The promising, the puzzling, and everything in development right now

So many game ideas have been snapped up by the big movie studios – hands up who didn’t expect a The Rock in a Rampage spin-off in their lifetime – that it can be hard to keep track, so we’re here with a handy list of what’s in development, which big names are signing on for projects, and which adaptations have gone ominously quiet.

Sure, think ‘video game movie’ and your brain can’t help but recall horrors like 1993’s Super Mario Bros. atrocity, the DOA: Dead or Alive adaptation that starred Holly Valance, or even – if you haven’t repressed it – that Street Fighter film where Jean-Claude Van Damme  played Guile. Luckily times have changed, and some of these projects sound more than worth a ticket and a large popcorn.

Call of Duty

Release date: 2018/2019

Activision has made no secret of its desire to squeeze every last penny out of its blockbuster titles, and Call of Duty is no exception. It’s very early days in development, but the early signs are promising. Stefano Sollima has signed on as director,  and if that name is familiar its because he’s just finished Sicario: Day of the Soldado. Kieran Fitzgerald is on board as the writer, he’s also currently at work on Sherlock Holmes 3, and in the past has penned Oliver Stone’s Snowden and a few episodes of gripping Netflix documentary series Wormwood. We don’t know much more than that, but with those two at the helm expect a story packed with tension.

Minecraft: The Movie

Release date: May 24, 2019

The challenge of making the block-based hit a blockbuster falls to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Rob McElhenney, with backing from Wonder Woman story writer Jason Fuchs. The game’s original creator Markus “Notch” Persson is also on the creative team, and Warner Bros. will be in charge of making sure it all happens. The success of the Lego movies suggests Minecraft could be a huge hit with the right story (it’s no accident that The Lego Movie producer Roy Lee is on board) and with rumors of Steve Carell signed up as the star, this might actually work.

Uncharted

Release date: TBA

Rumors and drama have surrounded the Uncharted movie since around 2010, when Mark Wahlberg confirmed he was playing Nathan Drake and that  Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci would be his co-stars. Directed by American Hustle’s David O Russell, fans we’re confused about the rumored plot lines, and things soon fell quiet.

Now, thankfully, it looks as though the project is back, with Stranger Things and Date Night director Shawn Levy in charge, Smokin’ Aces and Death Wish reboot writer Joe Carnahan holding the pen and Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland, starring. Holland will play a young Drake, and has his eye on his Avengers Infinity War buddy Chris Pratt as Sully. “I think he would be a great Sully, I think it could be cool,” he said in an interview. “Because if it was an older movie, I would say that Chris should play Nathan, but I think he would be a cool Sully, and I love working with Chris, so if I could work with Chris some more that would be great.”

Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston is also rumored to be on the cast. Now he would make a great Sully.

Sly Cooper

Release date: TBA

A sort of origin story for the sticky-fingered trash panda, the Sly Cooper movie was due for release in April 2016, but is currently in turnaround. That’s movie industry speak for a process where a studio declares a project a loss, so the rights can be sold to another studio. If the animated movie ever does make it to any sort of screen, Ian James Corlett will voice the thieving raccoon – his vocal chords have appeared in everything from Thimbleweed Park to Sausage Party – with Ratchet & Clank’s Kevin Munroe as director. In June last year the CEO of production company Blockade Entertainment tweeted that the movie wasn’t gone, but the team was focused on a TV show instead.

The Last of Us

Release date: TBA

Brace yourselves, because the most recent news on a The Last of Us adaptation isn’t good. The game’s writer, Neil Druckmann, worked on the script for the movie version a couple of years ago, but recently said on stage the DICE Summit 2018 that “having some separation from it, I look back and I’m like, ‘I don’t want that movie to be made.”

Lucky for him, the project seems to have run out of gas. It was announced in 2014, with Spider-Man and Evil Dead veteran Sam Raimi producing and Resident Evil studio Screen Gems on board. By 2016 Raimi revealed in an interview that things had stalled because Druckmann and Sony couldn’t agree on a direction for the movie. ” I’m attached to it. I’m not too sure what that means,” he told IGN. “Right now it’s just sitting there. They don’t want to move forward, and it’s not my place to say why, and Neil, I think, is in a slight disagreement with them about how things should go so there’s a standstill. And I don’t have the power to move it.”

