Games that MUST become films

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Films based on computer games – oh dear.

We’ve had the ‘nobody even remembers’ (Super Mario Bros), the ‘instantly forgettable’ (Max Payne) and the ‘dear god – let me forget’ (House of the Dead). We haven’t had a good one.

That’s often because bad games have been chosen – and then handed to bad directors. Games can be far less conventional than films – giving us a depth no film could attempt (if for no other reason than time constraints). The best games are daring, shocking and totally compelling.

Here’s a list games that MUST become films

Gears of War – with its cinematic presentation, Gears of War, the third person shooter than damn near revolutionised the cover mechanic in gaming, is already half way there. Larger than life heroes (literally), cannon fodder enemies and big fookin’ guns means this could easily slide into a summer blockbuster season.

Deus Ex – the bionic agent investing a global terrorist network may seem overly familiar, but Deus Ex’s depth made this one of the most original and dynamic games for the PC. Our hero, JC Denton, exuded Matrix-esque cool in his trench coat in this dystopian tale. As the story progresses you discover a global conspiracy spread by the seemingly benign UNATCO (i.e UN) which has duped you into carrying out its mission. Think Blade Runner meets The X Files meets The Matrix and you have a visually stunning and mentally stimulating thriller.

Mass Effect – heavily inspired by Babylon 5 and Star Wars, Mass Effect is already destined for the big screen. The game centres on the attempts by a galactic UN (‘The Council’) to combat the threat of an ancient alien race. Our lead is the first human SPECTRE, an agent of Council existing above the law and tasked with protecting the galaxy – by whatever means. Mass Effect features a cast of some of the most remarkable characters to grace sci fi – characters of depth and with which you develop real affinity. The game focuses on the morality of your actions – and the consequence of your choices. The cinematic translation could be a sci fi classic

Legend of Zelda – in an age where an audience seems to care for little more than pretty colours a 3D Zelda might well conquer all. As Link, a plucky green elf, you do battle against the forces of evil and invariable save Princess Zelda. The story was never the highlight – or the focus. Instead a visually stunning mythical and medieval world is created. Done with care this would be among the most visual beautiful films ever conceived.

Halo – Peter Jackson’s demand for a huge budget saw this veto’d. But it will be back. Avatar stole much of what a Halo film could be – military tech beating seven bells out of aliens across a variety of stunning worlds. The fan base is there. This would be huge.

Assassins Creed – a medieval assassin fights the Knights Templar during the Crusades. Another film that would delight for the visuals, Assassins Creed’s stylish lead would bring a ‘cool’ factor many films try for – and few ever achieve.

Metal Gear Solid – predominantly lavish cut scenes anyway, Metal Gear Solid’s mix of Japanese eccentricity, superhero cool and narrative complexity would for a unique film. ‘Solid’ Snake (basically ‘Snake’ Pliskin from Escape from New York/LA) is a badass hero – using stealth to stop futuristic terrorism. Couldn’t be done justice in less than 3 hours – its possibly too ambitious to be done right, but game director Hideo Kojima may just have the skill

Star Wars – The Force Unleashed – Star Wars died a death with three poor prequels. The scope for a great story in the Star Wars universe did not. As Darth Vader’s apprentice you represent the most potent Jedi the galaxy has seen – blessed with an unparalleled access to the Dark Side of the Force. Hunting Jedi and causing devastation with the Force strikes me as the film(s) the prequel trilogy should have been. Its key quality is a darker, more sinister tone; this is Star Wars for adults. It simply couldn’t fail to deliver.

Max Payne – wait, didn’t we get this? No. The Max Payne that blighted cinemas last year was nothing like the game. The game was a twisted and disturbed descent into madness as a rogue co confronts the group that murdered his wife and child. Max Payne was gritty and at points – truly harrowing. An emotional roller coaster this film demands a hard 18 rating to be done right. Blessed with visual flair and intense action the film bore no resemblance. Do it again. This time actually base it on the game.

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