With Streets Of Rage coming to the silver screen, we look through Sega’s other franchises to see which ones have the most movie potential.
It’s weird to think that we could see a Sega cinematic universe before one for Nintendo or any other games company. Sega already has two very successful live action Sonic The Hedgehog movies and has now tapped the creator of John Wick to direct a Streets Of Rage movie.
Between these and the Yakuza movie, that were announced in 2020, we can’t help but ask the obvious question: what other Sega franchises could make the jump to live action?
Sega’s more cartoony properties would probably be better suited to animation (does anyone really want a live action Alex Kidd or ToeJam & Earl?), but others, whether it be from a visual or story standpoint, might work surprisingly well with the right creative team behind them.
The likes of Lord Of The Rings, Game of Thrones, and Dungeons & Dragons have undoubtedly helped high fantasy stories become more mainstream in recent years. Inspired by the Conan the Barbarian movies, Golden Axe is one of the more obvious picks for a live action adaptation.
Essentially the fantasy equivalent to fellow beat ‘em-up Streets Of Rage, Golden Axe’s minimal plot, of three warriors saving the land from an evil tyrant, can easily be expanded upon in a movie without risk of deviating too much from the source material.
Plus, whereas Sonic The Hedgehog is a family friendly affair, a Golden Axe movie could afford to be a bit bloodier and more violent. Maybe not too violent, though. Some of us still remember Golden Axe: Beast Rider and its attempts to offer a more mature experience by aping God Of War.
We were going to include Jet Set Radio on this list, but its stylised art style means it would lose a lot of its charm and personality if translated into live action. Crazy Taxi, on the other hand, would be a much better fit.
While the series is incredibly over the top, that comes from the ridiculous stunts and fast-paced action more than the visuals, which are fairly grounded. At the end of the day, you are playing as a normal taxi driver.
Admittedly, none of the games have ever had a traditional plot, but when has that stopped movie studios before? The original Streets Of Rage has barely any story either and that’s still getting a movie.
The best course of action would be to treat a Crazy Taxi movie like a comedy. Maybe conjure up a Rat Race-like scenario where the different cabbies are all competing to make the most money and things escalate from there, resulting in city-wide destruction. Oh, and bring back The Offspring and Bad Religion for the soundtrack.
One of Sega’s more modern properties, it’d arguably make more sense to make an animated Valkyria Chronicles movie given the series’ anime inspired graphics. However, it’s not as if Valkyria Chronicles has an especially esoteric or high concept premise, that wouldn’t work for live action.
The series takes place in an alternate 20th century Europe, depicting a war between the nation of Gallia and the invading East European Imperial Alliance. Its military setting and themes could easily make for a gripping and emotional narrative.
A potential movie wouldn’t even necessarily need to adapt the plots of any of the games, and instead tell an original story with a new cast of characters. Although series regular Selvaria Bles would probably still need to make an appearance.
While Street Fighter, Tekken, and Mortal Kombat have seen multiple movie adaptations, both animated and live action, the closest Virtua Fighter got was a short-lived anime series in the mid-nineties.
Admittedly, the series has never been as popular as its rivals, but the release of Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown seemed to point to Sega trying to bring it back into the spotlight. Fans would no doubt prefer a Virtua Fighter 6 game to a movie, but it would make for a great cross-promotion and raise awareness of the series.
The games do have an ongoing narrative, but it’s barely touched upon, especially when compared to the modern Street Fighter and Tekken games, with their dedicated story modes.
A movie would ideally leave Virtua Fighter’s plot about an evil company making cyborg fighters at the door and maybe focus on something more character driven. Be it mascot Akira’s pursuit of skill and strength or martial arts movie star Pai’s quest to defeat her father.
The House Of The Dead
Wait, isn’t there already a live action House Of The Dead movie? Why, yes, there is. Two of them in fact, but they’re both awful and nobody likes them. Although the fact they verge on ‘so bad, they’re good’ for some people at least means their accurate adaptations.
Still, an actually good movie would be appreciated, but it would need to reflect the goofy, ridiculous charm of the games. The House Of The Dead: Overkill spin-off would be the perfect basis for a new movie.
Rather than try and modernise the series with a well-written story and characters, this non-canonical prequel embraced the nonsense, straddling the line between a zombie B-movie and a parody of one. That’s the sort of tone a House Of The Dead movie should go for, rather than try to be self-serious like the more modern Resident Evil games.
We also want to give Shenmue a special mention since, out of all of Sega’s franchises, it’s possibly the most perfect fit for a live action movie due to its heavy emphasis on story and characters. Plus, out of everything on this list, its setting is the most grounded with very few fantastical elements.
However, we omitted it from the list because of one reason: the series hasn’t ended. Ryo’s quest to avenge his father’s death has been ongoing since 1999 and, after three games, he’s no closer to achieving that.
Any potential Shenmue movie would have to only focus on the first game and end on a deliberate cliffhanger, unless they decide to deviate from the source material entirely and risk upsetting fans by depicting Ryo taking his revenge.
With how long the games are taking to conclude Ryo’s story, the last thing Sega should do is try and turn it into a movie series as well.
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