With Netflix jumping into the gaming business, bringing out a live-action Resident Evil series and the Castlevania anime's creator adapting PUBG next, now is as good a time as any to consider what major gaming IP could make the jump to streaming services as a series best. Plenty of franchises out there have branched out beyond games to deliver their storylines, and these vast worlds and universes have a lot of space for spin-offs.
Some franchises have already made the jump to the big screen but could still work as a good basis for a series, while others haven't hit other mediums at all aside of maybe some books or comics despite having no small amount of popularity. Here are a couple of franchises we'd love to see get Netflix adaptations so that their already broad and deep universes would be expanded even further.
Rights for a Mass Effect movie were bought by Legendary Pictures way back in 2010, but over a decade later nothing has come of the project. Recently, BioWare lead writer Mac Walters spoke to Business Insider about this, and how the main difficulty was the inability of the talent on board to wrangle the story into a movie format.
Bafflingly, Legendary intended to adapt the first Mass Effect game. As we all know, the Mass Effect trilogy is a branching RPG revolving around our custom Commander Shepard as their choices and decisions define the future of the galaxy, while developing friendships, rivalries and relationships with a huge cast of cool aliens. A movie, by its nature, would have stripped the source material of absolutely everything that made fans fall in love with it.
Meanwhile, even just the first game had established a deep lore and history for the galaxy it was set in, which has only deepened with subsequent games - there is a ton of material that could be adapted or expanded upon without trampling all over the main storyline. A Netflix series exploring the First Contact War between the Humans and Turians would be an interesting take - or perhaps one that focused on the 5 year gap between the first two games.
Anything would be better than a straight adaptation of any of the games, and with a fictional universe this complex and deep, we'd love to take a dive back into Mass Effect with a series.
Another BioWare property that just begs for further exploration, Dragon Age has gone on a bit of hiatus, but the fourth game in the series has been officially acknowledged and will soon™ take us on new adventures to Tevinter. Even so, the continent of Thedas and the world beyond has thousands and thousands of year of rich history full of disasters, magic, political conniving and wars.
Arguably the way it ended makes Game of Thrones a poor act to follow, but it cannot be denied how widespread its success was at its height, and in that regard a Dragon Age series could be the "next Game of Thrones". It's got magic, it's got dragons, it's got encroaching sort-of-undead swarm enemies, it's got a dedicated order opposing said enemies, the Orlesian nobility loves playing political intrigue so much that they incorporated it into their culture as "The Game" - it's got all the elements, and arguably a more interesting world to boot.
The way Dragon Age approaches mages and the use of magic is one of its most unique aspects, which keeps returning in the story as a relevant plot point, and most of the major events affecting the world in general are somehow tied to it. Lyrium is also a valuable commodity, not without its dangers. While Dragon Age has a lot of past history that could be explored in a Netflix series, simply giving us more insight into the lives of its hunted mages would be a perfect basis of a story as well.
A common comment often seem in discussions about Metal Gear, though often said jokingly, is that if Hideo Kojima really wants to make a movie, he should just make a movie. This references some of the notoriously long cutscenes seen in Metal Gear games, where the plot is propelled without any input from the player.
While the split between Kojima and Konami has left the rights to Metal Gear with the latter - and all they managed to do with it is make a crappy survival game with crystal-zombies in it - we dream of seeing what the auteur himself would have cooked up if given the chance to create an MG series for Netflix.
The incredibly convoluted plot and backstory spanning decades and about a dozen global conspiracies has always cut deeper into the theme of politics than most other games would dare to. Many people who haven't actually immersed themselves in the Metal Gear franchise sort of assume it stops at "wow cool robot", but there is much more at play here - and there are plenty of events in the history of Metal Gear's world that would warrant their own show.
Respawn Entertainment is focusing wholly on Apex Legends, the free to play battle royale set in the Titanfall universe (but lacks titans) to the point of neglecting the rampant hacking that has crippled Titanfall and Titanfall 2 multiplayer. Seeing as the sequel's story was outstanding and started to push the setting into an interesting narrative direction, this shift in the developers' approach to the universe is disappointing to say the least.
If you've only skimmed a wiki - or just played the first Titanfall - then you might think that the world is a cookie cutter, generic sci-fi setting. There is a resource crisis in the future, an evil mining corporation pioneers space travel and weapons tech, offworld colonies supply Earth with resources but are oppressed, said colonies rise up, etc, etc.
However, Titanfall 2 - and we must begrudgingly admit that Apex Legends as well - proved that there is a lot more potential to the setting than what has been depicted so far. Naturally, depending on the writing team behind such a project, it could easily just be as formulaic as the story of the first game, or it could be pushed to reach its potential.
Assassin's Creed already made the jump to the big screen with... debatable success, and previously dabbled in motion picture with a miniseries and an animated series. Between comics and novels, Ubisoft has worked for years to develop a far-reaching and deep backstory for the franchise. While some critics have styled games as empty open worlds with nothing but meaningless collectibles, game after game this has been proven wrong.
