Gamers, the era of terrible video game adaptations seems to be over. Well, the era of terrible animated adaptations, at least. Gaming culture has recently experienced an animated renaissance, with the influx of cartoons based on video games that are, for once, pretty darn good. It makes one wonder what other titles could get the same treatment.
The games listed below are by no means the only iconic titles that would work animated, nor would all games worth adapting necessarily translate better into that medium; looking at you, The Last of Us. These particular games have just the right style for a uniquely satisfying animated experience, as well as the substance to back it up.
10 kingdom hearts
With its unique stylization, breadth of lore, and many beloved characters, you’d think a Kingdom Hearts cartoon would be a no-brainer. Way back when we only had the first game to consider, Disney Channel tried and failed to start a KH cartoon. The concern lies in what exactly that series or movie would look like, especially with how complicated the games have been. Not to mention, any Disney-linked content is a legal nightmare to get approved.
An animated miniseries might better serve as a new vessel for the canon leading up to Kingdom Hearts 4. Such a method may be more accessible to fans who don’t want to play the same two mobile games over and over again just to find out what the heck. is happening.
One could argue that every Nintendo IP deserves its own cartoon; Then again, perhaps the most obvious choices aren’t always the best. The Splatoon universe, on the other hand, is a world that is crying out to be fleshed out. You’ve got your player-character protagonist, your fish-out-of-water character arc, fun visuals, and low-stakes competition.
But beyond the cute fish people and city life is a post-apocalyptic wasteland and what’s left of humanity’s annihilation. Splatoon provides a story that can be as simple or as complex as he wants, and a colorfully aesthetic world to play in.
If we’re talking about mythology that’s been remixed and wrung out hundreds of times, we’re talking about Greek myth. But hell, do the trailers and gameplay footage for Hades leave us wanting an expansion on this particular shot? The world is vibrant, the characters are well designed and *cough* really hot *cough* and the family drama keeps us engaged until the very end.
Turning this particular story into an animated series could also serve to expose LBTQ+ representation in both games and animation, given that Hades’ protagonist Zagreus is canonically bisexual. With such a unique take on a story we think we’ve heard it a million times, seeing Hades adapted is worth it for the promise of exceptionally animated combat alone.
7 no straight paths
When it comes to incredible animation and unique vibrancy, indie games always come out on top. There’s something about No Straight Road’s funky inspirations taken from Jet Set Radio that has that distinctive early 2000s feel. Even some of the best rhythm games won’t focus too much on the story, but that’s where NSR differs. .
Combining the rhythm and fighting genres in an arena that is full of energy would be amazing as an animated movie. The cel-shaded graphics could work in this format, but the game’s 2D elements display a strong style that would also look great in motion.
6 under the story
As one of the most successful indie games to date, it might seem strange that Undertale hasn’t expanded into other media yet. But creators Toby Fox and Temmie Chang have a specific style that they’ve kept consistent, and it works.
If Undertale’s distinctive sense of humor translated well enough into spoken dialogue, an animated spinoff could be a welcome addition to world lore. The developers’ greatest strength lies in their lovable characters, and fans of the series can’t wait to see what wacky monsters come their way next.
5 sea of thieves
If you ask this writer, there can never be enough pirate-themed content. Sea of Thieves started out as a fairly basic game focused on navigation and exploration, and has since expanded its world lore significantly. Imagine a series that follows a wide range of dastardly characters in a historical fantasy world that leans more towards the latter concept than the former.
Much of the subgenre is based on historical inspiration, which is effective. But an animated series set in the magical world of the Sea of Thieves would be a fun twist on the pirate stories we know.
What sets RimWorld apart from other sims is the extent to which its developers have fleshed out the game’s various races, ideologies, and factions. Since the traits of individual pawns play a large role in the development of a colony, random moments of chaos and joy would make for an intriguing sci-fi epic.
A show based on such an expansive game might be better at telling the story of a single settlement. Imagine starting the journey with three strangers who have crash-landed on a strange planet and ending up with an empire that has the planet in its iron fist. Combined with RimWorld’s wacky gameplay twists, we’d love to see it all end with the emperor freaking out because he had to eat without a table.
3 little nightmares
For those familiar with Little Nightmares, the potential appeal of an animated film is quite apparent. Imagine these monstrous places and creatures rendered in true stop-motion animation. The use of clay, physical props, and practical effects would make this world even more mysterious and terrifying.
Combined with a spooky soundtrack written by game composer Tobias Lilja, a movie or series could make for an interesting retelling of the game with an emphasis on world building. A stop-motion production of Little Nightmares would also expand on the limited stop-motion genre, which is always a plus.
2 Among us
Now listen to me. We’re all sick of hearing about this game, and if not, it’s probably because it’s still one of the best mobile and VR games out there. But Among Us’s iconography is so distinct that it has infiltrated the mainstream consciousness far beyond what the developers originally intended. There’s something completely nostalgic about the game, too; its style and sense of humor are very reminiscent of classic browser games from the Flash era.
For this reason, Among Us could be adapted into Looney Tunes-style animated shorts, where none or few of the characters speak. Imagine a multi-season series with 10-15 minute episodes like this. The low-stakes plot and slapstick comedy of these episodic space adventures could spawn endless content.
1 worship of the lamb
One look at Cult of the Lamb, and there’s evidence of potential for an animated series. Massive Monster’s dedication to maintaining that cartoonish look means that virtually every asset could be placed in a series with little modification. Its unique mix of cute and creepy, blending cult culture with an idyllic natural setting, already creates a pleasantly eerie atmosphere.
Take a look at any of the animated trailers on Youtube, and the prospect of a show doesn’t seem too far-fetched. Developer Devolver Digital even asks if people would like to see a Cult of the Lamb cartoon in the comments of their trailers. Is the question just a tease, or could an adaptation be in the works?
NEXT: Manga That Deserves An Anime Adaptation