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Video Game TV Shows You Didn't Realize Were Being Made

For a very long time, movie adaptations of video games were thought to be cursed. Those like Super Mario Bros., Doom, and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li only made players groan as some of the most popular games ever created had all the heart and fun taken out of them. Luckily, those days seem to be long gone. More recent adaptations like Sonic The Hedgehog and Pokémon: Detective Pikachu have been warmly received by fans and critics alike — and there are plenty more video game movies on the way.

But it isn't just feature film video game adaptations that are getting all the love. TV shows have grown significantly in quality over the past decade, especially with the rise of various streaming platforms. HBO has proven this with Game of Thrones, which rivaled any big fantasy movie in terms of budget. Meanwhile, Disney has shown through The Mandalorian and WandaVision that it can produce TV shows with the same level of quality as their cinematic counterparts.

Now, video games are set to be the next big focus for TV adaptations. Netflix's Castlevania and The Witcher have been incredibly successful. Additionally, HBO's upcoming The Last of Us has some incredibly talented names attached. It may surprise you to learn that there are many more in development that may be flying under the radar.

Halo

The TV adaptation for Halo has been in development longer than most others, and therefore has had a pretty bumpy road. Initially, Halo was planned as a movie before the project fell apart and became 2009's District 9. Then, Microsoft announced plans to try a TV adaptation way back in 2013. Steven Spielberg signed on to executive produce the project, which was meant to have aired on Xbox Live.

Not much would be heard about the project over the next several years. In 2014, Showtime came aboard to produce alongside Spielberg's Amblin Television, but no substantial news about the series was revealed until 2018, when Showtime officially ordered a ten-episode-long first season. Rupert Wyatt, director of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, signed on to direct some of the episodes and Kyle Killen came on to write, executive produce, and act as showrunner. A year later, Pablo Schreiber was cast as Master Chief.

Halo hit another snag when COVID-19 caused production to shut down in early 2020, when the season was reportedly 55-60% finished with filming. After the crew was able to get back to work, news broke that the show would air exclusively on Paramount+ in 2022.

The Cuphead Show!

Cuphead turned heads when it released in 2017, thanks to an art style that paid homage to classic cartoons and a surprisingly high difficulty rate. For any players turned off by how tough the game was, or for those simply craving the return of 1930s-style animation, Netflix has something in development sure to make them happy.

In July 2019, Netflix announced it was adapting Cuphead into The Cuphead Show! with King Features Syndicate, the company known for distributing comic strips and merchandise of classic characters like Betty Boop, Popeye, and Felix the Cat

The Cuphead Show! will follow the somewhat reckless Cuphead as he drags his cautious brother, Mugman, through misadventures in their home, the Inkwell Isles. Accomplished voice actors Tru Valentino (Netflix's Fast & Furious Spy Racers) and Frank Todaro (Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy) will voice Cuphead and Mugman respectively.

During the 2020 Annecy Festival, fans were given a first look at the show, and it looks just as charming as its source material. The Cuphead Show! is expected to release in 2021.

Devil May Cry

Netflix's Castlevania has been praised for being not only a great video game adaptation, but a great anime series outright. One of the reasons the show has been so successful is executive producer Adi Shankar. Shankar is clearly well-versed in geek culture, additionally having produced several high-quality shorts based on characters like The Punisher and Power Rangers. And it seems he shows no signs of slowing down.

In 2018, Shankar revealed to IGN that he is working on an animated series adaptation of Capcom's beloved action franchise, Devil May Cry. Shankar says he actually acquired the rights himself so that he could make the show the way he wanted. While there was a 12-episode anime series for Devil May Cry released in 2007, Shankar confirmed that this new project will be its own thing, dropping another nugget to get fans excited for the new series. He stated it will be part of a "bootleg multiverse" with Castlevania. How the two shows will connect remains to be seen — as does any other detail, since Shankar hasn't offered any updates since the show's announcement.

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy is one of gaming's most renowned RPG franchises and has been since its debut on the NES in 1987. Therefore, the series has been the subject of many adaptations over the years. These include a 2001 feature directed by series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, which was only tangentially related to the series, and a 2017 Netflix miniseries called Final Fantasy 14: Dad of Lightwhich followed a son's attempt to connect with his father through the MMORPG.

Final Fantasy 14 is getting another TV show, though one fairly different from Dad of Light. Sony announced a live-action series adaptation in June 2019, which will be made through a partnership with series publisher/developer Square Enix and Hivemind Entertainment, a production company that also worked on Netflix's The Witcher. The series will reportedly focus on an original story set in FF 14's Eorzea, though not much else is known. The last update came in December 2019 from screenwriter Jake Thornton, who stated the scriptwriting process was complete and that Sony TV was looking for directors.

