All the Video Game Adaptations Currently in the Works

7:00 AM 5/9/2019

by Trilby Beresford

From Sonic to Pikachu to Lara Croft, here's everything heading to the big (and small) screen from the world of gaming.

From left: 'The Angry Birds Movie 2,' 'Pokémon Detective Pikachu,' 'Halo,' 'Tomb Raider 2'
From left: 'The Angry Birds Movie 2,' 'Pokémon Detective Pikachu,' 'Halo,' 'Tomb Raider 2'
Courtesy of Sony Pictures; Courtesy of Warner Bros.(2); Getty Images

Among the sea of video game adaptations that have released in the last few decades, some are totally watchable and whimsically fun (Mortal Kombat, The Angry Birds Movie) while plenty of others are questionable at best (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Super Mario Bros.), so the pressure is raging hot for the next crop of game re-imaginings set to debut on the big and small screen. 

Given how tricky it can be to keep track of the immeasurable amount of content being produced, The Hollywood Reporter has compiled this handy list of upcoming video game adaptations. Some already have a scheduled release date, while others are still floating in development as big-name stars attach to the project. 

Leading with Pokémon Detective Pikachu, which unleashes Friday, the list includes a robust menu of animation, hardcore action, fantasy and adventure that ensures every game fan will be offered an opportunity to find their next cinematic obsession. 

  • 'Detective Pikachu'

    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

    Based on the Nintendo 3DS adventure game, a spinoff from the Pokémon franchise, Detective Pikachu follows the fictional creature and amateur detective as it embarks on a wild ride to uncover the mystery of a private eye who went missing. Ultimately, Pikachu is tasked with saving the Pokémon universe from mounting threats.

    The film will feature a slew of familiar Pokémon characters living alongside humans in a hyper-realistic, brightly colored modern metropolis. 

    Directed by Rob Letterman (Monsters vs. Aliens, Goosebumps) and written by Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Letterman and Derek Connolly, the cast consists of Ryan Reynolds, Suki Waterhouse, Kathryn Newton, Justice Smith and Bill Nighy. 

    Pokemon was first created by Satoshi Tahiri in 1995, with the universe rapidly expanding into a franchise of video games for the Game Boy console, TV shows, comic books and trading cards that achieved phenomenal worldwide popularity.

    The Warner Bros. title opens Friday, and a sequel has already been announced, with Oren Uziel penning the script.


  • 'The Angry Birds Movie 2'

    Courtesy of Sony Pictures

    Created by the Finnish company Rovio Entertainment in 2009, Angry Birds was initiated as a series of single-player puzzle and strategy games for iOs and Android platforms. Gameplay involves players launching a slingshot at a group of hungry pigs who are attempting to retrieve the eggs of the birds — seriously simple, yet so more-ish. 

    The game has long been praised by critics and proven popular based on the tens of millions of purchases through the iOs App Store.

    The Angry Birds Movie, directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly, was released in 2016 and grossed over $352 million worldwide.

    The sequel, The Angry Birds Movie 2, in which the stakes are raised in the conflict between birds and pigs, is helmed by Thurop Van Orman and written by Pete Ackerman and Jason Sudeikis. Led by Peter Dinklage, the cast includes Dove Cameron, Sudeikis, Sterling K. Brown, Pete Davidson, Awkwafina and Bill Hader.

    The animated adventure is set to bow Aug. 16.


  • 'Sonic the Hedgehog'

    Courtesy of Paramount

    Finally, the anthropomorphic blue hedgehog that boasts supersonic speed is the star of his own slick theatrical feature from Paramount Pictures.

    Based on the Sega video game franchise created by Yuji Naka, Naoto Ohshima and Hirokazu Yasuhara in 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog stars Jim Carrey as the evil Dr. Ivo Robotnik, James Marsden as police officer Tom Wachowski and Ben Schwartz in the role of the iconic hedgehog.

    The film is directed by first-time feature filmmaker Jeff Fowler, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2004 for his animated short film Gopher Broke.

