Opinion: 5 TV Shows That Would Make Great Games
With the recent premiere of Syfy’s MMO/TV series cross-over Defiance, I’ve been thinking about other TV shows that could be adapted into video games.
After all, there is a much greater wealth of material in TV these days, and gaming adaptations of television shows can end up being rather good (The Simpsons: Hit and Run springs immediately to mind). Given this, perhaps more developers should be basing their adaptations on TV dramas, instead of films.
Here’s my selection of shows that I believe deserve the video game treatment, but be warned: if you haven’t caught up with every season or episode of the shows I’m about to list, there are some minor spoilers.
The Show: Supernatural follows the adventures of Sam and Dean Winchester, two brothers who hunt down and kill a wide variety of supernatural beings - ranging from lowly folklore creatures right up to Gods and Demons. The show’s universe incorporates aspects from every religion, building an impressive mythology and adopting its own unique take on creatures such as vampires and werewolves.
Ideal Genre: Action-RPG
Ideal Developer: Bethesda/BioWare
The Game: The show’s universe is so expansive, you could tell a number of stories from different aspects and viewpoints.
Firstly, there’s the sheer number of species and races you could choose from; you could either play as a human hunter tracking down cases and fighting evil, or you could play an Angel of the Lord who switches between Heaven and Earth, going in search of lost weapons and battling demons. Alternatively, you could play as a demon who possesses people and make your way up through the ranks to become a Crossroads demon – who makes deals with people for their soul.
Other races included in the show include Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, Reapers, Tulpa and Wendigo. Each could have its own skill tree, allowing players to customize their powers and skill sets.
Secondly, there’s the storyline. Here is where the developers really could have fun, choosing to take the plot from season five’s Apocalypse plot line, season one and two’s Azazel storyline, or season seven’s Leviathan storyline. They could also set the game in the Old West, around the time when Samuel Colt creates the Colt weapon (which holds the power to kill all but five things in all of creation, apparently).
Then there’s the setting. The main stage would be Mid-Western America, where the majority of the show’s episodes take place, but the action has also gone to other places throughout its run. At the end of season three we saw Dean go to Hell, during season five Sam and Dean visited Heaven, in season six we saw the two brothers travel back to the Old West in search of the Colt, and most recently Dean and Castiel have been to purgatory.
The Show: Archer follows the day-to-day life of spy agency ISIS and its employees. It’s an animated comedy from creator Adam Reed that proves a smart and stylish spy-spoof: tightly written and superbly-acted. Itself a take on stalwarts such as James Bond and Mission Impossible, the show’s main star and namesake Sterling Archer is the stereotypical super-spy – suave, handsome and excellent at everything he does.
Ideal Genre: Action-Adventure
Ideal Developer: Ubisoft
The Game: Similar in approach to the Splinter Cell franchise, Archer would be a stealth-shooter, and one of the only games on this list that would place you directly into the shoes of the man himself.
To keep up the appearance and feel of the show, the game would have to be cell-shaded, with a script from creative force Adam Reed.
The main appeal from this would be derived from the storylines and supporting characters that inhabit the Archer universe. The main storyline would feature the KGB as the main antagonist, and you would go face-to-face with some of the characters form the show along the way, such as Cyborg Barry and Katya.
Other characters you would likely encounter are Len Trexler and rival spy agency Odin, German assassins Mannfred and Ute, and the good folk within ISIS itself.
The Show: Revolving around a group of smugglers in a Sci-Fi/Western setting, Firefly is one of the most beloved and unique TV shows of the past decade. Joss Whedon crafted a quite different take on the future from what we had previously seen in shows like Star Trek. Its ardent fan following spawned the film Serenity, and there has been an effect to create a fan-built game version for a long time. Firefly focused on the crew of Serenity, a mismatched group of outlaws who roamed the ‘verse looking for work and trying to keep out of the way of the Alliance.
