The Witcher has been picked up for a prestige TV adaptation on Netflix, and I hope to the gods it's good. Not just for its own sake, but because I really want it to encourage Netflix to pick up some other video game franchises that could make great #TV shows. Here's what I think should be the next video game stories to come to TV, and why.
There are a lot of #videogames out there with great stories, but we all know that video game movies usually fail to do them justice. Usually. A problem with movies is that a lot of AAA video games are many hours long and full of detail that needs to be simplified or condensed to fit into a typical one and a half hour feature film.
But a long-running TV series? Prestige television along the lines of Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones? That could really take the time to do justice to some of the bigger and more interesting video game worlds.
#Fallout would be my top choice for any video game adaptation, even over The Witcher. Fallout's got sex and drugs and oodles of violence. Gangsters, mutants, robots and yes, a few heroes too. Plus a whole bunch of competing factions with different visions for the world for fans to root for, a la Game of Thrones.
TV is currently lacking a post-apocalyptic adventure series that isn't dragged down by boring, non-scary zombies. I'd start a Fallout TV series right at the beginning of the first game so that we can watch the wasteland evolve after the atomic devastation.
Since a TV show doesn't have to focus on one main character, as well as the main Fallout story we could also see characters from the NCR, Brotherhood of Steel, Caesar's Legion etc. offer their perspective.
2. Red Dead Redemption
This one goes out to all my cowboys and cowgirls who've been feeling lonesome ever since Deadwood went off the air. #RedDeadRedemption, set in the twilight of the Old West, shares thematic concerns with Deadwood, but I'd argue that its tight, emotive story and greater focus on action would make for more compelling television.
Maybe Red Dead Redemption 2, set even earlier in history, would be even better? Check out the sequel trailer below:
Fans have already realized much, and made compelling short films based on RDR's story. Give this a watch, and tell me that you don't get a fever for more cowboy.
3. Planescape: Torment
Although somewhat obscure compared to other titles on this list, Planescape: Torment often tops lists of greatest #RPG titles of all time thanks to its fantastic storyline and compelling setting — but no one argues that it wins over the competition when it comes to game mechanics.
So why not jettison the game elements and bring the story, characters and setting to the forefront, all the while fleshing out character development and delivering a feast for the eyes on TV?
An immortal, amnesiac hero tries to piece together his past through interactions with deep, oddball characters in a weird city that's a nexus between different metaphysical worlds based on extreme philosophies? Now that Game of Thrones has proven that there's a big market for good ol' knights and dragons fantasy, maybe it's time to take a chance on something weirder.
4. Grand Theft Auto
Rockstar's #GTA series is heavily inspired by cinema, but I'd argue that the franchise is waaay more suited to television. As the GTA franchise has progressed, Rockstar have injected more and more story and serious character development into the games, which a lot of players ignore in favor of causing random mayhem in the sandbox.
But a TV show would allow these characters' stories to come to the forefront, with some of the silly ultra-violence toned down and deployed with more gritty realism. Characters like Trevor, Michael, Niko and Tommy Vercetti would be given more space to grow on TV. Think less Fast and Furious, more The Sopranos, The Wire or Breaking Bad.
It doesn't even have to be a straight crime caper. Even in the games, fans have shown quite a lot of interest in watching Johnny Law's side of the story.
5. Deus Ex
Once thought to be a passing fad of the '90s, cyberpunk is coming back, baby. At least, if Mr. Robot and Westworld are any indication. Why not dig into video game's coolest cyberpunk saga for the next sci-fi show?
Now, a Deus Ex: Human Revolution movie was announced back in 2012, but it doesn't look like it'll be emerging anytime soon. But a TV show could strike sooner while the iron is hot, and make the most out of the 6 #DeusEx games that we've got to draw from so far.
With its themes of global conspiracy, technological augmentation, terrorism and prejudice, the storylines of the Deus Ex franchise seem more relevant than ever today.
The success of Game of Thrones and Vikings on TV have proven that viewers dig dragons and weirdly-accented norse warriors, so why not throw them together and bring out a series based on #Skyrim?
Bethesda's huge open world RPG has so much detail it would be impossible for a movie to do it justice with its restricted runtime, but the reason why I'd love to see a Skyrim show is because there are plenty of great characters in the game that could do with fleshing out.
A GoT-style approach that focuses as much on political intrigue as dragon-slaying action would be compelling television as far as I'm concerned. I'd love to see some proper actors delve into the motivations of characters like Tullius, Ulfric Stormcloak and Jarl Balgruuf of Whiterun.
7. Mass Effect
Here's a tricky one for you. The Mass Effect franchise is rich with potential for a cool spacefaring sci-fi show, but would you go for an adaptation of the original trilogy, or for one based on the more recent #Andromeda?
On the one hand, Shepard and crew's original story would look great brought to life on screen by contemporary actors, but on the other hand, Andromeda offers the chance to tell whole new stories in BioWare's Mass Effect universe.
Even though we've already had a TV show called Andromeda, I'd pitch the latter. Andromeda the game has some great potential in its characters and stories, but it's bogged down by repetitive gameplay and uncanny botched animations. A TV series could ditch the grinding, offer a change to rewrite the clunky dialogue, and get some real actors to lend some believable faces to Ryder and co.
Are Gaming and TV Universes About To Converge?
As video games become more and more invested in delivering well developed characters and stories, the closer to movies and TV they become. And with shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, TV has proven it can tell long-term, detailed storylines better than movies.
If The Witcher takes off on Netflix, it could just be the beginning. Will games prove just as difficult to adapt well to TV as they do to the silver screen? Or are we looking at the start of something beautiful?
What are your favorite games that you'd like to see adapted to TV?