At least there’s The Last of Us 2 to look forward to.

Watch Dogs

Release date: TBA

Announced in 2013, the last we heard about the hacker movie adaptation was in 2016, when Ubisoft said it was working with Sony to make it happen. Since then, Watch Dogs 2 has been released to a solid critical reception but soft launch sales, the Assassin’s Creed movie failed to slay its intended audience, and all has gone quiet.

Excitingly, or not, on IMDb it’s also listed as the “Untitled Mark Wahlberg/Hacker Project” so let your mind run wild with that for a while.

Monster Hunter

Release date: TBA

If Monster Hunter World lit a fire in your belly for wildlife murder, then you’ll be pleased to know a movie is currently in the early stages. You might not be so pleased to hear that Resident Evil: The Final Chapter writer-director Paul W.S Anderson is leading the charge. According to a 2016 interview with Deadline, he scored the rights from Capcom, and has big plans. “We’ve found a way of connecting the Dune-like sand covered world of Monster Hunter with our world,” says his producing partner Jeremy Bolt. “So we’re bringing this massive Japanese game into the world of America.” Apparently Anderson’s vision includes a “normal American” getting pulled into a parallel world and already expands to two movies.

“It’s definitely intended to be a franchise because the movie starts in our world and then it goes to the Monster Hunter world and then the final act comes back to our world,” adds Anderson. “It’s basically this epic battle in and around LAX.”

Mass Effect

Release date: TBA

We tried to pin down the current state of the Mass Effect movie in 2017, but honestly it’s just a series of the rights being handed around the industry like a game of hot potato. Optioned in July 2009, with Blackhat writer Morgan Davis Foehl signed up for author duties in 2012, the movie now seems stuck in development hell. Ghost in the Shell and Inception producers are still listed as on board, but we can’t help feeling that the ugliness around Mass Effect: Andromeda’s launch last year has put this in cryosleep for the foreseeable future.

Dante’s Inferno

Release date: TBA

Hands up anyone who had to search their brains before being able to claw back a memory of this Visceral Games weirdness? Yep, back in 2010 there was the whole game based on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, and publisher EA also promised us a movie. In 2013, Fede Alvarez – the guy who directed the Evil Dead remake – was announced as leading the project, but that was the last meaningful update.

Of course, 2010 did give us Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic, starring Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.

Temple Run

Release date: TBA

It might have been a while since you even had Temple Run under your thumb, but somewhere out there is a script about someone endlessly running away from things. Through a temple.

Announced in 2013, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them producer David Heyman was apparently in talks with Warner. Bros about the project. Nothing has been heard since then, thankfully.

Rabbids

Release date: TBA

If the Rabbids games, TV series, comic books, merchandise and VR attraction aren’t enough to sate your twisted desire for slapstick woodland creatures, you can look forward to a live-action movie from Ubisoft and Sony Pictures too. Writers Matthew Senreich, Tom Sheppard and Zeb Wells are on script duty. More on this movie as it bounces.

Five Nights at Freddy’s

Release date: TBA

We don’t have a release date for the horror spin-off but we do know that top grade scare studio Blumhouse picked up the rights to make the movie from Warner Bros. last year. Earlier this year we found out that Chris Columbus – director of Home Alone, Mrs Doubtfire and the first two Harry Potter movies – will write, direct and produce. However you feel about killer animatronic bears, credentials don’t get more legit than that.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Release date: TBA

The Deus Ex movie has gone whisper quiet since its 2013 announcement, changing writers, directors, and even production companies since then. At last word Dr Strange writers C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson had signed up, and It and The Lego Movie producer Roy Lee was backing it.

Splinter Cell

Release date: TBA

Optioned way back in 2004, The Splinter Cell movie has changed its creative team a few times now, but one constant has remained: Tom Hardy is the live-action Sam Fisher. With Hardy as its star the adaptation feels a lot more alive than most of the movies on this list, and a 2017 interview with producer Basil Iwanyk suggested things were moving forward. “We’ve got a script. It’s a little long, but it’s the best script we’ve had,” he said. “We’re going in there to figure out how to cut some pages and give it to [Tom] Hardy. This draft kind of addressed Tom’s notes. We’re going to give it to Hardy in the next couple of weeks and hopefully try to get it done this year.”

