10) God of War
You’ve got a great backdrop with Greek myths, a powerful, imposing figure with larger than life ambitions, and plenty of characters even grander than him. More importantly, it’s all wrapped up in what’s ultimately a story about a father and son at odds with each other about the son’s life choices.
God of War is synonymous with sex, blood, and mutilation. But there were times in each of the games where Kratos’ monstrous personality would be peeled back to reveal the wounded animal inside, and with the new title giving him a son to redeem himself through, it’s doubtful that the son won’t learn about the type of man his father used to be.
While it’d be easy to just say to recreate the Greek era of Kratos’ life and call it a day, the new Norse environments lend themselves to the musical treatment as well. There’s the sense of discovery that can come with learning about this strange, new world that Kratos inhabits, coming to terms with the monster that he used to be, and so on and so forth.
In some ways, think Gypsy, but with a hell of a lot more blood and guts. Speaking of, remember the finale song “Rose’s Turn” and the ultimate admission that everything she did, she did for herself? Doesn’t that sound similar to what a certain Ghost of Sparta would say after he’s destroyed the world and its Greek gods?
9) Final Fantasy
By now, the Final Fantasy games are the gaming equivalent of soap operas and musicals, with enough lavish fashion and garish excess that even Hedonismbot would consider it overkill. If you think that’s not true, just go ahead and look back at the XIII trilogy. Yeah, exactly; it’s like someone at Square Enix let Baz Luhrmann be a designer for a week and no one had the guts to tell him “no” because they really liked Moulin Rouge.
In fact, that same excess and overkill is exactly what would make Final Fantasy a shoe-in for the stage. Maybe not quite as much as, say, Great Gatsby, but perhaps something more in line with Rouge, Romeo + Juliet, or The Get Down. A love story, references to mythological deities and impeccable fashion, but all with an FF twist. And also be sure to include the goofy stuff in there at some point, like the selfies and the Chocobos. All the selfies.
Before writing this off, remember that Nintendo has been both praised and mocked for being a company that essentially makes toys for kids, moreso than their distinguished competition. Splatoon is easily their most kid-friendly property right now, and has an easy hook: make a mess to win the game. Making a mess is an easy sell to anyone under the age of say, seven or eight, and it allows Nintendo to have a musical that rivals The Wiggles, which cleans up with kids.
All you’d need is some music that straddles the line between weirdly catchy and annoyingly persistent in your head, some lights, and squid costumes that put Left Shark to shame. Once all those are in place, you’ve got a show kids won’t shut up about until they force their parents to see it over and over again.
You may have missed some of it during all that throat slitting and rat transforming, but there’s an interesting story about politics in the pair of Dishonored games. Of course, Arkane doesn’t entirely want you to get caught up in that, they’re more interested in showing how self guilt drives a person to do anything to reclaim something of great personal value.
Should there be any musical to pull from inspiration, the best candidate should be Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. Both of Arkane’s stealth titles have featured attempts to remove Emily Kaldwin and Corvo Attano from power, and both games have played around with the idea of political revolutions to some degree or another, thanks to the different endings they each possess. While not an entirely 1:1 comparison, Corvo does want to redeem himself through his daughter Emily, not unlike Les Mis’ Jean Valjean. In the 15 years between the two games, that dynamic likely hasn’t gone away, and it would be interesting to see the two travel that path as he starts training his daughter in the way of taking lives.
Dishonored is partially inspired by 19th century London, from the music to the architecture. Dunwall is a messy city that, in the time between the two games, was likely home to some kind of uprising or two that didn’t end well. When combining that in with the fact that the incredibly creepy Outsider is always watching Attano and Kaldwin, how could that not be a musical?
Monsters, magic, and sex. Who wouldn’t want an entire musical about that starring our favorite white-haired slayer of beasts? CD Projekt Red has closed the book on Geralt of Rivia’s adventures for the near future, but the good thing about the Witcher books is that there’s plenty of source material to draw from in order to make an authentic representation of the fantasy world players have come to know and love.
Geralt is one of the last few Witchers alive, and with that in mind, it’d be good to explore the world from their perspective. Maybe they’ve traveled to a region of the world where people are more receptive to the “mutants,” maybe not. Not every monster hunter has the same day to day life. Maybe some of them travel in a group and find themselves a new magical threat to contend with. And of course, the classic Witcher humor has to come into play during the proceedings, along with Gwent. Think of it like Sweeney Todd, but without the cannibalism and more decapitations.