The lore of Assassin's Creed not only spans literally the entire breadth of human history, but even before it, with the actions of a hyper-advanced precursor race being the impetus of events in the game. Since the franchise is all about being a historical road trip - with plenty of great settings waiting to be explored - a Netflix series would be the perfect opportunity to expand the storyline into eras and locations that, while providing interesting plot fodder, would not gel with typical Assassin's Creed gameplay.
Climby stabby stealthy jumpy parkour fun doesn't really work in modern settings, for example, or anything more recent than the setting of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate. Despite this, some of the most important events driving the overarching plot take place in the modern day, so using a live-action streaming series for those events would be the best use of the IP.
Notorious for its difficulty where your scrappy group of multinational alient-blasting marines would still miss shots with a 99% hit chance, XCOM tackles a widely adapted premise - evil aliens invade Earth and the world's governments band together to kick the wee grey men back into the void. However, between the tense, tactical missions and the diplomatic challenge of juggling resources with the needs of member states, there is an immense potential for compelling drama here.
There's also the surprising depth of story content present in the franchise that most people who haven't played any, or more than one, of the games would know. Throughout the series, we've seen cosmic-horror entities invading from the bottom of the ocean instead of outer space, the aliens winning forcing XCOM to become a stealthy guerilla resistance unit, the aliens making peace and joining XCOM, and a UFO conspiracy story set in the 60's.
Interestingly there really aren't a lot of good on-going UFO related series right now, so XCOM would be covering an entirely open market segment.
One of the biggest game franchises out there, and the only motion picture presence it has is a promotional short from over a decade ago and a weird, distorted real-world dramatization of how it came to be created. Starring Daniel Redcliffe. Yeah, we don't get it either.
Now more than ever, the iconic merciless socio-political satire all of Grand Theft Auto's humor is fueled is relevant to audiences beyond just the existing fan base of the series - though that is itself already sizeable, considering more than 150 million copies of GTA 5 have sold since it was released, not counting digital sales. The world of GTA is exactly as vast as the real one, and the franchise is chock full of characters given fleshed out and appropriately parodical personalities even though they barely get screen time.
Liberty City, Vice City and Los Santos all have plenty of commentary laden stories to tell, which framed around frequently over-the-top action sequences would be perfect for the sort of dynamic flow most Netflix original series have come to be known for.
Warframe is known for various things in the gaming community. It's opaque and bizarre lore, unique and sometimes nauseatingly organic aesthetic style and its surprisingly fair in-game economy for a free-to-play title with microtransactions. Of course, it's the first two that make it most interesting as fodder for a show.
A lot of mass market sci-fi these days boils down to many of the same generic tropes, and while Warframe is still guilty of employing a few clichés, it's still one of the more original universes out there. Nailing the foreign, alien feel of what extraterrestrial species and technology would actually look like in the distant future sets Warframe apart.
The player drive unorthodox storytelling of Warframe would possibly have a rough transition to the structure of a TV show, but shifting the perspective from that of the Tenno would give writers a new angle, allowing us to witness the universe in a different light while also providing the freedom to wrangle it in a new format.
Post-apocalyptic media is all the rage - probably since we're veering closer and closer to actual world-ending scenarios day by day, if the news is any indication. The struggles of surviving and eking out a living after the collapse of society makes for riveting drama, and provides a hotbed for stories exploring various moral issues.
Of course, the post-apoc genre is also absolutely overflowing. Hits and flops alike make up the crowd, but Fallout could carve out a serious audience. Not only does it have brand recognition going for it - no matter how much the patina was damaged by Fallout 76's launch - but also a unique retrofuturistic aesthetic.
Vault-tec's chilling biological and social experiments in the nuclear shelters are an inexhaustible source of iconic questlines throughout the franchise, and could likely be mined for even more story potential. We've also only seen so much of post-war America, but the detailed backstory of the games has at least name dropped a number of significant locations not actually encountered. The wasteland has plenty of stories waiting to be told.
While Blizzard has been fleshing out the storyline and lore of its character driven hero shooter with supplemental media, the multiplayer-only game has little by way of an actual plot. The upcoming sequel seeks to irony this kink out by adding a single player mode, but one campaign can only fill so many blanks.
While the Omnic War would be the obvious candidate for an Overwatch Netflix show's setting, in writing the character bios of the various heroes Blizzard has constructed a much broader framework for tales in the Overwatch universe. While many heroes have gotten supplemental backstories, some still haven't - another great opportunity would be to shed the spotlight on one such hero in each episode, allowing fans to get a better idea about the motivations and personalities of their mains.
These are just 10 major gaming properties that would lend themselves well to their own Netflix shows, with many others out there - as Netflix expands into gaming, possibly the closer ties with some of the major companies will help it secure some more licenses, allowing us to explore our favorite fictional settings even after we put down the controller.