Video game movies you didn't know were in development

There's no secret that video game movies are cursed. Beloved film adaptations for any game franchise are rare, but Hollywood keeps trying. You're already aware of upcoming big-budget video game adaptations like the Tomb Raider reboot, Splinter Cell, and The Last of Us, but those are just a few examples from a lengthy list of titles trying to make the jump to a theater near you. Take a look at some of the many other video game movies in various stages of development.

Borderlands

Gearbox Software's Borderlands has inspired novel and comic book adaptations—and even spinoff video game titles—but fans are still waiting to see this space western hit the big screen. Thankfully, Lionsgate is as interested in the series as everyone else, and has hired former Marvel Studios head Avi Arad to produce an R-rated Borderlands film. According to studio co-chairs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger, "The Borderlands games don't pull any punches, and we'll make the movie with the same in-your-face attitude that has made the series a blockbuster mega-franchise."

Call of Duty

With Ubisoft diving head first into adapting their biggest video game franchises by opening a dedicated film studio of their own, it was only a matter of time before Activision followed suit. In November 2016, the Call of Duty publisher announced they would be launching a movie studio with the task of building a shared universe around their famed shooter series. In order to avoid falling into the same trap Microsoft did with their Halo franchise, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said they planned on building the cinematic universe themselves so they can maintain the same level of quality the company is known for.

Detective Pikachu

Pokémon is no stranger to Hollywood. Long before Tomb Raider and Resident Evil hit the big screen, this Nintendo title had numerous screen adventures. But instead of moving forward with another traditional Pokémon movie, the famed Japanese developer is working with Legendary Entertainment to bring the Great Detective Pikachu to life on the silver screen—in live action, too. Production is scheduled for 2017, with Gravity Falls animator Alex Hirsch and Guardians of the Galaxy scribe Nicole Perlman writing the script. Goosebumps director Rob Letterman boarded the project, though it appears fans will have to wait until Letterman wraps up production on Goosebumps 2 before jumping into Detective Pikachu.

Deus Ex

In July 2012, CBS Films acquired the movie rights to Square Enix's Deus Ex franchise, and later announced plans to adapt the series' third installment, Deus Ex: Human Evolution, into a feature film. At the time, Human Evolution was the latest installment, but a fourth has since hit shelves—Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. There's no telling if the movie will continue to follow the third installment or take cues from Mankind Divided. At this point, Deus Ex fans would love to hear anything about the movie, since neither Square Enix nor CBS Films have provided an update in years.

Devil May Cry

Of all the Hollywood studios, Screen Gems has made arguably the most active push for more video game adaptations, and that's thanks in part to their billion-dollar Resident Evil franchise. With that series having now concluded, the studio is seeking a new one to take its spot, and Devil May Cry could be the answer. Screen Gems acquired the game's rights in 2011 from Capcom and planned on producing a Dante origin story in the vein of the series' latest installment, DmC: Devil May Cry. While we haven't heard anything since the initial announcement, the adaptation hasn't officially been canceled either.

The Division

Hollywood has been adapting Tom Clancy novels for years, with his Jack Ryan character enjoying a number of blockbuster adventures throughout the '90s (and being rebooted for an Amazon original series in 2017). Now it's time for adaptations of Clancy's video games, developed by Red Storm Entertainment, to hit the silver screen, beginning with The Division. The recent release takes place in New York City following a smallpox pandemic in which the Strategic Homeland Division sets out to reestablish law and order in Manhattan. Ubisoft has hired Syriana director Steven Gaghan to helm the project, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain starring in the leading roles.

Ghost Recon

When Ubisoft launched Ubisoft Motion Pictures a few years ago, they weren't messing around. They've already released their first Assassin's Creed film, and that's just the start of an ambitious production slate. In addition to The Division, the newly formed group has plans to produce a movie based on Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon games. Warner Bros. and Platinum Dunes are taking lead on the project, and have hired Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia to write the script with Michael Bay on board as director. Bay is adamant that 2017's Transformers: The Last Knight will be his final go at the Transformers series, so perhaps he'll dive into production on Ghost Recon next.

