Our picks for the top 7 series and movies adapted from video games

Nov 16, 2021 | News, Uncategorized



Adapting popular video games to screen is becoming increasingly popular, especially for global online streaming services like Netflix.

Familiar story lines and beloved characters are frequently taken from an interactive and playable world, adjusted slightly for viewing purposes, and sold to production companies – sometimes already as a screenplay.

The original game’s players will usually jump on board to see their favourite game characters brought to life – and to see if it lives up to their expectations – generating more hype and ultimately leading to bigger profits. This cycle makes adaptations quite desirable for production companies, whether players like it or not.

However, it is almost always impossible for adaptations to live up to the original game as players knew them. With so many flops and disappointments already, players have started to loathe the idea.

These players’ reviews are meticulous and often harsh (as they should be – right?), but they also happen to be among the most credible.

Here, we have taken a combination of multiple player reviews and our own personal favourites and condensed them into a list of our top 7 game to screen adaptions. So, grab a cup of tea and your to-watch list and we’ll dive right in.


1.     Castlevania

Regarded as one of the best and most successful game to screen adaptations, we thought it deserved a prominent place at the top of our list.

This Netflix series consists of four seasons of gore-fuelled medieval fantasy, following the last survivor and vampire-hunter of the clan Belmont as he and two companions fight to save a city besieged by otherworldly demons controlled by Dracula.

However, it’s not just the detailed graphics and dark undertones that made this series successful. There is a much deeper and unexpectedly heart-warming story being told here, with an excellent focus on individual characters’ dynamics in this battle between monsters and humanity which has captivated the hearts and minds of players and viewers alike.

Although it doesn’t entirely follow the original plot of the 1990s game upon which it’s based, Castlevania III, the minor changes were only for the better in the end.

An exciting spin-off series was also announced back in June, but we won’t disclose the details here because it contains spoilers for those who haven’t yet finished the Netflix series.


2.     The Witcher

Okay, so technically we’re cheating here a little bit with this title.

This franchise actually started with the esteemed Polish novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, which later inspired the CDK-Project Red’s game trilogy. The last in the trilogy was the most awarded game back in 2015 earning 260 separate wins.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was more than just popular, and in fact was only just beaten out of the top spot this year when The Last of Us 2 narrowly nabbed the record with 261 wins.

These games were so epic that the Netflix series just had to be included in our list as an equally epic adaptation.

This fantasy drama series features an ensemble cast but mainly follows the book and game protagonist, eponymous ‘Witcher’ who slays monsters for coin, Geralt of Rivia.

The original games have translated over perfectly to the screen and feature a talented cast including video game mega-fan and Superman himself, Henry Cavill as Geralt.

Season two is heading to Netflix on December 17th but in the meanwhile the animation The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is available as a fantastic prequel to both novel and games, and is also perfect for fans of the previously mentioned Castlevania adaptation.


3.     Detective Pikachu

Ryan Reynolds stars in this fun adventure-mystery movie bringing Pikachu, a Pokémon fan-favourite, to life.

This 2019 movie, based loosely on the Nintendo 3DS game of the same name, is rooted in narrative twists and personal stakes and has delighted fans both existing and new.

Reynolds’ voice performance was nominated for multiple awards, and he perfectly tied in Pikachu’s old-time investigator demeanour as seen throughout the original game.

The story follows trainer Tim Goodman as he happens upon a special Pikachu, and the duo set off on an investigation to search Ryme City for Goodman’s father. Multiple other Pokémon characters, each with their own abilities and personalities, also make an appearance here in this unique world where humans and Pokémon live alongside each other.


4.     Tomb Raider

Most gamers will be familiar with the Lara Croft franchise from the very first PC game Tomb Raider released in 1996, to the two later movies starring Angelina Jolie.

Although these original films are worthy mentions, we feel that Alicia Vikander’s portrayal of Croft is incredibly dynamic and realistic in a time where the portrayal of women in contemporary media is imperative.

Her capacity for both vulnerability and strength were unmatched in this 2018 instalment and were greatly welcomed by this generation now that female representation is in a different position than at the time of Jolie’s 2001 instalment.

The film picks loosely from the original games, taking its key themes and characters and adapting them as needed for a 21st Century audience.

It holds a strong position as a great game-to-screen adaptation, especially for a female audience in the male-dominated video game industry.

Alicia Vikander has also agreed to return as Lara Croft in a sequel which is currently in the works!


5.     Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

This action-fantasy movie has viewers emotionally invested right from the very start and holds a special place on this list as one of my favourite movies of all time.

The talented cast, led by Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton, have made this movie into a lovable and entertaining adaptation doing justice to the entire Prince of Persia game franchise, particularly the title of the same name.

The dynamic and unique combat and action sequences pay homage to the parkour abilities and movement in-game.

Also, there are important themes of family, destiny, and deception throughout, which have brought the original games to life and engaged players on a more emotional level.

This important balance of focus between action and character, alongside beautiful cinematography, has arguably made this story among the best game to screen adaptations to date.

I’ve been holding out hope for over 10 years for a sequel, but due to highly mixed reviews and a disappointing result at the box-office in Disney’s eyes, a sequel remains very unlikely.

6.     Mortal Kombat

This R-rated movie is among the few that holds true to its original game series because of its gruesome familiarities and lore.

This adaptation puts player satisfaction before new viewers with its familiar themes of absolute carnage and many familiar characters.

A new character is introduced for the protagonist, an MMA fighter born with the dragon marking on his chest, and the story follows his training at the temple of Lord Raiden as he prepares for the fight of his life against Shang Tsung in a battle for the universe.

A sequel is very likely for this successful 2021 movie with many of the cast and crew already on board if green-lit; fans and players alike remain ready and waiting for an announcement.

So far, we know that Warner Bros. is reportedly considering the development of another instalment in the Mortal Kombat universe.


7.     Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Fans of this franchise are sure to be contented by this gripping and satisfying conclusion to the post-apocalyptic saga.

This science-fiction action movie directed by Paul W.S. Anderson marks the conclusive sixth instalment to the most commercially successful video game adaptations of all time, having collectively grossed over $1 billion worldwide.

Once again, this adaption is among the few that has prioritised players over new viewers. Although occasionally overwhelming and with so many films already behind it, this dedication to fans has undoubtedly contributed to its success and provides evidence for future adaptations that sticking firmly to the source material and what original players want is the right way to go.

The next Resident Evil movie has already been filmed and its release is set for December 3rd. This survival horror movie, starring Kaya Scodelario, serves as a reboot to the movie series and will be based on the first and second games by Capcom.


What’s next?

This list has us bursting with excitement for more, and lucky for us, many of the mentioned titles already have new instalments announced and underway.

It seems that Netflix remains the place to go for the game to screen adaptations and other similar content, with 8 adaptations already announced. This alongside other upcoming game to screen adaptations such as The Last of Us, Fallout, CyberPunk: Edgerunners have us waiting nervously. We will have to wait to see if they remain loyal to the original players and source material, or at least find an appropriate balance.

What do you think – will these upcoming game to screen adaptations make their place on our list or will they flop? What other game titles would you want to see adapted for the screen in the future? Be sure to let us know.

By Alicia Quinn

Instagram: @alicobbles

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop