Development Hell: An A To Z Of Video Game Movies In Production, Part 3

Welcome to the third and final part of our look at all the video game film adaptations that are currently in production. Lara Croft, Sam Fisher, Geralt, Joel & Ellie face their biggest challenge ever as they try and escape Production Hell.

In case you missed it here are Part One and Part Two of our A to Z rundown.




At the start of the year Sega hired former Break Media executive Evan Cholfin to oversee projects as head of Tokyo-based Stories, a company set up to produce movies based on key Sega franchises. Altered Beast, Streets of Rage, Shinobi, Rise of Nightmares and Crazy Taxi were mentioned as possible movies in the production pipeline.

Sly Cooper

Following in Ratchet’s furry footsteps is Sly Racoon who will have his own animated movie in 2017. The film will be an origin story with the original voice cast reprising their roles as Sly, Bentley, and Murray.

Sonic The Hedgehog

In 2014 it was announced that Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marza Animation Planet would be bringing Sonic to the big screen in a live action spectacular with CGI elements.

“Sonic has had dozens of adventures on the console and the small screen, and we’re thrilled that he’s now coming to the big screen,” said the CEO of Marza Animation, Masanao Maeda. “Sony Pictures has had great success with hybrid animated and live-action features, and we’re confident that this collaboration will bring a fresh take to Sonic, while still capturing everything that the fans love about him.”

No release date has been given for the movie.

Space Invaders

The daddy of all arcade games was licensed by Warner Bros. in 2014 with Hollywood super producer and Oscar-winning writer Akiva Goldsman on board. Screenwriter Dan Kunka was also attached to the project in June this year so the movie appears to be progressing.

Splinter Cell

Part of phase two of the Ubisoft movies, hunk du jour Tom Hardy was attached to the film as both star and producer, with Basil Iwanyk (Wrath of the Titans) also on board as a producer. Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow) was in the frame to direct the movie.

“Everything about ‘Splinter Cell’ will be younger. It’s a chance to come up with a new franchise that is fresher and newer and younger, and Tom Hardy is such an incredible actor,” said Linman.

Sadly it all fell apart in July this year when Linman dropped out and Frank John Hughes was tasked to write the next draft of the script. Hardy continues to be involved with the project and is said to be a big gamer and fan of the series.

Spy Hunter


Seemingly in production since the beginning of time (a.k.a. 2003), this film is the Duke Nukem of videogame-to-movie adaptations. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was set to star in the Universal film with John Woo directing before he was replaced by Paul W. S. Anderson.

Then Warner Bros. acquired the rights and hired Gangster Squad’s Ruben Fleischer to direct and produce, and finally, just a few weeks ago, Warner Bros hired Nelson Greaves and Sam Chalsen, the writers of the Sleepy Hollow TV show, to create yet another screenplay.

Whilst that was going on, The Rock starred in a Spy Hunter game on PlayStation 2, presumably one that was meant to have been a tie in with the movie as the vehicles closely resembled the concept art made for the Universal version of the film.

Super Mario Bros.

Emails between Nintendo and Sony Pictures were leaked thanks to the Sony hack and revealed ongoing talks to bring Mario back to the big screen. Producer Avi Arad – who else – is involved, with talks of a 3-4 picture deal.

Nothing has been officially confirmed and Arad has backtracked on the matter, stating that he’s just in the beginning of negotiations with Nintendo.

The Last of Us


Two years ago Screen Gems announced that The Last Of Us would be getting the movie treatment and that the script will be handled by Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann. Sam Raimi, director of films such as the Spider Man trilogy, the Evil Dead films, and Oz The Great & Powerful, was linked to the project.

“It’s an adaptation of the story of The Last of Us,” confirmed Druckmann. “As far as where we go and how we make it fit into a film, how it takes into account the unique properties of film… We’re not sure yet. We’re only just scratching the surface.”

Last year Neil said he was “in the middle” of writing the third draft of script, and that the movie would be rather different to the game.

“It’s been super difficult,” he said, “Because there’s so much that happens in The Last of Us – even just in the cinematics – that can’t fit in a film, let alone all the gameplay in-between and dialogue.”