Far Cry

Release date: TBA

Wash that Uwe Boll 2008 abomination out of your mind, this is a different project entirely, and direct from Ubisoft’s own movie studio. There’s even less information available for this project than Ubisoft’s other movies like Splinter Cell and Rabbids, but industry sites say it was last optioned in 2016 and will follow a former Special Forces operative tracking down a missing journalist.

Meanwhile Ubisoft has been playing with other live-action shorts for Far Cry 5, which you can watch on Amazon.

Ghost Recon

Release date: TBA

Someone send Ubisoft’s movie planning department a muffin basket because those people are busy. Not content with filling this list with Splinter Cell and Far Cry and those damn Rabbids, a  Ghost Recon movie is also in development, with Michael Bay a possible director. Of course, if Bay is no longer on board Ubisoft could always tap up old buddy Ridley Scott, who produced its live-action short Ghost Recon Alpha, which was released in 2012.

Kane and Lynch

Release date: TBA

This particular movie has been in the works since 2007, so we’re now looking at over a decade of heel-dragging and shilly-shallying for this particular Eidos Interactive property. It’s still on the slate of the production company that brought you Leatherface and The Expendables, but it’s fair to say mercenary Kane and schizophrenic Lynch aren’t quite the hot property they once were.

The movie has languished in obscurity after losing its original director – as well as its lead cast members, Jamie Foxx and Bruce Willis. In 2013 Gerard Butler and Vin Diesel were  rumored to be starring in the film with new director. F. Gary Gray in charge.

God of War

A photo illustration showing Kratos in front of a runic message.

Release date: TBA

Kratos has never been hotter, so perhaps the success of the reboot is just what the movie – which has apparently been a thing since 2005 – needs to become more than a swirling mist of Spartan-shaped rumor. All we have is a handful of writers, including David Jaffe (who is also down as producer) and a few hopes and dreams.

I mean, there was a God of War movie last year, but that was about Japanese pirates, not a super buff bald man.

Devil May Cry

Release date: TBA

Remember when Capcom announced that Hollywood was making a Devil May Cry movie at E3? We do, and damn, does DMC continue to have fantastic cinematic potential, whichever version of Dante the production goes with. Of course, that was back at E3 2011, and we haven’t heard a thing in the six years since. Nothing’s been officially cancelled but, er, moving swiftly on…

Mortal Kombat

Release date: TBA

No, we’re not talking about the 1995 one starring Christopher Lambert, this is a totally new one, and the development process started a whole 15 years ago. After the incredible Mortal Kombat: Legacy web series finished up, director Kevin Tancharoen was tapped to make a full-length movie in the same vein. However, the project never hit full production, and now Furious 7 and The Conjuring director James Wan is onboard as producer, with Simon McQuoid graduating from commercials to make his feature debut.

Metal Gear Solid

Release date: TBA

Now this is genuinely excited. Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is almost as passionate about games as he is about films, and fought to take on the Metal Gear movie project. Now his fans are regularly treated to shots of him hanging out with Hideo Kojima, and he’s talked openly about wanting to do the story justice. Jurassic World writer Derek Connolly is on board to help with the script.

“I think people understand – through my relationship with Kojima and otherwise – that we’re really trying to shepherd this in the most interesting ways,” Vogt-Roberts told us last year. “There’s about a million steps to take and about a million things that can go wrong in the process, but I’m excited because the intent is right, the approach is right. The ethos and the producers and the executives, we all have the best interest right now in mind.”

Heavy Rain

Release date: TBA

The Heavy Rain rights were bought way back in 2006, years before the game was released. We still do not have a movie. Unless you count the game itself. We do have a name attached to the screenplay, and it’s David Milch, of Deadwood and NYPD Blue fame. Don’t bet the mortgage  on this one kids.

The Sims

Release date: TBA

There is a live-action movie based on a video game based on real life in the works. It was announced back in May 2007, but nothing has been heard since. Joy and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. producer John Davis is still attached, but that might just because he’s been too busy to have his assistant update his IMDB profile.

Asteroids

Release date: TBA

You are not hallucinating: Universal Pictures picked up the rights to a movie based on the classic black-and-white space shooter way back in July 2009. We’ve heard little since then, but there has been some activity behind the scenes. The script was (semi) recently re-written by F. Scott Frazier, with Lorenzo di Bonaventura producing, but the director-search continues after Roland Emmerich backed out a few years ago.  Nothing has been heard since 2015.

