On Monday, publisher Raw Fury announced a new first-look deal with dJ2 Entertainment for adapting their publishing catalogue into film and television series. And in the same moment, we’ve just heard word of a live-action version of the classic action-adventure, System Shock.
There’s already an opening salvo of planned adaptations from Raw Fury’s publishing pile, including the recently released and absolutely phenomenal Sable, the taxi driving murder mystery, Night Call, and the nightmare-capitalism adventure game, Mosaic.
Of course, a first-look deal doesn’t at all guarantee we’ll see dJ2 adaptations of all of Raw Fury’s catalogue, or even most of it. It just promises that when Raw Fury is looking to get an adaptation, dJ2 is the first studio to get the offer.
This deal makes a lot of sense given dJ2’s recent portfolio. The studio helped to executive produce 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog, and the team continues work on its sequel. Additionally, it is acting as executive producer on projects like live-action series of Life is Strange, Disco Elysium, and Sleeping Dogs.
This is not, however, the only video game based TV show that’s been announced today. The upcoming streaming and gaming content platform, Binge, announced that it would be producing a System Shock live-action series, in addition to its other projects including a live-action adaptation of Ubisoft’s Driver series. If you don’t remember Driver that’s fine, I don’t blame you. When I saw that name in the press release my mind felt blanketed in a solemn haze as I futilely tried to grasp at a childhood memory of the series. Ubisoft hasn’t touched Driver since 2014, when they released a speedboat-based mobile game. Adapting Driver in 2021 is so inexplicable that I cannot help being curious about what the hell it’s going to turn into.
Bemused confusion encapsulates a lot of my feelings around live-action adaptations of video games, actually. Real successes are few and far between. Castlevania was a surprise hit, and The Witcher barely counts because it’s as much an adaptation of the books as it is the games. However, these recent successes, combined with a growing number of animated—or partially animated—film adaptations, marks a new generation of video games being awkwardly spun into other mediums. I would love to see more stories told in the worlds of Sable, Disco Elysium, and...Driver, but I remain to be convinced that this is the way to do it. I’ve been burned too many times before.