Netflix: The Future of Game Adaptations


Netflix’s “Castlevania” received crtical acclaim for its adaptation of a classic game franchise. (Image courtesy of Netflix)

-Nick Barrieau

With shows such as “Castlevania” and “The Witcher”, Netflix has elevated both their original offerings and the quality of video game adaptations as a whole. For years, both television and movie adaptations of popular gaming franchises have been received as lackluster and disappointing, but Netflix has big plans for the future of gaming adaptations and is banking on success. Netflix has over a dozen original shows in the pipeline based on popular game franchises and is hoping to attract gamers by offering original content that can’t be found anywhere else. 

Resident Evil fans have a lot to look forward to, since both a live action and animated series will be headed to Netflix in the next couple of years. “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness” will be released in 2021 and is an animated series following fan favorite characters Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield as they unravel the mystery of a zombie outbreak with some connection to the White House. Both Leon and Claire’s voice actors from the recent “Resident Evil 2: Remake” will be reprising their roles and the series will take place in the same timeline as the games. The other series will be live action and is simply called “Resident Evil”. There aren’t many details on “Resident Evil” yet, but it will star the two daughters of famous series villain Albert Wesker, while taking place over two timelines. The series is being produced by Andrew Dabb, who is also known for producing “Supernatural”.

Netflix already has the little known and underappreciated Japanese original “Final Fantasy XIV: Dad of Light”, but there are future plans for a live action show set in the world of “Final Fantasy XIV”. The show is being produced by Hivemind, the same studio behind “The Witcher” and “The Expanse” and was announced back in 2019. The original press release revealed that the series, “explores the struggle between magic and technology in a quest to bring peace to a land in conflict”, and is “Filled with iconic hallmarks of the title’s revered mythology.” Fans still haven’t had any updates since this series was revealed, but COVID-19 may have played a role in slowing production.

“Cuphead” was an indie hit when it released, and it captivated players with its charming artstyle that mirrored that of early 20th century cartoons. Naturally, it makes sense for “Cuphead” to get its own cartoon adaptation, which will be releasing on Netflix this year. The show will be known as “The Cuphead Show!” and will feature the same iconic artstyle from the original game and will be executive produced by award winning producers, along with original game developers from Studio MDHR.

Sonic the Hedgehog is no stranger to cartoon adaptations, and has had five cartoons over the years, along with last year’s live-action blockbuster movie. “Sonic Prime” was revealed earlier this year as Netflix’s exclusive Sonic cartoon. It will feature 3D animated visuals and will be executive produced by Man of Action Entertainment, the studio behind “Ben 10”. Alongside the initial announcement, “Sonic Prime” was described as a “journey of self-discovery and redemption” where Sonic must save a “strange new multiverse”. It’s worth noting that longtime Sonic voice actors for both Sonic himself, Tails, and Amy have announced on social media that they will not be returning to their roles. This leaves an element of surprise to “Sonic Prime”, since it’s currently unkown who will step into Sonic’s shiny red sneakers to voice the famous hedgehog.

At the end of the day, there are many gaming adaptations coming to Netflix that are sure to excite fans. Original series for “Dota”, “Assassin’s Creed”, “Cyberpunk”, “Splinter Cell”, “Tomb Raider”, “Beyond Good and Evil”, “The Division”, and “Devil May Cry” are all in development at Netflix. Now fans will have to wait in order to judge if Netflix’s big gaming investments will pay off, or if the series will flop in the same way older gaming adaptations have.