I believe that many will agree that there’s a level of hesitancy surrounding movies or TV series based on video games. Few have been successful like Detective Pikachu or the most recent Mortal Combat, while most were cringe-inducing like Hitman or Assassin’s Creed (I didn’t know there were movies based on these fantastic games until I looked it up. Now, I regret it). Why are game-to-film adaptations a challenge to get right? That is a Boss Rush Banter for another day.
If I were to steer away from triple-A titles, the game I’d most want to see become a film or series would be SOMA. Released in 2015 by Frictional Games. It’s a horror survival title with incredible potential to be a psychological thriller. Game play is approximately ten hours and would likely suffice as a movie; however, I think a series could expand some elements and become a blockbuster.
I do want to point out now that there are a couple live action shorts available on Youtube that serve as a prequel of sorts. There’s been some debate online, and there’s a general consensus that it was inspired by the game and not cannon. Regardless, I still believe that a series based off the game itself would be a hit because it’s the unknown that makes SOMA so terrifying.
SOMA is about a young man named Simon Jarrett who sustains a severe brain injury after an auto accident. He is prone to bleeds, and his prognosis doesn’t look good. He decides to try an experimental treatment with a PhD student, David Munshi, involving a brain scan. When Simon wakes up from this scan, he finds himself in a completely different, and horrifying, environment. He meets up with his only ally, Catherine, and traverses monster-infested bases in order to escape PATHOS-II. All the while, they encounter robots that believe they are human.
What this potential series could expand on more is the science-fiction element involving the WAU. It is a form of artificial intelligence to aid those that once worked on PATHOS-II. It uses black goop called structure gel to help repair things as needed. After a world-changing catastrophe, the WAU acted to keep humanity alive at all costs, but didn’t take into consideration of quality of life. Throughout SOMA, WAU was seen as a cancerous entity spreading throughout PATHOS-II and into the ocean. Simon encounters Dr. Johan Ross who urges him to destroy the WAU. This leg of the story seemed to come suddenly, and a TV series could dig even deeper into this concept.
This game boasts a strong narrative, exploring what the human consciousness is and what humanity means. What makes you, you? I’ve spent many a nights awake having an existential crisis because of SOMA. Because of this, I would quickly jump on the bandwagon if a network were to ever pick this up.
For those that haven’t played SOMA, I highly recommend it. I’m a certified scaredy cat, but after speaking with my friends at Boss Rush, I was determined to play through it for the story’s sake. It was worth it. Still not sure? Check out Boss Rush’s Talk the Walk episode on SOMA.
I love this topic, and I know for a fact there are hundreds of franchises that could make for a an excellent film or series. Please share them with us in Discord!