Brothers In Arms

While the feature adaptation of Gearbox's Borderlands continues to dominate conversation with frequent casting updates, it's important to remember that it isn't the only adaptation in development that's based on one of Gearbox's IPs. In April 2020, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that a Brothers in Arms TV series is in development. First premiering in 2005 with Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30, the FPS games chronicle previously classified real-life events surrounding WWII, something that the show aims to do as well. 

When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford expressed his excitement, believing that a TV show will let them "explore this subject matter and the effect on the relationships and people in broader ways." 

The first season of the show will follow real-life operation Exercise Tiger, a sort-of rehearsal for D-Day that unfortunately led to the deaths of nearly 800 U.S. troops. It should be interesting to see a video game adaptation blended with little-known parts of history. With Scott Rosenbaum (The Shield, Chuck) attached as showrunner, fans can expect a tense historical drama.

The Witcher: Blood Origin

While Netflix's The Witcher is more an adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski's novels, the reputation of CD Projekt Red's game adaptations make it impossible to separate them. The first season brought in extremely high viewership numbers for the streamer due to Henry Cavill's star power and the show's intense mythology. But the show's second season won't be alone when it comes to expanding Geralt's world.

In July 2020, Netflix announced The Witcher: Blood Origin, a live-action prequel series that will take place 1,200 years before Geralt's adventures. It will reportedly tell the story of the very first Witcher as well as the moment that brought the worlds of monsters, elves, and men together as one. 

In January, Jodie Turner-Smith (Queen & Slim) signed on to play the show's lead, a warrior named Éile. And in March, Game of Thrones and Vikings alum Laurence O'Fuarain signed on as the second lead, Fjall. Declan De Barra (The Originals) is attached as executive producer and showrunner while the original show's showrunner, Lauren Schmidt, joins him in executive producing. There's no word on when Blood Origin will debut on Netflix.

Fallout

Fallout, a series of games about surviving in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland, is a prime pick for TV dramatization. Fans of the games will be delighted to hear that an adaptation is in the works at Amazon, and with some exciting creatives attached to boot.

Amazon announced it had acquired the rights to Fallout in July 2020. Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, the duo behind HBO's completely crazy Westworld, are attached as showrunners and executive producers via Kilter Films. The Fallout adaptation is part of an overall deal the two agreed upon with Amazon in 2019. Bethesda's Todd Howard and James Altman are also attached to executive produce.

Not much else is known about the project as of yet, including plot details. But Amazon, Nolan, and Joy did agree to a series commitment penalty. If Amazon likes the script, Fallout will skip the pilot stage and move straight to series. If not, all those involved will be paid as if it had become a full series.

Splinter Cell

Fans of Ubisoft's stealth-action Splinter Cell series have sadly had to go without a new sequel since 2013's Blacklist. But at least super spy Sam Fisher isn't staying completely silent. In July 2020, Netflix and Ubisoft announced a partnership to produce an anime series adaptation of the games. Derek Kolstad, writer of the John Wick franchise and an upcoming film adaptation of Just Cause, is attached to write and executive produce the show.

The Splinter Cell series has reportedly received a 2-season, 16-episode order at Netflix. Kolstad gave an update on the project via Collider in March, stating that the first season, at 8 episodes long, had been greenlit. Although Kolstad planned on a contained 16-episode storyline, he said he'd be open to continuing. He also stated that the episodes would be 20-30 minutes each and teased that an announcement as to which animation studio would be working on the project would be coming from Netflix soon. However, according to him, the project won't be complete for another 18 months – 2 years.

Assassin's Creed

Although the 2016 film adaptation failed to impress, Ubisoft hasn't given up on adapting its historically rich action-adventure franchise. In October 2020, Ubisoft announced a partnership with Netflix that will produce a live-action TV show based on Assassin's Creed. However, this adaptation will be the first of many. 

The deal between Netflix and Ubisoft may begin with a "genre-bending live-action epic," but it will also include animated and anime adaptations. With a plethora of comics, novels, and more than a dozen games and spin-offs to draw from, this prospective partnership could help further Assassin's Creed in becoming one of the biggest modern multimedia franchises.

However, it's way too early to tell how these shows will turn out. As the live-action series is very early in development, no showrunner, writers, or cast members are attached. And since most games in the series don't take place during the same time period, it's also hard to determine on which era this show will focus. Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik of Ubisoft Film & Television are attached to executive produce.

Resident Evil

Not to be confused with the upcoming film reboot set to come out later this year, Netflix is currently developing a live-action series based on Capcom's survival horror franchise, Resident Evil. However, while the movie seems to be sticking close to the story of the first two games, Netflix's show will tell a new story. 

The Netflix adaptation will focus on Jade and Billie Wesker, daughters of series antagonist Albert Wesker. It will also be set across two timelines, the first of which will see the teen sisters move to their new home of Raccoon City and discover their father's terrifying secrets. The second timeline will focus on thirty-year-old Jane trying to survive in a world ravaged by humans and animals infected by the T-Virus.

