Recently, I have been playing the spiritual sequel to Resident Evil 4, The Evil Within (both were directed by Shinji Mikami). It's a tense and horrifying decent into a hellish vision that has been one of the most entertaining and satisfying gaming experiences I have had in recent memory. Whilst playing, I have begun to think that certain games, especially ones with a heavy narrative focus, would benefit from silver screen treatment. I wanted to list five that came to mind and why they'd be a treat for the big screen.
1. The Evil Within - As a rugged police officer in Krimson City, Sebastian Castellanos and his partners enter a crime scene in Beacon Mental Hospital. Within minutes of reaching the crime scene, he's transported to a meat locker, unconscious and hanging from the ceiling as a hulking, saw wielding human-like creature is eviscerating another victim. This sets the table for The Evil Within. A deeply psychological game, a big screen treatment could make a sometimes convoluted story more coherent, while expanding on the incredible atmosphere the game provides. Great horror films are always in short supply, but this game provides a great template that just needs some good talent behind it.
2. Assassin's Creed - Probably one of the more obvious choices for this list, especially since Michael Fassbender is actually going to star in the adaptation of the series. By far one of the most bizarre premises in video games, you play a present day character who enters a machine that allows you to access memories of your ancestors and relive them (the Animus). Through some millenia long conspiracy, you find out that the Templars have been running the world in the shadows while the heroic Assassins are all that stand between them and world domination. Confused yet? It gets better....the second iteration of Assassin's Creed introduces the premise that all of humanity is actually directly descended from a race that existed prior to us. Not exactly aliens....but aliens!!! This is a lot for a film to tackle, and it seems likely that the film version will be a bit more streamlined and focused than the game series. Regardless, I can't wait to see this one in theaters.
3. Dead Space - Yet another horror entry, Dead Space has one of the most engrossing narratives of any game series in recent memory. Starring engineer Isaac Clarke, you discover a horrific artifact that essentially causes anyone within its vicinity to turn into a homicidal multiple appendaged beast. Taking a twist on the zombie genre, you can actually kill the beasts by cutting off their limbs, rather than solely aiming for their heads. Thanks to zealots, some people actually believe in these alien artifacts as religious symbols, causing an entirely internal conflict among the humans regarding the evil. The first game takes place entirely on a ship, the USG Ishimura, and has a very Event Horizon feel to it. Every corridor has you on the edge of your seat, and you will never trust a vent again. The second and third games expand in locales and scope, but the first Dead Space provides a perfect story and setting, not unlike things we've seen before in film but with a completely new twist on how we establish things that go knock in the night. Added on to our hero's external struggle, the ship is actually the abandoned wreckage of the mission his girlfriend was on before they lost contact with the outside world. The mix of an internal and external struggle would make the story interesting and relevant to viewers, while allowing for a bit of horror escapism as well.
4. Uncharted - Much like Assassin's Creed, this film is actually going to happen. Compared to Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider, this series features intrepid explorer, Nathan Drake, who can't help but get himself entangled in some sort of far reaching treasure hunt that usually leaves him near death or in some sort of perilous situation. Every game has some sort of supernatural twist in the last half that provides a refreshing take on the run and gun the game typically features (Nazi zombie monsters, anyone?). Each game is rife with material to build a film off of, but given the nature of the games and heavy emphasis on supporting cast, an completely original story capturing the spirit of the games and the characterization of the major players would suffice and perhaps allow for a more entertaining adaptation than just merely taking the plot of a game and making it the plot of the film. Nathan Drake is just smug enough to stay likable and history shows that we like a wild goose chase, especially when it involves guns and women.
5. The Last of Us - The magnum opus of the PS3, released just before the reign of the PS4, The Last of Us provided an incredible foray into a bleak future in which a viral outbreak has caused the few remaining pockets of humanity to live in almost oppressive circumstances. To venture out into the world could incur the wrath of "clickers", fungus controlled humans who would like nothing more than to murder anything nearby. However, this new society has caused not only the infected to become your enemies but humanity has devolved into a mostly self serving and horrifying caricature of itself. Given a chance to find a cure for this global affliction, Joel (our protagonist) leads Ellie to a resistance movement, as her blood contains a likely cure. One of the most interesting aspects of The Last of Us isn't how it's basically an incredibly well executed zombie game, but rather, it's how the two main characters are living, breathing people, will a plethora of motivations that make them tick. Joel is hardly a "good guy" in the classic sense, and by the end of the game, I found myself personally disgusted with his selfish behavior. That's what makes this game so rife for adaptation. It gives us an interesting premise and setting, but its crowning achievement is that it gives us expertly written characters. Given the zombie-mania that has consumed pop culture in recent years, why not adapt the most interesting twist on the genre in the last decade?