Firewatch

Firewatch is an interesting video game movie because it's a movie based on a game that itself takes inspiration from a real-life event. Wouldn't it be easier just to make a film about the real-life event? Perhaps, but that's not what's happening here. In 2016, indie studio Good Universe announced plans to adapt this Campo Santo title, which centers on Shoshone National Forest fire lookout Henry in 1989, following the Yellowstone fires of 1988. While the game does supersede a real-life fire, its story is undeniably unique. Who knows? It might just be the video game movie needed to break the curse.

Five Nights at Freddy's

Five Nights at Freddy's is a rather unique game. Despite being designed, developed, and published by one person, Scott Cawthon, it's achieved extraordinary popularity. The game received a novelization after one year, and it's already primed for a film adaptation. In 2015, Warner Bros. announced plans to adapt the point-and-click horror game for the silver screen, with Roy Lee, David Katzenberg, and Seth Grahame-Smith producing. Unfortunately, Hollywood is a tough place to get things done, which is why Cawthon had to go back to the drawing board after hitting several roadblocks. This time, however, he says he'll be a part of the entire process, right from day one.

Fruit Ninja

Smartphones gave birth to a new generation of mobile games, and part of that upheaval included Halfbrick's Fruit Ninja. With an adaptation of Angry Birds having already arrived in theaters, it was only a matter of time before other mobile game companies followed suit. Halfbrick has partnered with Tripp Vinson to produce a live-action Fruit Ninja comedy film, with New Line Cinema distributing. Not much is known about the project, but one of the best things it has going for it is the fact that J.P. Lavin and Chad Damiani are writing the script: the duo made a name for themselves with their bizarre How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack.

Gears of War

Every console carries a selection of exclusive franchises that keeps bringing consumers back to their brand. With Microsoft, those franchises are Halo, Forza, and Gears of War, the latter of which only recently joined Microsoft's in-house development slate. Along with pushing out new games, the publisher is keen on getting a Gears of War movie made, though that's something Epic Games had been trying to do for years.

In 2007, New Line Cinema acquired the franchise's theatrical rights and hired Stuart Beattie to pen the script, with Len Wiseman reportedly directing and franchise creator Cliff Bleszinski executive producing. Years passed and Wiseman ended up dropping the project, after which the studio scaled back the film's budget to below the $100 million mark.

At the launch of Gears of War 4 in 2014, the Coalition's Rod Fergusson confirmed the movie is still happening. This time, however, Universal will be making the film, with Scott Stuber and Dylan Clark producing. The fact is, a lot has changed since 2007. And now with Microsoft helming the franchise, hopefully they don't fall into the same trap that muddled chances of the Halo movie hitting theaters.

Half-Life

At this point, we may never get another Half-Life game, but that doesn't mean Valve and—more importantly—Gabe Newell are opposed to a Half-Life movie. Speaking at the DICE Summit in 2013, J.J. Abrams discussed the possibility with Newell; at the time, it seemed like things were merely in the creative stages, and as of March 2016, nothing has progressed beyond the writing phase. With Abrams' work on Star Wars completed, perhaps he'll direct the feature adaptation. It would certainly make for an interesting film in the vein of the Cloverfield series, which Abrams also produces.

Portal

At the same DICE Summit where Abrams and Newell discussed a Half-Life film, the duo also announced plans to adapt Portal. While doing press for 10 Cloverfield Lane in 2016, Abrams affirmed both Portal and Half-Life were still in development—a notion shared by Newell during a Reddit AMA in 2017. Unfortunately, with people like Abrams and Newell, both as secretive about their projects as any entertainment producers, we may never know anything about the two films beyond "they're coming" until they arrive.

Metal Gear Solid

Hideo Kojima is undeniably one of the most influential game developers of all time, due in large part to the success of his Metal Gear series. Although he's branched off on his own and left Metal Gear behind, fans still want to see what the stealth-adventure game will look like on the silver screen.