Since then it’s been rather quiet, but Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams has met both Druckmann and Raimi to discuss taking the roll of Ellie. In April this year Williams told Digital Spy that “the actual film, the making of the film, the script and everything is in very, very early days.”

The Witcher

This franchise only recently revealed it’s big screen intentions, as the Witcher movies were announced just a few weeks ago.

Polish director Tomasz Bagiński will be taking the helm and he already has experience with The Witcher series since he directed the intro scenes for the first two Witcher games. Thania St. John, who has worked on Grimm and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, is heading the script writing duties.


Unveiled a year ago with Adrian Askarieh and Roy Lee on board the Thief movie is in production at Prime Universe, who were behind the recent Hitman movie. Nothing has been heard of the film since it’s announcement, it may be on the back burner due to the poor performance of Hitman: Agent 47.

Tomb Raider

Initially revealed in 2009 the rebooted Laraverse was set to star Megan Fox, but the project fell by the wayside and was picked up MGM in 2011. Just recently it was announced that they had hired Norwegian director Roar Uthaug, with Geneva Robertson-Dworet set to write the script.

Like the rebooted games, the movie is said to be an origins story with a younger Lara as the studio aiming for the Hunger Games audience. Brit star Gemma Arterton has expressed an interest in playing the heroine, saying she was a huge fan of the games.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon

All we know Ghost Recon is that the king of explosions, Michael Bay, is developing the Ubisoft franchise in to a movie. Hopefully this will stop him from ruining Transformers 5.

Writers of the TV Series Jericho, Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia, were also on board. Ubisoft had previously commissioned Ghost Recon: Alpha, a short film that serves as a prequel to Ghost Recon Future Soldier, and was widely believed to be a test for full movie production.

Twisted Metal

February 2012 and Sony Pictures fling a 7-figure deal at Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance co-director Brian Taylor to write and direct a Twisted Metal movie. Fast forward to November 2015 and nothing has been heard, probably because Avi bloody Arad was in charge and has completely lost track of how many video game movie adaptations he’s supposed to be producing.


“June 10th 2016 is a great date for Uncharted,” said Sony Pictures president Doug Belgrad a year ago,“It’s just the right place for this exciting action-adventure film. That hasn’t stopped the movie slipping an entire year to June 30th 2017.

Earlier in 2015, Seth Gordon became the third director to abandon the movie, following in the footsteps of Neil Burger and David O. Russell. However, Gordon left the project in June 2015 leaving Nathan Drake without a director yet again.

The movie has had a very troubled production with Mark Whalberg attached at the start, although Chris Hemsworth was the most recent actor in the frame. Chris Pratt is said to have declined the role of Nathan Drake.

The Sony hack revealed locations may include urban South America, the Panama Canal and London, and the story would not be goofy. However, it would still retain a sense of humour with banter between Scully, Elena and Drake.


Delayed but almost with us, Duncan Jones’ Warcraft movie is the next big hope but will it be the one to break the “Movies of Video Games Are Rubbish” stigmata? Production has ben wrapped up and the movie is just waiting to be released next summer.

Watch Dogs

Cast your mind back to Gamescom 2013 and you probably won’t recall Ubisoft announcing a collaboration with Sony Pictures to make a Watch Dogs movie. Things have been quiet since then, but things have been quiet for Watch Dogs the game as well, as the much rumoured sequel has yet to be revealed. Perhaps Sony is waiting for that before pushing ahead with the movie?



  1. The fundamental problem with making a movie from a game is that games draw so much from movies and in a lot of cases try to put the gamer in the role of a movie character, going the other way just creates a stereotypical, clichéd film.

  2. biggest problem with movies from games is what market they are aiming at..
    my 10 year old would quite happily watch ratchet and clank,but not know who they are and it would just be a generic cartoon.
    my 16 year old would watch something like the last of us probably because of the zombie elements and may relate to the character simply because of watching me play it.
    neither of them are gamers so a lot of the character in these movies would be a mystery to them

  3. Someone was requesting the Dead Space movie got made. Seems it has been, just without EA..

    • I watched the first 20mins of that film – it’s a proper GCSE effort.

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