We binged through Castlevania on Netflix over the weekend and were pleasantly surprised. It’s not amazing television by any stretch but it is a lot better than we expected. We were actually a little disappointed that the first season ends so quickly after four half-hour episodes. That got us thinking about other series that Netflix might think about tackling next. Netflix has already announced plans for an animated Assassin’s Creed (poor Assassin’s Creed, no matter how bad it gets, they won’t leave you alone). We’re skipping Link and Mario (they had their chances). Here are five better ideas of animated series based on games:
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Anyone who’s played through the game knows that Horizon has a heckuva story to it. You’re living in a post-apocalyptic world filled with bloodthirsty robotic monsters that you hunt with bows and arrows. That alone is super cool. But the story of life before the apocalypse is pretty interesting too as it unwinds, and the sheer number of potential enemies in the game (other tribes, enemy robots, evil cultists) suggests endless potential plotlines. There’s so much story left to tell in this series, it’d be perfect for an animated series.
We thought Mass Effect had made a few mistakes in its most recent outing, but there’s still a lot of story to tell in this sprawling space opera. In fact, the sheer size of the game’s universe – spanning from Earth to the farthest reaches of the galaxy – suggests that stories could be told from either the original trilogy or the new game’s perspective. The vast number of creatures could also fill out a diverse cast and the central figure could be either a new hero or wizened leader, much like the games. Mass Effect seems like a pretty easy target for this kind of treatment, so let’s see how the new Star Trek does and hope for the best.
Metal Gear is such a confusing mess right now that an animated series might help streamline the storytelling. Each season could focus on a particular game’s story, capturing one section of the lives of these (surprisingly long-lived) characters. Solid Snake makes a fascinating hero and seeing different stages of his life could be fun (like a more serious version of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles). Seasons could be devoted to different eras and different characters, much like the games are. While some of the more far-fetched plotlines may not work on television, the technology would look undeniably cool.
Resident Evil’s ability to re-invent itself suggests that it would be perfect for a anthology horror series. Imagine American Horror Story but watchable. One season could focus on a zombie apocalypse and the next on genetic mutations run amok and another on a rural family with supernatural abilities. The promise of different heroes and characters would mean that any one of the characters could die each season. Resident Evil has been adapted to animation before, but these movies always focus too much on the bizarre overarching mythology instead of telling contained horror stories (like the most recent game did). Follow Resident Evil 7’s example, Netflix: forget Wesker and focus on horror.
With Castlevania being surprisingly successful, Metroid was the game that first suggested itself to us. Writers often talk about a “Metroidvania” style gameplay – which seems unfair to us as Metroid was there first – but Metroid also has a central protagonist who chases a villain across an array of adventures. Expanding out Samus’ universe to discuss the space pirates in greater depth, the history of the parasites in more detail, and the existence of Mother Brain would be fun to watch.