Video games have come a long way since the creation of ‘Pong’ in 1958. Gone are the days of controlling a snake on our phone screens, there’s a much larger demand to be immersed in a storyline. Many recent video games, like The Last of Us, are very narrative-based and place more focus on the storyline and characters rather than gameplay.
Recently, there’s been an increase in film studios developing the narratives of video games and breathing new life into the stories we grew up playing on consoles and PCs. Adaptive narratives from video games are still a relatively new concept in the world of entertainment, with some pulling it off better than others.
5. Warcraft (2016)
Warcraft is an American action fantasy film adapted from the video game series of the same name. The film follows a group of human heroes and dissenting Orcs working together and attempting to stop the evil behind the war and restore peace. This film wasn’t very well received by critics, receiving a generally negative overall review. It was, however, the highest-grossing film based on a video game from 2016-2023 when it was eventually overtaken, grossing $439 million worldwide. And for that reason, it makes our list!
4. Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
Now, if we were basing this list on the initial concepts of films, we think you’d agree that this wouldn’t have made it. Sonic the Hedgehog created international outrage when the initial movie design was released and in response to the critiques, Sonic was redesigned. After tweaking the visuals, Sonic the Hedgehog grossed $319 million worldwide and already has multiple spin-offs and sequels in the works. The film received generally positive reviews from critics who praised its action sequences, performances, visual effects, and screenplay, making it a worthy adaptation for our list.
3. Mortal Kombat (2021)
Mortal Kombat is an American martial arts fantasy film based on the video game series. This recent adaptation of the popular street fighting game franchise received praise for its faithful character representations, fight choreography, and subtle homage to the game’s original moves and fatalities. The film grossed over $84 million and became HBO Max’s most successful film launch to date. It received very mixed reviews with some critics suggesting that the movie was largely for fans of the source material. So, if you’re a fan of the games, you might enjoy this movie remake.
2. Tomb Raider (2018)
Tomb Raider serves as an origin story for Lara Croft. It explores her motivations, her relationship with her father, and the circumstances that drive her to embark on her first adventure. Unlike previous Tomb Raider movies, this adaptation presents a more gritty and realistic portrayal of Lara’s survival skills and her journey to become the skilled explorer we’re used to in the games. This film grossed $274 million at the box office and received very mixed reviews from critics around the world. But don’t let them put you off!
1. Detective Pikachu (2019)
There have been countless Pokémon adaptations on the big screen and on TV. Detective Pikachu combined live-action and CGI to create an insight into the world of Pokémon that hadn’t made its way to the mainstream media yet. Ryan Reynolds really nails his role as Detective Pikachu and the whole production gave love and care to the Pokémon world, doing justice to the original fans but bringing in lots more interest from around the world. It made a worldwide gross of $433 million, becoming the second-highest-grossing video game film adaptation behind Warcraft at the beginning of its release.
So, there you have it! 5 of the best game-to-movie adaptations… so far! What game are you waiting to hit the big screen and what should have stayed on the consoles?