10 Video Game Franchises with the Potential to Make Thrilling Live-Action TV Shows

Summary

  • Video game franchises are experiencing greater success in live-action TV adaptations as opposed to films, as evidenced by The Last of Us and Fallout.
  • The episodic format of TV allows for more successful adaptation of long-running video games like Psychonauts and Animal Crossing compared to condensing them into movies.
  • Franchises like Kingdom Hearts and Cyberpunk 2077 would benefit from live-action TV adaptations to address storytelling flaws and explore complex themes.


Some renowned video games would be fantastic material for live-action television series. The triumph of shows like HBO’s The Last of Us and the anticipation surrounding titles such as Amazon Studios’s Fallout are showing that many video game franchises can be transformed into live-action TV shows. For years, gamers have been pushing for Hollywood to properly adapt some of the medium’s most popular titles. Still, time and time again, live-action Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter, and Doom have resulted in dreadful films.

Nevertheless, the transition from movies to TV adaptations of games has led to better projects reaching viewers’ screens, making a strong case that perhaps the serialized or even episodic format is much better suited for live-action video game adaptations than movies. TV’s structure of elongating stories lends itself better to adapting long-running video games than the compression of multiple titles into single movies or trilogies. With The Last of Us‘ 2023 Emmys win and more TV adaptations on the way, there are numerous video games that could benefit from live-action TV adaptations.


10 Psychonauts

A TV series based on Psychonauts could educate children in unique ways about science.

Razputin Aquato poses for Psychonauts' cover art.

Psychonauts is a 2005 video game that follows Razputin Aquato, a young psychic with extraordinary abilities based on telepathy, telekinesis, etc., and his quest to free the minds of young children whose brains are being stolen at a camp for gifted children. Its engaging gameplay and complex puzzles, unique art direction, and well-written characters and story could work well in a TV format. A show could inspire children to develop a vested interest in science while also delivering compelling drama for older audiences. Furthermore, the success of a Psychonauts TV series could lead to an adaptation of Psychonauts 2.


9 Animal Crossing

Adapted to live-action, Animal Crossing could teach children valuable life skills.

The 2020 logo for Animal Crossing.

Set in a world of anthropomorphic beings, Animal Crossing has players assume the role of an unnamed human protagonist who partakes in activities such as purchasing a house, tending to a garden, and undertaking various tasks to pay off the mortgage on the house. A live-action Animal Crossing TV show aimed at children could effectively instill values such as financial responsibility, the importance of developing a strong work ethic, and the significance of coexisting with individuals from diverse backgrounds. This could be done in an educational yet entertaining manner.

8 The Horizon series

A Horizon adaptation could present audiences with an engaging female lead.

Aloy draws her bow with Thunderjaw in the background in Horizon Zero Dawn.

Released in 2017, Horizon Zero Dawn follows a fearless warrior named Aloy who embarks on a quest to uncover the mystery surrounding her origins in a post-apocalyptic United States while battling the remarkable machines based on prehistoric creatures. Its well-regarded approach to the open-world genre, enthralling story, and messaging about technology’s influence on humanity makes it a suitable material for a televised format. Plus, with Amazon Prime currently developing a Horizon TV show, viewers can expect a satisfying continuation of the beloved series.

7 Kingdom Hearts

A proper Kingdom Hearts TV series could partially rectify Disney’s lackluster live-action movies.

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