The first time we heard about a Metal Gear movie, it came from Kojima in 2006, and he predicted the adaptation would arrive sometime around 2011. At this point, the film has gone through several hurdles, settling in production at Arad Productions and Columbia Pictures. In 2015, Columbia's parent company, Sony Pictures, hired Jay Basu to write the script, though they still don't have a director. Last we heard, Sony was in talks with Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts to helm the project.

Minecraft

There arguably hasn't been a game like Minecraft since Tetris, and that's probably why Microsoft and Mojang haven't released a sequel yet. When a game is still continually raking in money from various sources, why waste time pursuing a follow-up game? Instead, they're going all-in with a theatrical adaptation. Warner Bros. is currently knee-deep in production on a Minecraft film, with Shawn Levy and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia star Rob McElhenney co-directing and Jason Fuchs penning the script. After initially targeting a 2018 release, the movie has since been delayed to May 24, 2019.

Tetris

Speaking of Tetris (the biggest game in the history of gaming), it's surprising that a Hollywood studio hasn't attempted to bring the world-renowned puzzler to life on the big screen yet. The closest we ever got is a scene or two in the Chris Columbus movie Pixels in 2015. That may change, though, with Mortal Kombat producer Larry Kasanoff partnering with newly-formed Chinese movie studio Threshold Global Studios for an $80 million adaptation of the classic game. Not much is known about film other than plans call for an "epic sci-fi thriller"—and they're hoping it'll be the first installment in a Tetris trilogy.

Monster Hunter

It's not uncommon for a Japanese-developed game to gain traction in Western countries, and Monster Hunter is a fine example of this phenomenon in action. Due to the game's increasing popularity, Capcom is reteaming with Resident Evil helmer Paul W.S. Anderson to make a Monster Hunter film adaptation. Excited about franchise possibilities, Anderson equated the world Capcom has created with Monster Hunter to that of Marvel and Star Wars.

He said his film will be "about a normal American who gets dragged into this parallel world … Then eventually the parallel world ends up coming to our world. So you have the creatures from the Monster Hunter world invading our world." Monster Hunter doesn't yet have a release date, but with Anderson having concluded his Resident Evil series, it would seem that this might be one of his next projects.

Rampage

While the majority of video game movies arriving in the near future are adaptations of established franchises, Warner Bros. is taking a risk by adapting an arcade game from the '80s for the big screen with Rampage. Though a huge arcade hit during its era, Rampage hasn't seen a console port in over a decade. Still, the studio is confident enough to hire Dwayne Johnson to star, with Brad Peyton directing. Peyton has said they're looking to the game for inspiration, and emphasized that the film is "going to be a lot more emotional, a lot scarier and a lot more real" than people expect.

Uncharted

Naughty Dog has been widely lauded for developing cinematic and character-driven games such as The Last of Us and the Uncharted series, the latter of which Sony Pictures has been trying to adapt into a film for at least a decade. In 2009, the developers confirmed plans for an Uncharted movie in partnership with Arad Productions. The project has hit several roadblocks, but in 2016, the studio announced Shawn Levy would be directing the film based on a script by Joe Carnahan, who completed his draft in January 2017. If things go according to plan, Uncharted will enter production sometime in spring 2017.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sure, the Flash and Quicksilver are cool and all, but is there anything better than a hedgehog running at supersonic speeds? In June 2014, Sony Pictures announced a joint venture with Marza Animation Planet to produce a Sonic the Hedgehog film, with Neal Moritz producing and Upright Citizens Brigade's Evan Susser and Van Robichaux writing the script. Not much is known about the film, except that it'll be an animated/live-action hybrid. Even though Sonic is already a world-renowned character, Columbia Pictures hopes to expand the property's fanbase. "We're looking to capture everything that generations of fans know and love about Sonic while also growing his audience wider than ever before," said Columbia's head of production Hannah Minghella.