No cast members are attached yet, but Andrew Dabb, longtime writer and producer of Supernatural, is writing the series while Bronwen Hughes (13 Reasons Why, Breaking Bad) will direct the first two episodes. It's also being produced by Constantin Film, the same studio behind the Milla Jovovich-led movies, and Netflix has already greenlit 8 hour-long episodes.

Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness

If all goes according to plan, Resident Evil fans will have a plethora of content to consume in the near future. In addition to a new game and the movie reboot, Netflix is doubling down on Capcom's series. But unlike the live-action series focusing on the Wesker family, the other adaptation is expected to come out in 2021.

Netflix announced Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, a CG anime series, and revealed a teaser trailer in September 2020. The show looks to be something of a spiritual successor to 2017's feature Resident Evil: Vendettaas it will also utilize full 3DCG animation and bring back producer Kei Miyamoto. Capcom's Hiroyuki Kobayashi, producer on multiple Resident Evil games, will produce and supervise the anime's production. TMS Entertainment, a legendary anime studio known for Akira, Hamtaro, and Lupin III, among others, is also working on the series.

Despite the teaser trailer, plot details on Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness are still pretty light. However, series protagonists Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield will be the stars of the anime. With those characters along for the ride, as well as all the terror Capcom's franchise is known for, longtime fans will likely be pleased.

Twisted Metal

News of a Twisted Metal TV adaptation began to circulate in 2019 when Sony confirmed its plans to create one during a presentation for investors. Around the same time, PlayStation Productions was formed to create film and TV adaptations of Sony's popular franchises. Since that company's inception, the Uncharted movie has finally finished filmingThe Last of Us series has taken significant steps forward, and a film adaptation of Ghost of Tsushima was announced. But the Twisted Metal show remained quiet until February 2021.

According to Variety, the live-action series comes from Cobra Kai writer and producer Michael Jonathan Smith, who will write and executive produce the series. The series' premise comes from an original idea by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the writing team behind Deadpool and Zombieland, who will also executive produce. 

Twisted Metal will follow an outsider who must cross a post-apocalyptic wasteland and deliver a package to earn his chance at a better life. But fans of the games will know that wasteland will be filled with all kinds of deranged characters, including the iconic ice cream truck-driving clown of nightmares, Needles Kane, a.k.a. Sweet Tooth.

Tomb Raider

Lara Croft is one of the most recognizable characters in video games. The Tomb Raider protagonist been a leading lady since her game debut in 1996 and star of two different film franchises, the second of which has a sequel currently in development. Both the Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander-led movies have sought to adapt the characters and stories of the video game series, but a separate, recently-announced project will continue the games' timeline.

In January 2021, it was revealed that Netflix is working with Legendary Entertainment to produce an anime series based on Tomb Raider. dj2 Entertainment, which helped produce the Sonic The Hedgehog movie, is executive producing the Tomb Raider series with Tasha Huo, a member of the Witcher: Blood Origin writing team, set to write and executive produce. 

Instead of adapting any stories from the games, this anime will continue Lara's story from Crystal Dynamics' trilogy of games, which ended with 2018's Shadow of the Tomb Raider. No word yet on whether or not Camilla Luddington, who played Lara in the game trilogy, will voice her here.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

Despite Cyberpunk 2077's mishandled and costly launch, there are still plenty of reasons to get excited about its tie-in anime. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners was announced by CD Projekt Red in June 2020, before the world knew the unfortunate fate of the studio's upcoming game. Across 10 episodes, the series will tell a stand-alone story, which follows a kid trying to survive on the streets of his crime-ridden, cybernetically-enhanced city by becoming a type of mercenary outlaw called an edgerunner.

Coming sometime in 2022, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners has a lot of talent behind it. In addition to Netflix and CD Projekt Red, the Japan-based Studio Trigger is working on the series. Hiroyuki Imaishi, known for his work on Kill la Kill and Promare, is directing the series. Akira Yamaoka, composer for many entries in Konami's Silent Hill franchise, is composing the show's soundtrack. 

CD Projekt Red is currently working to fix the many problems found in its game. And hopefully by the time Edgerunners releases, both the game and the series will compliment each other well.

Frogger

The majority of upcoming video game TV adaptations are naturally fictional, but Frogger is charting its own course. And given the fact that there isn't much story to the classic arcade game or its sequels, it's actually a good thing Konami is going a different route. In February, news broke that Konami is adapting Frogger into a reality competition series for NBC's streaming service, Peacock. The execs over at Peacock were apparently so impressed with the idea that they went ahead and greenlit the project for a 13-episode run.

In the show, contestants will compete in 12 obstacle courses themed around Frogger and other classic games, including courses where they have to dodge traffic and leaping over alligators. Additionally, some less-physical courses will test their problem-solving skills. 

Not much else is known about Peacock's Frogger, like who the host will be or when it's expected to air. However, the show is currently accepting applications for possible contestants.