPG giants such as: Final Fantasy† dragon quest† Personaand more, Intelligent Systems’ fire emblem franchise is largely defined by anthology-style entries, with each serving as a new entry point. Of course, as with chrono triggera fire emblem story would make an excellent long-running anime series. Each game has its own expansive, imaginative setting and story with political intrigue atop the ‘sword and sorcery’.
The most recent Three houses on Nintendo Switch was arguably the series’ biggest highlight, with different character-driven story routes depending on the player’s decision. With the wealth of games and stories at hand, fire emblem can easily be another rich sandbox as long as the keys to the kingdom are given to the right creative team.
Equivalent to Metal Gear Solidcase, Mass effect is also ready to get a customization through Amazon, per Deadline† It will also be a TV series and there are rumors of Henry Cavill’s involvement. However, the details of the show are unclear, including whether it will be live-action or animated. The original Mass effect trilogy is a beloved set of RPGs, praised for its massive sci-fi world, player freedom and customization options, and compelling cast of supporting characters.
Much would depend on an adaptation of some sort, but animation would allow for more creativity in depicting this world and its characters. It would admittedly be difficult regardless of the character roster, and whether it is to be a retelling of the trilogy or somewhere else within the Mass effect universe with an original cast and story.
metro is another beloved Nintendo IP that has rightfully enjoyed a resurgence in the modern gaming era. Mercury Steams Metroid Dread on the Switch assured this, which will hopefully cause even more commotion for when the highly anticipated Prime 4 launches.
The bounty hunter Samus Aran is said to be a compelling hero in an animated AlienTV-inspired series, playing on elements of both sci-fi and horror – though understandably on the lighter side for the latter. The right adaptation would make for an excitedly eerie, foreboding and atmospheric story, punctuated by stylish action scenes. On top of the main storyline, anthology style episodes can also be a good story structure.
While a FromSoftware fantasy epic has already been touched upon, bloodborne is unique enough to occupy a different place. bloodborne is certainly dark fantasy too, but it takes a gothic, Victorian spin on the genre along with splashes of Lovecraftian/Eldritch horror.
It would again be a great fit for HBO Max if the streamer leaned on adult animation, and bloodborne dripping with a horrific atmosphere that could animate an animation studio in a haunting way. Castlevania could once again serve as a blueprint for this setting, with the challenge mainly in crafting a story around the undescribed protagonist and doing justice to the grotesque creature designs and cathartic, bloody action.
Game director Yoko Taro’s Kidney series started out as a mediocre niche collection of games on the PS2 dragon garden — and PS3 before exploding with the critically acclaimed NieR:Vending Machines† More recently, the PS3 game got a remaster in the form of: NieR Replicantgiving the game a modern facelift and a second life.
An anime adaptation of these games would be one of the most emotionally resonating and heartbreaking series to date, as Taro is known to hold back little in his in-depth storytelling style. Both Kidney games take place in sci-fi dystopian worlds as they explore philosophical themes through their characters.