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In a narrative image for Horizon Zero Dawn, the hero Aloy is instructed how to aim and fire her bow.
Horizon Zero Dawn (2017) is coming to Netflix as a live-action adaptation, starring series hero Aloy.
Image: Guerrilla Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment

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Netflix is leaning hard into video game adaptations

At least 15 AAA game franchises have movies, shows, or animated series coming

HBO Max might be bringing The Last of Us to streamers in January 2023, and Fallout seems like it’s not too far behind on Amazon. But as a trailer this week for the animated series Dragon Age: Absolution quickly reminds us, Netflix is the undisputed home of video game adaptations. It has a whopping 15 projects in the works to go with the big names it has already delivered, like League of Legends spinoff Arcane, The Cuphead Show, and the anime Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, whose first season premiered in September.

Encompassing feature films and TV series, both live-action and animated, here’s a recap of everything video games that’s in Netflix’s pipeline, along with the most recent news we’ve heard about it.

Assassin’s Creed

An “epic, genre-bending” live-action adaptation will be the first series in a partnership Netflix and Ubisoft’s Film & Television group announced in October 2020. The two have more Assassin’s Creed content in mind, but they haven’t said what that might be. At the Ubisoft Forward showcase in September, Netflix and Ubisoft announced they were partnering on a mobile game as well.

Beyond Good & Evil

It seems like blasphemy to talk about this getting a screen adaptation, with Beyond Good & Evil 2, the long-awaited prequel to the 20-year-old cult hit, practically AWOL since 2018. But, also in 2020, Ubisoft confirmed it was working with Netflix on a Beyond Good & Evil feature film. “We look forward to sharing more in the future,” the publisher said. Like with the game, it hasn’t yet.

A memorable scene from the original BioShock: the bronze bust of Rapture city founder Andrew Ryan, cloaked by a banner saying “No Gods or Kings, Only Man.” Image: Irrational Games/2K Games

BioShock

Back in February, Netflix said that it, 2K Games, and Take-Two Interactive (2K’s parent company) reached an agreement to make “a film adaptation of the renowned video game franchise BioShock.” 2K Games and Vertical Entertainment are the producing partners. BioShock last saw a video game with 2013’s BioShock Infinite, though 2K Games said in 2019 that a new internal studio, Cloud Chamber, was working on the next installment, still “several years” away.

Castlevania: Nocturne

After four seasons as an animated hit, Castlevania returns to Netflix with Castlevania: Nocturne, led by showrunner Kevin Kolde, who worked on the original series. Castlevania: Nocturne will feature Richter Belmont, the protagonist of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night. Netflix confirmed the animated series was in production back in June.

Devil May Cry

Adi Shankar, executive producer of the animated Castlevania series that aired on Netflix from 2017 to 2021, said in 2018 that he had acquired the rights to make an animated DMC series. Last year, Shankar told IGN Japan that the scripts for season 1 were finished, that the first year would consist of eight episodes, and that it was being made with a “multi-season arc” in mind. Production was supposed to begin earlier this year; no premiere date has been announced.

Dragon Age: Absolution

We just heard on Thursday that this animated adaptation of BioWare’s fantasy RPG will premiere Dec. 9. The series will run for six 30-minute episodes and tells the story of a heist (of an ancient artifact) gone sideways. Stars who are in on the job include Kimberly Brooks, Matthew Mercer, Ashly Burch, and Sumalee Montano. BioWare, meanwhile, is still at work on Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, formally announced by Electronic Arts this past June.

Dragon’s Lair

The Hollywood Reporter reported in the spring of 2020 that Netflix had closed a deal for the rights to adapt the 1980s LaserDisc game, and Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) was in talks to produce and star in it. Dragon’s Lair fits, somewhat, with Netflix’s programming aesthetic, as it cameoed in Stranger Things as a recognizable piece of 1980s nostalgia. Just this week, Collider asked Reynolds how the project was going, and Reynolds said Netflix is “taking such a swing with it. […] I think [it] will be pretty surprising to a lot of people.” There are still no other details on when this feature might premiere.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Who knows exactly what this will be in the end, but Adi Shankar is also developing an animated series called Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix, which is based on Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, the 2013 stand-alone expansion that mocked 1980s action-flick VHS rentals. The show’s hero is the cybernetic super-soldier Dolph Laserhawk, and according to Shankar, he has complete permission from Ubisoft to remix the publisher’s IP, so this should be especially weird.

Gears of War

Netflix has won the rights to two Gears of War adaptations, one a feature-length film that has been envisioned for nearly 15 years, the other an “adult animated series.” On Monday, Netflix confirmed both projects were in the works, “with the potential for more stories to follow!” Netflix will partner with Gears’ developer, The Coalition, on getting the movie and cartoons onto the screen, but so far no filmmakers, directors, writers, or other stars are attached to any of the adaptations.

Horizon Zero Dawn

First revealed in a Sony Pictures briefing to investors in May, Horizon Zero Dawn was later confirmed for a Netflix live-action adaptation, with The Umbrella Academy’s Steve Blackman aboard as showrunner. Speaking during Netflix’s Tudum showcase in August, Blackman said the show would star Aloy, the protagonist of 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn and this year’s Horizon Forbidden West.

Pokémon

A live-action Pokémon series, in the mode of 2019’s successful Detective Pikachu, was reportedly in the works as of late July 2021. Joe Henderson, the executive producer of Netflix’s Lucifer, was said to be the writer and executive producer. But that’s literally all anyone knows so far. The series hasn’t been officially confirmed by either Netflix or The Pokémon Company, much less named.

Sonic Prime

This animated series starring the Blue Blur premieres Dec. 15. In it, Sonic and fan favorites Tails, Knuckles, Amy Rose, Shadow, Rouge the Bat, and Big the Cat are all brought together thanks to a “universe-shattering event” caused by Eggman. (Who else?) The show will run for 24 episodes and puts new voices in key roles, such as Deven Christian Mack as Sonic, Ashleigh Ball as Tails, and Brian Drummond as Eggman.

Tom Clancy’s The Division

First announced in 2016 as a feature film, Ubisoft told fans at E3 2019 that the project was headed to Netflix. Jake Gyllenhaal is still attached, as both producer and main character. Jessica Chastain also came aboard the project before the 2019 announcement. At last check, director Rawson Marshall Thurber said he expected filming to begin “with any luck” sometime this year.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell

Good buddy Ubisoft’s fifth collab with Netflix is an animated adaptation of the stealth/action video game franchise, which, like a few other titles on this list, hasn’t seen a new video game in nearly a decade. Variety reported in 2020 that Netflix had signed up for 16 episodes over two seasons, which Ubisoft later confirmed to Polygon. In 2021, Netflix teased fans with some key art for the show. Derek Kolstad, the co-creator of the John Wick franchise, is attached to the project.

Tomb Raider

Netflix announced in early 2021 that an animated adaptation of Tomb Raider was coming soon, although it didn’t give a release date or window. Tasha Huo, of The Witcher: Blood Origin, a miniseries prequel coming Christmas Day, is on the project as executive producer and writer.

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