After the vast video game adaptation success stories that were Cyberpunk Edgerunners, League of Legends: Arcane, The Witcher, and others, it seems Microsoft is ready to go all-in on the big screen.
Microsoft and Netflix just revealed the Gears of War movie and TV show as of writing, making me think it was about time we did a look back over all the upcoming Xbox projects Microsoft is adapting for TV.
Microsoft was arguably ahead of the curve in this space. The firm actually built a division called Xbox Entertainment back in 2012, designed to adapt and produce movie content internally for its games and franchises. Quantum Break's in-game live action TV show was one of the only projects from that effort that ever saw the light of day, and hey, it was pretty good in my opinion. Alas, the awkward landing of the Xbox One console era saw widespread refocusing, leading to Xbox Entertainment being cut entirely.
Fast forward to now, and streaming services have become absolutely huge. We've seen various video game adaptations bring massive benefits to existing games (as long as the shows are, you know, good), giving Microsoft a strong opportunity to bring its games to new, mainstream audiences.
Here are all the projects we currently know are in the works at Microsoft, adapting some of its biggest franchises from its upcoming Xbox console and PC games.
Gears of War movie
Announced on November 7, 2022, Netflix revealed that its partnering with Xbox, Microsoft, and Gears of War developer The Coalition on adapting the storied franchise for TV.
The first project referenced by the streaming giant is a Gears of War movie, which has long been rumored and requested by fans and even Hollywood actors alike. Famously, Dave Bautista of Guardians of the Galaxy fame signaled his interest in building a Gears of War movie, so it stands to right that he could be in the running to portray the series' main character Marcus Fenix.
Gears of War was released 16 years ago today and to mark the occasion, Netflix has partnered with The Coalition to adapt the @GearsofWar video game saga into a live action feature film, followed by an adult animated series — with the potential for more stories to follow! pic.twitter.com/3zInFSnUu4November 7, 2022
Gears of War 'adult' animated show
Alongside the Gears of War movie, Netflix revealed that it's making an "adult" TV adaptation of the Gears universe as well. Naturally, little to nothing is known about either the TV show or the movie, including timelines, but Netflix has seen a ton of success with animated features for adults in recent years.
Cyberpunk Edgerunners, Castlevania, and other animated video game adaptations have absolutely blown up certain franchises. The Netflix "Arcane" League of Legends show is among the platform's most popular of all time, and if they can give Gears the same treatment, fans should be in for a treat.
Fallout TV show
Long in production, Amazon Prime TV finally revealed the first image from the Fallout TV show for the franchise's 25th anniversary, giving fans a (blurry) glimpse at the apocalyptic adaptation.
Fallout is about an alternative world future where the Cold War turned very hot, leading to a nuclear war and thus, nuclear winter. Survivors who hid in Vault-Tec bunkers emerged to a vastly changed land, filled with radioactive mutants, warring raiders, and insane robots.
Congratulations and Happy 25th Birthday! We made something special for the occasion. #Fallout #Fallout25 @BethesdaStudios @Bethesda @Fallout @Kilter_Films pic.twitter.com/eFg7t5O8WaOctober 25, 2022
Not a huge amount is known about the Fallout TV show's direction, but given the hyper-violent and mature themes of the game franchises, I would expect the TV show to follow suit.
Some photographs have leaked from the production, and fans were tentatively optimistic given the authentic feel of the sets.
This leaked image from the set from Amazon's Fallout TV show is giving me heavy Fallout 3 vibes. I'm actually excited to see more... pic.twitter.com/IHj5LpwCKIAugust 17, 2022
I drove past the old Shop Rite on Hylan today and at the light thought “damn, that went downhill fast.” Turns out they’re filming the Fallout TV series there and it’s been purposefully decayed unlike every other strip mall on Staten Island. pic.twitter.com/yUjKSQF4atJuly 16, 2022
Grounded TV show
In another win for Netflix, Microsoft announced that it's partnering with the streaming giant on a TV adaptation of Grounded.
Grounded is a sci-fi survival adventure where four teens are shrunk down to the size of ants. Similar to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, the survivors are tasked with building shelter, scavenging supplies, and avoiding the gargantuan predatory bugs that roam the undergrowth.
Not a huge amount is known about the direction of the Grounded TV show, but we suspect it will be kid-friendly, albeit with a dark edge (much like the game, those spiders are serious business.) Brent Friedman who worked on the immensely successful Star Wars: The Clone Wars show is behind the adaptation, so it's fair to expect similar levels of quality.
Halo TV show (season 2)
Perhaps the most controversial video game adaptation of recent years, the Halo TV show on Paramount+ is getting a second season.
The Halo TV show is a "reimagining" of the iconic sci-fi shooter franchise and bears no relationship with the recent Halo Infinite installment of the Xbox games series. Halo sees a futuristic humanity attacked by a demented religious civilization known as The Covenant. Using ancient technology, the Covenant seeks to activate a mysterious Halo ring, to bring about the destruction of the universe with the aim of traveling to their interpretation of the afterlife.
The show was criticized by fans for straying heavily from the source material, although it appears to have been a hit for Paramount+ and has enjoyed some popularity with those who aren't necessarily interested in the games themselves. The show was successful enough to be granted a second season, so it remains to be seen whether or not the production team will try to appease fans with a closer look at the source material this time around.
Long in development, the Minecraft movie is being distributed by Warner Bros, although given the upheaval at the movie studio, it could be some time before we see it emerge from the depths of the nether.
Announced originally in 2016, the movie was originally targeting a 2019 launch. But obviously, that didn't happen. The most recent updates suggest that Jared Hess who directed Napoleon Dynamite is adapting the film and that Jason Momoa of Aquaman fame is in negotiations to star in it. There's almost no hard information about it beyond this, making it hard to know for sure if this movie even actually still exists or not.
The official announcement of its 2022 incarnation has been deleted from the official Minecraft blog, which doesn't exactly paint a rosy picture. We've reached out to Microsoft to confirm whether or not this project even still exists.
Doubtless, there are more Xbox TV shows on the way
Microsoft has a vast treasure trove of intellectual property it could potentially adapt for both big and small screens. Fallout, Gears, Halo, Minecraft, and Grounded are absolutely obvious franchises for making the leap to wider media, but you'd have to assume other games would be great candidates as well.
I could see Microsoft adapting the upcoming Hellblade franchise for TVs, and should they land Activision Blizzard, adapting Warcraft, Starcraft, or Diablo 4 would also be obvious candidates. A thriller based on Perfect Dark might also be a great tie-in for the upcoming game as well, or perhaps even a big Starfield movie with space opera vibes.
Without a doubt, the above listings aren't the only movie and TV shows Microsoft is in talks for development. After the utterly wild success of Edgerunners spin off for Cyberpunk 2077 and others, I suspect we're going to see more movie video game franchises take advantage of this sort of mainstream exposure now, and in the future too.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!