5) Last of Us
Music and sound are already a big part of the Last of Us franchise to some degree, so why not take it a step further? The good thing about a world ravaged by an apocalypse is that it allows you to really get into the psyche of your characters and explore what makes them tick when they’re at their lowest moment, or what they’d do to cope with the harsh reality of the world.
This would be a great chance to see this universe from the eyes of characters unconnected to Joel and Ellie, but still live in the United States, or even a different country altogether. Someone out there has to be faring slightly better (or much, much worse) than our leads, after all. It would probably be a little less action packed in terms of original songs, but not every musical is packed to the gills with action, either. In fact, given how sound is pretty important in that franchise, silencing noisy attendees with a visit from the Clicker would be more than a little appropriate….
4) Watch Dogs 2
Watch Dogs 2 is a much different beast from its predecessor, and nowhere is that more apparent than in tone. Instead of being a dour, cynical game, it’s much more caring and wears its heart on its sleeve. Even if its thematic execution is debatably clumsy, you can tell that it wants you to have a good time. You can see that mainly through its soundtrack, which avoids being cliche dubstep and goes for a more harmonious and relaxed vibe, the kind of thing you listen to while you’re out driving.
As much of a stretch that it would be to consider this, the musical best to draw from would be Hamilton. It’s easy to imagine that Ubisoft would rather reserve that lofty comparison for their open world franchise actually based on historical heroes, but it can still apply here. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s historical hip hop biography may have more to say about its lead character than Watch Dogs 2 does, but there’s still the gender and racial struggles of the DedSec cast that can make the whole enterprise worth exploring in and of itself.
Or, to put it in another way, just lean into the whole childish angle that was so present in the game itself. Give Wrench his big rock out moment where he’s breaking shit while inventing it, show him and Marcus having a musical argument over who’d win between two comic book superheroes. Make the cheesiest villain imaginable and give them a big solo where they announce they’re the villain in the most overdone way possible. Can’t say it wouldn’t be fitting.
The good thing about the Zelda games is that all of them are mostly unrelated to each other, thanks to that whole reincarnation business, and you can easily slot in a new version of Link and friends at a moment’s notice.
Goofy as it would be to have everyone but Link sing and dance, you know Nintendo would be totally game for it. It certainly wouldn’t even be close to the weirdest thing that they’ve done with the characters, and it may even allow them to be more self aware about the repeating cycle of their games, a la A Very Potter Musical. In fact, they could make that the central premise of the whole ordeal, how across all continuities, Link hasn’t ever spoken a single word (we don’t count those other games). Build up to it, then at the very end, just have him give a show stopper finale song. Or close the curtains as he opens his mouth, whichever is funnier.
2) Mafia III
Given its 1960s setting and the racial turmoil during that time period, it’s safe to say that Mafia III is one of the more appropriate games worthy of the musical treatment. Every big moment in the game is enhanced by the music, whether that’s hearing “Paint It Black” as Lincoln and his family get betrayed, or the original soundtrack providing guitar strums as the Senate hearing grouses over Clay’s effect on New Bordeaux. And that’s to say nothing of the writing and narrative, whose combination of rich characters and documentary-style presentation make the whole game worth experiencing just for that alone.
Ragtime took a similar route, turning the racial tensions of the past into a musical dissection of loss. Mafia III by far has enough loss, pain, and vengeful tones to offer up the same, and 2K’s careful recreation of the time would definitely not be lost on a musical version.
Is it too soon to say that Blizzard’s hot new phenomenon should do us a little jingle on the stage? Maybe, but the various interconnected lives of its 23 and counting heroes reaches West Side Story levels of large scale. You know it’d be fun to watch play out.
Lucio may be the only one with a musical background, but that doesn’t mean that the other characters are devoid of talent as well. Think about it, and ask yourself if you wouldn’t want Pharah to sing a song about JUSTICE or watch Bastion perform a cute melody about its little bird friend. And then give McCree an entire song about high noon, because why have him on hand otherwise?
And just for fun, even though they would likely never do this, this would be the great opportunity to reveal a new character. The likeliness of this all happening is probably low, since Warcraft didn’t take off the way they expected, but it’s nice to dream.