    Sonic the Hedgehog follows Wachowski as he attempts to help Sonic escape from the government who is looking to capture him.

    Over the years, the Sonic franchise has expanded into animated TV series, short films, comic books and manga, a signal to the world that blue hedgehogs definitely have star power.

    The animated action adventure is set for release Nov. 8.

  • 'Tomb Raider 2'

    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

    Among the most well-known video game figures on this list, at least in the mainstream arena, is the incredibly athletic, fiercely independent young archaeologist Lara Croft. The character was created by Toby Gard in 1995 and since then has appeared in numerous Tomb Raider video games and comic books that require her to survive in harsh environments and solve mysterious puzzles before figuring out the secrets of her family.

    In 2001, Angelina Jolie played Croft in Simon West's film adaptation, starring opposite her father Jon Voight. This was followed by Alicia Vikander taking over the role in Roar Uthaug's 2018 version — penned by Geneva Robertson-Dworet who went on to write Captain Marvel — which earned over $270 million at the global box office.

    The sequel is being written by Free Fire's Amy Jump. A release date has not been set nor is a director attached. 

  • 'Uncharted'

    Courtesy of Naughty Dog; Theo Wargo/Getty Images

    Alongside the Uncharted screen adaptation in development, a viral fan film by Norwegian filmmaker Martin Sofiedal made an impact on the gaming community as the director gained enough attention that he was invited to tour the Naughty Dog premises in Los Angeles. 

    Naughty Dog's shooter adventure game Uncharted, created at the studio by Amy Hennig, has been floating a theatrical version for many years with various different creatives on board including Seth Gordon and then Shawn Levy, who eventually left the project to direct Free Guy. Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lanehas now signed on, with Spider-Man star Tom Holland set to topline as Nathan Drake opposite Bryan Cranston. The screenplay from Joe Carnahan and Rafe Judkins is said to take place before the events of the video game.

    Nathan Drake, the game's lead character, has some die-hard fans, perhaps because he is depicted as a likable everyman type who understands the sheer absurdity of each death-defying adventure he accepts. 

    There is currently no release date for the movie.

  • 'The Division'

    Courtesy of Ubisoft

    Fresh off the success of Deadpool 2, David Leitch is on board to direct a big-screen adaptation of Ubisoft's The Division, replacing Stephen Gaghan. Leitch is a former stuntman who doubled Brad Pitt on five movies including Fight Club and Ocean's 11

    Similar to the game, which is set in the aftermath of a viral smallpox pandemic, the film is set in the near future, when a pandemic virus has erupted in New York City on Black Friday. The strategic Homeland Division is deployed to restore peace to society while government scientists work on a cure. 

    Jessica Chastain and Jake Gyllenhaal are set to star. There is currently no release date for the project. 

    The latest title in the video game series was Tom Clancy's The Division 2, which launched in March. 

  • 'Call of Duty'

    First-person shooter title Call of Duty entered the world in the early 2000s and has been a keeper in the video game collections of gamers looking for a hardcore action experience in the setting of World War II, or the future, or space, or the Cold War.

    In 2018, Black Ops 4 pulled in over $500 million in its first three days of release; by year's end it had hit the $1 billion mark, which suggests there would be an eager audience for a movie version. 

    Sicario 2 director Stefano Sollima is set to helm the film adaptation for Activision Blizzard Studios alongside writer Kieran Fitzgerald (Snowden), though details about the project remain under wraps. 

    In a 2018 interview with Polygon, Sollima said that he has played numerous Call of Duty games in the franchise and also plays with his kids. He also teased his approach to the material, calling it "not a war movie, but a soldier movie."

  • 'Metal Gear Solid'

    Courtesy of Konami

    "An advanced tank is stolen by a terrorist group and an elite solider, Solid Snake, is dispatched to retrieve it."

    That is the synopsis provided for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid film adaptation from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer, Kong: Skull Island), though there are few other details about the project currently available. 

