Video game consoles aren’t ‘video game’ consoles any more, they’re fully fledged media boxes, with TV shows, movies, games and music ready to sap away our free-time and attention like a leaky dam at the touch of a button and a flick of an analogue stick. We shouldn’t have to decide between a quick gaming session or catching up on our favourite show when both are available in the same package. So with that in mind, what would happen if the two types of media merged and 20 hour gaming epics were whittled down to concentrated 40 minute bursts of television entertainment? It would be incredible, that’s what. Read on to find out our top picks for the best games that would make brilliant TV shows.
1. Assassin’s Creed
With shows like Black Sails recently premiering and proving that TV viewers have a thirst for pirate related media as much as pirates do for a swig of rum, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag’s pirate theme might be out of the question, but for Ubisoft’s series as a whole? I can’t think of any TV show that could take on assassinations and sci-fi/historic plots like AC and what’s more is that such an overarching plot that Assassin’s Creed has (Ubisoft have threaded the Templar feud throughout 6 games, after all) would make for excellent digestible bite-sized TV viewing. And with multiple eras and times for players to whizz through, each with new locations, culture and enemies, multiple seasons are rife for conversion too.
2. Call of Duty
A TV show’s best feature is its writing so Call of Duty is probably an unlikely feature on this list, because if we’re all being honest with ourselves, Call of Duty’s writing hasn’t been anywhere near up to scratch since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but when it excelled in that title (undoubtedly the franchise’s best game) it knocked it out of the park and then some. Maybe I don’t watch enough TV to recall one, but I don’t think there’s a serialised military show on TV right now, not one that could explore what it’s like to be a soldier at war, with the dangers of it. Too, they could also add female soldiers for an rarely spoken about insight into what that’s like and, if it’s US-based and set pre-2013, storylines featuring DADT (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, a US law that could see gay soldiers kicked out of the military) could also be highly watchable.
3. inFamous: Second Son
Let me just put this out there; I didn’t like Cole MacGrath (protagonist of inFamous 1 and 2) very much and I know I’m not alone in that respect. And frankly, while his relationships both with his fiancée, his friends and his good vs evil demons would make him a more than worthy star of emotional plot points, his lightning powers might get a bit one note. We want action! We want adventure and Delsin Rowe, the new protagonist of inFamous: Second Son, can deliver that to us in droves. Being able to absorb powers gives us a chance to explore everything the non-caped world of superheroes offers, with grey moral lines to balance on, sibling relationships to explore and a diverse protagonist (Delsin is Native America) to boot.
Across the two games in the Borderlands series, fast-paced, frenetic action has kept us all engaged as we fought with our friends about the best loot and who was going to takedown which enemies for the highest amount of XP. Too, groups of friends are bound to end up having to revive one another, making the nail0biting seconds before their character’s life is sapped away and they are flung back to the loadout point even more precious. A Borderland show could embrace the buddy cop genre of things, just with more firepower and use the game’s level up system to take viewers on a great tale as the characters discover and improve their powers too. It’s also worth noting that Telltale Games are working on ‘Tales from The Borderlands’ and episodic series based on the franchise, so we already know that the game can be broken down into episodes.
BioShock is one of the smartest series around. In BioShock: Infinite, the game didn’t just offer up the gorgeous, fictional location of Columbia (which was based on the USA), it also offered up a look at social values and ideals, which could make for a serious yet important TV show. Of course, the series of the BioShock franchise in general (as a game or a TV show) has been thrown into doubt with the developer who invented the series, Irrational Games, having closed down. However, publisher 2K Games have been placed in charge and have to answer ‘where will the series go next?’ and I’d like to think that the answer to that is ‘television’.
6. Dragon Age
I completed Dragon Age: Origins easily, but Dragon Age 2? That was far tougher to get through, but it wasn’t for fear of trying, nor was it because of the story. Things got tedious, frankly, in the second game in the series, having to run between walled off locations and wait for loading tickers to wind down and open up new parts of the map. But as a whole, Dragon Age is fantastic and is set to prove itself once more inDragon Age: Inquisition. What makes the Dragon Age series great is the team-play and the nit, grit and strategic thinking of the battles, I can imagine it now; a huge battle that sees viewers experience the heartache of killing characters off like the writer behind the episode was George R.R Martin. What’s more is that Dragon Age’s characters are diverse in gender, race and sexuality, with BioWare having always treated every character’s story wit respects, making the game near perfect in terms of representation and in the action packed punch that it can offer.
7. Saints Row
Across 4 games, the Third Street Saints have risen from small-time, mismanaged gang with too much time on their hands to becoming the President of the United States (and the team that surrounds them), having to take on an evil intergalactic group of bad guys. Need less to say, their meteoric rise in the ranks has been a fun one, with mini-game mayhem seeing them earn both respect and money as they try to take over the globe. While each game could be a season of the show, I think Saints Row would be brilliant as a sitcom, with The Saints’ madcap adventures turned into a comedy, something entirely on the books given how funny Shandi, Johnny Gat and the other members of the gang’s lines have been across the series.
8. Tomb Raider
The Tomb Raider franchise has experienced continued success, with each story being better and as intriguing as the last and the latest game is the best example of Lara’s adventuring yet. The beauty of a Tomb Raider TV show is that the friendships are already in place for the game to have well-written, diverse characters who the audience would know and love. And while a Yamatai-sized adventure every episode would be far too expensive to put together, showing off those character relationships and detailing the journey to a big adventure (or including smaller adventures each episode, with an overall goal or enemy) could be incredibly entertaining and I know I would watch, would you?
Which games would you like to see turned into TV shows? – Let me know in the comments.