Ideal Genre: Action-RPG
Ideal Developer: BioWare
The Game: Similar to Supernatural, Firefly has such an expansive and untapped universe of potential, that there is a huge list of story lines that would suit a video game adaptation. However, whereas Supernatural would be more suited to an Elder Scrolls style game, Firefly would have more in common with Mass Effect.
A Firefly game would do well to not have you play as Captain Mal Reynolds: instead, it would have you create your own character and build your own crew, picking up other passengers and shipmates along the way. The game would have you start at the end of the war that defined the show’s universe. From there, you would pick out your own ship and embark on your first mission, for which you would need your own pilot and mechanic. It is then up to you how many people, and who, you decide to take on.
One of the core mechanics would be trading. As the game progresses, and depending on which ship you pick, you will need to repair and obtain replacement parts to fix the ship. To do this, you could either buy the parts from the money you earn from jobs, or trade them as rewards for completing jobs. This will be essential as you could come across Reavers or other bandits along the way. Stemming from this would be the idea that when you encounter other ships along the way, you could either choose to pass them by, or board their ship and steal supplies.
Along the way, you would encounter characters from the show, through which you could form alliances to assist you on certain missions, such as entering Reaver space, or taking on jobs that are higher difficulty levels. In return they may give you access to certain upgrades or missions that you can’t get from the regular vendors and employers.
The Show: The best way to describe Warehouse 13 would be “a steampunk X-Files”. It follows the lives of two agents from a secret government organisation called Warehouse 13, who are tasked with hunting down and containing dangerous magical artifacts – historical treasures imbued with certain abilities that always have a dangerous downside to them.
Ideal Genre: Action-Adventure
Ideal Developer: Ubisoft
The Game: Like other examples on this list, a Warehouse 13 game would put the player into the shoes of an unknown recruit instead of one of the characters from the show. However, unlike the other games on this list, a Warehouse 13 game would require much more interaction with characters from the show. For example, you would get missions from Artie, you would accompany both Pete and Myka on field missions, and you would receive help from Claudia with identifying certain artifacts.
The main gameplay mechanics would come from the artifacts themselves. With each artifact possessing a unique ability, how you plan certain missions would have to change, as well as how you approach and bag each of the different artifacts. A minor gameplay mechanic that would come into play would be your character’s special ability, as each agent is recruited to the Warehouse because they have an ability that helps them when artifact hunting.
Ubisoft have already proven themselves well-versed in historical events with the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and this would translate well over to a Warehouse 13 game – as each artifact has important historical context.
The Show: A modern-day adaptation of the famous Arthur Conan Doyle novels, Sherlock transplants the genius detective to modern day London. Written and created by Doctor Who show runner Steven Moffat and League of Gentlemen creator Mark Gatiss, the BBC series adds a new spin on the character, complete with 21st Century versions of classic adventures.
Ideal Genre: Point-and-Click
Ideal Developer: Telltale Games
The Game: After the deserved success of their Walking Dead series, Telltale have proven that they are the go-to studio for story-driven games. With Sherlock lending itself perfectly to the point-and-click genre, Telltale would be the ideal studio to bring not only a faithful adaptation of Sherlock Holmes to fruition, but also an adaptation of the hugely successful BBC show as well.
With each episode clocking in at a feature length 90 minutes long, Telltales’ episodic format that have served them so well in the past would also play well in their favour.
Each episode would follow the storylines of the books, with a modern-day twist on each tale. The gameplay would have you explore each crime scene, examining every clue and gathering evidence to later be looked over at Holmes’ house. Similar to The Walking Dead, Sherlock would have you questioning characters in order to piece together clues.
The game would also have you come up against villains such as Moriarty, as well as allies like Irene Adler and Mycroft Holmes, who would help you by providing more information or by giving you cases to investigate.
Do you agree with Jacques’ choices? What other TV shows would you like to see adapted into games? Have your say in the comments below.