    In a recent roundtable discussion with IGN, Oscar Isaac was asked what video game adaptation he would like to star in and mentioned the franchise. Vogt-Roberts responded by tweeting, "To everyone asking how I feel about Oscar Isaac saying he wants to be Solid Snake. The full process required to cast an icon hasn’t even started, but.. The ball’s in Oscar’s court."

    Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid has been one of the most popular PlayStation games since its debut in 1998, a follow-up to the writer and director's earlier creation, Metal Gear. 

  • 'Halo'

    Getty Images for Halo by Xbox 360

    And now for something on the small screen.

    Pablo Schreiber (Orange Is the New Black) has been cast as Spartan Master Chief in the Showtime TV series adaptation of the first-person shooter Xbox franchise Halo. Master Chief is a genetically enhanced super soldier clad in green armor and a helmet in the games, and it is unclear whether Schreiber will take on this anonymity or show his face in the lead role. 

    Casting information has trickled out slowly, with the only other definite being Australian actress Yerin Ha, who will play a new character in the Halo universe. The plot of the series will follow the storyline of the game, which portrays a 26th century conflict between humanity and an alien race known as the Covenant. 

    Steven Kane (American Dad!, The Last Ship) and Kyle Killen (Awake) will serve as showrunners on the series, which is due to begin production in Budapest, Hungary, this fall. There is no word on a release date. 

  • 'The Witcher'

    Courtesy of CD Projekt Red

    Armed with Henry Cavill in the lead role, Netflix is taking on a TV series adaptation of The Witcher, which first existed as a fantasy novel series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski and then expanded into a series of video games from Polish studio CD Projekt Red. 

    According to the game's website, the story is set in a harsh fantasy world where the abstract ideas of "good" and "evil" don't exist. Instead, they are replaced with a choice between two evils and the protagonist must choose the path that he regards as the lesser evil of the two. 

    Cavill will play Geralt, described as a solitary monster hunter who struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts, in the eight-episode series from creator Lauren Schmidt Hissrich (The West Wing, Daredevil). The cast also includes Lars Mikkelsen (House of Cards), Australian actor Eamon Farren (Twin Peaks) and Millie Brady (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). 

    The series is set to air in late 2019. 

  • 'Skull & Bones'


    The unique thing about Skull and Bones is that the source material it is based on, a pirate adventure game from Ubisoft, has not yet been released. Yet Ubisoft is charging forward in its push to develop film and TV, having teamed with Atlas Entertainment (Dirty John) for the TV series adaptation. 

    Described as a live-action, female-driven pirate drama set during the golden age of piracy, the show is written and executive produced by Amanda Segel (Person of Interest, The Mist). There is currently no release date. 

    "Skull & Bones is going to be an incredible game, and will make a compelling television series that we're all very excited about at Atlas," said Andy Horowitz at Atlas Entertainment. "From the moment we saw the trailer in 2017, we became excited about its potential, and this type of IP is exactly what we've been looking for in television. We very much look forward to this partnership with Ubisoft."

    Previous Ubisoft games that have seen their IP adapted include Assassins Creed, which became a feature from director Justin Kurzel in 2016, and The Division, an upcoming film helmed by David Leitch and starring Jessica Chastain and Jake Gyllenhaal. Ubisoft is also currently producing a live-action comedy series for Apple. 

  • 'Monster Hunter'

    Courtesy of Capcom

    In what began as a single game created by Kaname Fujioka, Monster Hunter rapidly expanded into a franchise where hunters are tasked with battling epic monsters in extremely harsh environments. 

    The film version of this sprawling action adventure is helmed by director and writer Paul W.S. Anderson, whose credits include Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Afterlife. Milla Jovovich heads the cast in the role of Artemis, leader of a UN military team tasked with tracking and killing monsters, with Ron Perlman, rapper T.I. and Meagan Good rounding out the cast. Mexican star Diego Boneta will play a communications specialist and member of Artemis' team. 

    Monster Hunter is set for release Sept. 4.