?It used to be that movies that got games based around them mostly fell into two categories – action and adventure. A brief journey down the up-and-down history of movie-based games, including the now infamous E.T. on the Atari 2600 and fan favorite Nintendo 64 classic Goldeneye, reveals that it was pretty easy to predict which movies would get the console treatment. Well, that was then. After a decade that brought us previously unthinkable game adaptations of films like The Godfather, Scarface, Reservoir Dogs and Jaws it’s clear movie-based games are no longer just for contemporary films and summer blockbusters, as the forum for the kind of movie that can inspire a game is more open than ever. Further more, with the micro-nuances exhibited by games like Quantic Dream’s critically acclaimed Heavy Rain continuing to blur the line between the worlds of cinema and video gaming, the argument could be made that just about any movie with an audience could be translated to our home systems with a decent chance at being successful. So without further ado, here’s our attempt at playing game designer for movie-based games we’ve always wanted but never got.
10) Dead Snow
With so many games available that let players kill Nazis and zombies on a separate basis, it’s kind of surprising that more games aren’t available that let them do both at the same time. Well, a game adaptation of 2009’s campy Norwegian gore fest could be just the ticket. In the videogame version of Dead Snow, players would work together to fend off the relentless undead Nazi battalion that threatens their ski trip, using everything from hammers to chainsaws to fend them off in the process. The game would probably work best some form of MMORPG/survival horror hybrid, with the cunning SS Commander from the movie being the hard-to-kill boss at the end, thanks to the wave after wave of his zombie infantrymen he reawakens in order to destroy you, even after you’ve cut off your own arm to stave off zombie virus infection.
9) No Country for Old Men
The Coens won the best picture Oscar for their silver screen treatment of Cormac McCarthy’s western noir No Country for Old Men a couple of years ago, and the game based on the screen version would easily rack up some year end honors for its complete awesomeness if executed the right way. In No Country for Old Men, players would control several of the film’s main characters, including Llewelyn Moss, Tommy Lee Jones’ Ed Tom Bell, Harelson’s Carson Wells and an unlockable bonus mode featuring the unstoppable Anton Chigurh. The game would benefit greatly from taking a page out of the survival horror design playbook, forcing players to not only pay keen attention to detail around them as they investigate various crime scenes from the movie, but also minimize noise, as the slightest audible breach could prompt the cattle gun-toting Anton Chigurh to make an abrupt and unwelcome entrance (think Nemesis from Resident Evil 3) requiring the player to use massive amounts of ammo in order to escape alive similar to the main chase scene between Llewelyn and Chigurh in the film. Depending on the decisions the player makes throughout the game, Llewelyn will either escape Chigurh’s clutches with the Mexican payload in tact, or… well, you probably know the alternative.
8) American Psycho
The cult film that made Christian Bale a household name and inspired one of the greatest music video tributes the internet has ever seen might not strike one as ideal videogame fodder, but it’s hard to argue what fun terrorizing downtown 1980’s Manhattan with a chainsaw while your character’s Walkman plays ’80s power pop could be simply irresistible! The game would be best designed to include both the commonly imitated free roaming elements of the GTA series (complete with Patrick Bateman’s inner monologues and insane ramblings) and cinematic treatments of the most memorable scenes from the film, such as his brutal axe murder of “Paul Allen.” The training and subsequent home-base save points would appropriately be located in P.B.’s posh minimalist American Gardens building 11th floor apartment in addition to his downtown office and new apartment he commandeers after Allen’s slaying. The game would conclude with a police shootout and then the requisite cut scene “reveal” from the movie, but the fun wouldn’t necessarily stop there as fan friendly unlockables could offered for reaching certain plateaus during your smug terror spree boosting the replay value. Ideally, the game would also be sprinkled with quick time events and dialogue options filled with references from the movie, including attempted reservations at Dorsia, eggshell white business cards, and of course, completely out of place death threats. If we were really lucky, Christian Bale would even step in to supply some custom dialogue for the game…
Uncovering opponents’ hidden tells would be at the center of this game based on the 1998 Matt Damon film Rounders. Opening one year prior to Damon’s character Mike defeating poker champ Johnny Chan, the game’s training mode would place players in various clubs and casinos, grinding out wins and picking up tips along the way from sage Joey Knish, hopefully portrayed by John Turturro as he was in the flick. Then, once the player pilots Mike to a good enough cash surplus, the story from the film would begin to take hold, with players beating Chan before losing it all to KGB. Of course, since Matt Damon’s character is forced into delivery truck driving after the loss of his tuition money, players should also be forced to play through one hilarious driving mission before Edward Norton’s Worm is released from prison and the real action begins. With Worm’s tail on the line and the clock ticking players will have to take part in both honest and dishonest poker at various locales from the film – including the mansion and the lodge where the cop game is held – in order to rack up enough dough to bail Worm out. The final boss would still be John Malkovich’s Teddy KGB, Oreo tell in tact, but beating him would require the full use of the virtual poker skills players picked up throughout the game.
David Fincher’s dark atmospheric police drama is just begging for a videogame especially in the wake of Heavy Rain, considering how much the feel of the detective noir game reminds us of the 1995 Brad Pitt/Morgan Freeman flick. In the home console version of Se7en, players would have a chance to control both Pitt’s Detective Mills and Freeman’s Detective Somerset while investigating the deadly sin-inspired grisly murders showcased in the film. Clues from the crime scenes would allow players to track down leads not explored on screen, never knowing what horror might rest behind the door they happen to be knocking on. Action scenes would also be included, most notably the apartment complex shootout and chase that takes place when the detectives get too close to the killer before he’s able to finish his “work.” Because of the nature of the film a traditional boss battle would not be possible, but choosing the right things to say to John Doe say at the right times would be imperative in revealing the details of his final crime, leaving the player having to make the ultimate choice over his fate once the disturbing details of his seventh and final insane act have been revealed.
