From a Game to a Movie: Our Top

Shari Lynn Kramer


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Do you think it is possible to make a really good film based on a popular video game? There are a lot of examples which prove both case scenarios. Remember Street Fighter movie that came out in 1994? It is very nice, indeed. While Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, released in 2009, was an awful failure. It is difficult to understand the reason why as most games are well-developed with a captivating plot and vivid characters — all that seems like a solid foundation for a picture play. We think that the reason is not the fact that a game is transferred into a film, it's more about film production troubles: filmmaker skills, budget, and other factors.

You can judge whether such an enterprise is successful yourself following our selection of movies made after games. We are going to remind you of the titles which were available before and inform you of the upcoming releases.

Our list

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. game screenshot

If we do not want to move in a circle, we should change our route, but sometimes it is useful to repeat the way and use all skipped opportunities to improve the result and experience in general. Here we have a real failure – 1993's Super Mario Bros. It is considered to be a crap regardless of the steady popularity of the game series themselves. Still, a new attempt is in the making. The remake is announced to be released in 2022. We'll see whether the producer will be able to learn from previous mistakes.

The first film has little in common with a real film's development. They say that this time the approach will change. We expect an animated feature film, which will be developed with the participation of Nintendo, meaning Shigeru Miyamoto is personally involved deeply in development. And that allows us to predict that the film plot will not be close to that of the game, taking into account his opinion on the first movie.

Rainbow Six

Rainbow Six game screenshot

This game has been transferred into a movie consisting of two parts technically based on the series Without Remorse and Rainbow Six. Here you will meet such an actor as Michael B. Jordan in the role of Navy Seal John Clark, in the past, the head of the Rainbow group. We believe that this two-film deal will be struck. It is a pity that we hardly see Without Remorse until late 2020 or even early 2021 and Rainbow Six will come out about a year later. There is no official information, that is why those dates are pure assumptions.


Minecraft game screenshot

This is the game of all time, we would say. It is natural that Minecraft movie is a perfect perspective. The idea has been up in the air since 2012. First, Mojang could not find the right concept. In February of 2014, they claimed that negotiations over a movie deal with Warner Bros were in progress. There have not been any details as to the result until now. The reason looks like Microsoft's acquisition of Mojang prevented plans from performing. Still, the effort can be regarded as a start.

Nowadays, the script has been already finished, and the release is planned on March 2022. We have no information about stars and genre (animated or live-action), but the key idea is that Elder Dragon is performing his mission to destroy the world, and a key character must stop it.

Monster Hunter

Monster Hunter game screenshot

You should remember Resident Evil movies which were coming out starting from 2002 and until 2016. Another example is the first Mortal Kombat movie. And of course, you should know Alien vs. Predator. All those films are directed by Paul W.S.Anderson. Now he plans a Monster Hunter movie with the premier in September 2020. In it we will see Milla Jovovich starring as Lt. Artemis. She is the head of a team of United Nations commandos with the mission to hunt gigantic monsters and prevent them from using a portal in order to get to the human world. Also, you will see Tony Jaa and Ron Perlman here. All monsters will be taken from the game without any additional characters.

Doom: Annihilation

Doom game screenshot

Though in 2005 Doom this film was criticized and considered by experts as not worth watching, still this game attracts producers and Universal seems to start a new project based on this title. This is the reboot of the series coming in 2019. Doom Annihilation should be really good going straight-to-DVD. Among stars, there is Amy Manson as the main character. And that is a reason for criticisms because Doom is going to be too feminist-friendly, and not to everybody's liking. They say that the film looks like a YouTube video even if with a high budget. We'll be able to judge in the autumn of 2019. But be ready for changes because the official release date hasn't been announced yet.

Dragon's Lair

Dragon's Lair game screenshot

This is a classic game coming out as a result of the collaboration of Rick Dyer and Don Bluth being the easy-to-die-in series with the fast development of events. In the 1980s, they tried to make a movie based on this game. In 2015 Bluth and Gary Goldman as a producer took another try and failed. Only in 2016, they got the funds for an animated prototype. The release date is planned in May 2020. We are waiting for a prequel with a story from the origin where we are going to know the way Dirk the Daring and Princess Penelope met.

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs game screenshot

The work at the film based on Sleeping Dogs game started in 2012, and since that time a lot of things have changed, including the bankruptcy of the company and new plans as to the movie. Donnie Yen is invited to play as detective Wei Shen. He proved on social media that the film was in production in 2018, but still there is no official information about the release date. There is only fresh news that a new screenwriter has joined filming. He was involved in Disney's live-action Mulan remake before.

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat game screenshot

Mortal Kombat is a game with numerous releases, both good and bad. But still, it is popular and in demand. We remember the first Mortal Kombat film coming out in 1997. Its founders remember that moment as the worst in the history of the franchise. But already in 2011, the miniseries received good reviews. The plans as to a new feature-length film appeared. The project faced difficulties like the departure of Kevin Tancharoen in 2013, but regardless of that obstacle in 2016 work on the film was continued with a new director, Simon McQuoid. They hired Greg Russo to create the script which was finished in winter of 2019. The release is expected in March 2021. As to starring, there are rumors only. They say that Ryan Reynolds is invited for the role of Johnny Cage while Jean-Claude Van Damme's daughter will play Mileena. The cast sparks interest. We'll see.

Dynasty Warriors

Dynasty Warriors game screenshot

There were long television series based on this game since 1994. If you remember, we were suggested about 200 episodes. This is quite a lot! Add dozens of animated versions. In 2019 we expect a new debut of Dynasty Warriors movie in China. It will hardly be based on those long Dynasty Warriors series. We believe the weapons, costumes, and fighting styles will be different. Chinese actors Wang Kai and Louis Koo are involved. It looks like massive CGI post-production. There is rather a lot of information, but still we have no exact release date announced.

Video Games vs. Movies

Taking into account all the above mentioned, we cannot say for sure that video game movies are successful without a doubt. There are failures, but attempts continue, and one day they will be generally speaking good we hope. Perhaps as soon as more film directors, grown up playing games, appear, they can make solid films based on the material they know and love.

Still, these two genres cannot be correlated because a film and its television version are not able to provide that interactivity and dimension we like most in gaming. The key sense of gaming is interactivity delivered by the great titles of high quality. The movie cannot reach that potential even with the gifted players and best filming.

These are completely different activities which should not be compared. Shooting a film based on the game makes sense only if there is a need to promote it, to support the characters, to involve more players. But the game is always about choices of the player, and this element cannot be replaced or repeated.

Be sure that whether the above films are bad or good, movies will continue to be released. This is a part of advertisement when the virtual world with all its characters and ideas gets to life on the big screen. It should not be a complete travesty. In this case, movies of this kind are useful for gaming. Of course, we can speak about art. Indeed, there are rather popular and highly rated works. And those titles above prove their advancement. Haven't you heard about them?