Borderlands

Release date: TBA

Lionsgate has picked up Borderlands for a live-action movie adaptation, and has GI Joe 3 writer Aaron Berg working on the script. Don’t go worrying that that implies a toned down, kid-focused take on the game though. According to Lionsgate, the film is going for a fittingly “in your face” attitude, and Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford has posited that it is likely to get an R-rating. There’s been no significant word on the movie’s progress for a while, but the success of Mad Mad: Fury Road’s desert-based anarchy in 2015 certainly can’t have hurt its chances of moving forward.

Detective Pikachu

Release date:  May 10, 2019

This is happening, and even better Deadpool himself, Ryan Reynolds, is locked in to voice the pee-colored Pokemon. Bill Nighy, Rita Ora, and Ken Watanabe are also in the cast, and Goosebumps and Shark Tale director Rob Letterman is in charge. The movie is in post production right now, so we haven’t seen a trailer yet, but it certainly feels like Hollywood is backing this spin-off in a big way.

The Division

Release date: TBA

In addition to the now-released Assassin’s Creed movie, and upcoming adaptations of Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Watch Dogs, and Rabbids, Ubisoft is pushing ahead with The Division. It’s genuinely exciting, because the post-viral, New York apocalypse film already has Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain signed up, and I would watch happily watch Chastain grout tiles for three hours, nevermind take on the end of the world.

The movie will be developed by the game publisher’s Ubisoft Motion Pictures wing, in partnership with Chastain and Gyllenhaal’s own production companies.  Deadpool 2 director David Leitch will be at the helm, and Syriana  writer Stephen Gaghan is holding the pen.

Firewatch

Release date: TBA

Now this is an adaptation that makes sense. Beautiful-looking, emotive, narrative-driven indie game? Yes. Yes, that is a far better fit than Tetris. Not that they’d ever actually make something as stupid as a Tetris movie, of course. (Yeah right. Just wait until you get a bit further into this article). But yes, developer Campo Santo has signed a games and films development deal with Good Universe (Neighbors, The Night Before), and a live-action Firewatch is sensibly up first. No word on a release date yet, but both parties seem very enthusiastic about the venture, so expect more updates soon.

Fruit Ninja

Release date: TBA

And just when it was going so well. Yes, Fruit Ninja is being adapted into a live-action family comedy. About ninjas, and the endless tribulations inflicted by their ongoing war against fruit. I don’t know, maybe a kumquat murdered the protagonist’s family, or he was betrayed in front of his clan by a scheming mangosteen. New Line picked up the project in 2016, so we should see something, anything, soon if it’s still going ahead.

Gears of War

Release date: TBA

Big aliens, big men, a bunch of fans already primed to see more of both – a Gears of War movie seems like a sure bet, which is probably why it’s been in the works in one way or another since 2007. After stalling around 2008, in 2016 news broke that it was now in development at Universal, and in 2017 Shane Salerno was writing the latest draft of the script. He wrote Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem and is also penning the Avatar sequels, so he knows his alien onions. It seems like this movie could actually be back on.

Gran Turismo

Release date: TBA

Unbelievably, yes, a Gran Turismo movie is going ahead. Even after we all saw how Need for Speed turned out, Yeah, even after that. This one has the writers of Red (and, well, Battleship) on board, and the director of Tron: Legacy, so expect it to look cool and be very shallow. No word on what it will actually be about, given that Gran Turismo has no plot whatsoever, but definitely do expect cars, er, doing something. They’ll definitely be doing something. Optioned in 2015, the last update was in 2017 and was that the script was being worked on. Fingers crossed it’s got more in it than “vroom vroom.”

Portal

Release date: TBA

In 2016 J.J. Abrams promised that “we have a meeting coming up next week with Valve, we’re very active, I’m hoping that there will be a Portal announcement fairly soon.” Well, we’re still waiting.  Dan Trachtenberg was rumored to be involved with the script – he made an amazing live action short film based on Portal – but he’s pretty busy these days with a bunch of other cool projects including a Harry Houdini movie and a sci-fi movie called Crime of the Century.

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