Developer Gearbox has been trying to get this game made for a while and since it seems to be on indefinite hold, here’s our spin. Players would have the chance to play the role of both cop and robber in Heat’s video game translation, taking control of Pacino’s Lt. Vincent Hanna to solve crimes and De Niro’s expert thief Neil McCauley to cause them. The movie isn’t nonstop action, so the game designers would have to get creative, filling in some cool subplots to make up the difference, but the centerpiece of the game would be the film’s famous bank heist, which will require precision from the player to pull off flawlessly, and, as in the film, a good set of reactionary action chops to escape from alive. In-game recreations of key scenes would be included, like the famous diner meeting between De Niro and Pacino, as would the epic shootout between the duo at the airport as gamers would take control of Pacino’s Hanna to hunt down his chief adversary, simultaneously representing the game’s final boss fight and finale.
4) Kill Bill
Even though a game based on the Kill Bill movies has been in development hell for quite some time now (that’s an early demo of it above), we insist that gaming needs more starring roles for strong heroines, and even though Uma Thurman’s iconic The Bride will almost certainly always be known as a great character specific to the world of cinema, a good game treatment of the Kill Bill movies could do a lot to widen that subgenre. The game would allow players to follow the path of the lioness in her mission to revenge-kill each member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. The DVAS encounters would count as boss fights, and the game would be broken up between “chapters” like in the movies. Lesser enemies would be thrown in the mix too, like Gogo and the Crazy 88, as would non-fighting elements like breaking free from Volume 2‘s coffin and training levels featuring kung-fu master Pai Mei. The final boss battle would naturally be against Bill himself – an enemy only defeated through an intense round of combat followed by the deadly five-point-palm as delivered through quick time event button entry and motion-controller waggling.
Considering the movie’s killer tagline – “They took his daughter. He’ll take their lives” – not getting a chance to control Liam Neeson’s enraged ex-spy as he ass-kicks and tortures his way to setting his daughter free from the grips of sociopathic human traffickers is a real shame. To throw gamers right into the action, the game’s story should begin with Neeson’s famous cold warning to his daughter’s kidnappers – then it’s off to Paris to investigate the scene of the crime before the real action/fun/violence begins. Featuring Neeson’s Bryan Mills’ arsenal of take down and interrogation moves, the game would have the potential to never cease being entertaining, as every interaction with a miscreant would give the player a new chance to creatively make them pay for their misdeeds. Per the film’s recipe, missions would also include stealth and spy elements as Mills continues the search for his daughter, such as planting a bug on a lead’s arm, going undercover as a “customer” or sneaking around in a particular location on a rescue mission. Potential weapons at the resourceful Mills’ disposal would range widely from improvised blunt objects to heavy artillery, and driving missions would also make an appearance. As in the film, there is no real final boss, as those involved in the human trafficking of Mills’ daughter vary from handler to buyer – but the final knife fight and point blank hostage release gun-work seems like a perfect alternative, especially after a level of fighting off a ton of thugs on the boat the buyers are trying to escape on.
2) District 9
Considering the degree portions of District 9 tend to remind us of videogames – Half-Life and Halo to name a few – it’s more than a little befuddling that the Academy Award nominated sci-fi actioner didn’t get its own game. In the game version of District 9, Gamers would control the film’s fish-out-of-water protagonist Wikus Van De Merwe as he transitions from his initial form of bewildered government agent to take-no-prisoners half-alien half human renegade. As Van De Merwe, players would navigate multiple environments including military bases, testing centers, and Districts 9 and 10. Throughout the game, Van De Merwe would control multiple weapons, ranging from basic human arsenal to the sweet alien guns that only he – or rather his transformed arm – can unlock. Levels featuring the vehicles and Mech technology from the movie would be an absolute must as well, as Van De Merwe’s suited-up final showdown with the ruthless bazooka toting MNU baddy from the film would act as the game’s final boss battle in its story mode.
1) The Dark Knight
This one really writes itself, which is ironic since its much less game-friendly predecessor Batman Begins actually got its own game. There’s a long, drawn-out story as to why fans of the mega-successful film never got much of anything outside of an iPhone app to play — although stars like Gary Oldman actually recorded dialogue for the game, as the above interview proves — and why they received Batman: Arkham Asylum as a consolation prize a year later, but for now, let’s talk about how great it would be to get The Dark Knight for our home consoles. As good as Arkham Asylum was compared to Batman’s typical gaming fare, we still want to play through sequences from Christopher Nolan’s visceral and unforgettable film as the Zimmer/Howard score trumpets out of our speaker system. The Dark Knight video game would ideally feature more of Batman’s adventures between the timelines of Begins and TDK, with Batman trying to catch the Joker during the bank robberies he committed before TDK‘s story begins, as well as many of the famous action sequences from the film, including the Hong Kong mission to recapture Lau, the Harvey Dent rocket launcher chase sequence and of course, the final boss battle with the clown prince of crime over the fate of those boat hostages. The game would also feature the use of Batman’s gadgets as depicted in the film, including the sticky bomb gun and various crime scene analysis tools and levels involving the Batpod and Tumbler would be mandatory, shoring up our number one most wished for movie-based game.