Historically speaking, video games have never transitioned smoothly to TV or movies. It’s only recently that adaptations of our favorite games have begun to turn out to not only be watchable, but also incredibly well-made in their own right. From Cyberpunk: Edgerunners to Tekken Bloodline, more and more video game franchises are finally receiving the justice they deserve.
But there are plenty of more stories to be told, and the RPG genre has countless IP worthy of receiving some love. With anime remaining as popular as ever, while giving creators limitless possibilities, let’s examine iconic RPGs that would make fantastic anime.
The Mass Effect games revolutionized storytelling within gaming. Players felt immersed in the sci-fi epic due to how each game from the original trilogy gave them a sense of immediacy. From customizing their Shepard to deciding the fates of alien civilizations, the weight of the universe was on the shoulders of anyone who played these games.
However, the overall plot was far from the only draw of the Mass Effect games. Players ultimately became attached to the characterization of iconic characters such as Garrus, Rex, and many more personalities with unique backstories and motivations for joining your crew. Writers of the original games thought carefully about each bit of lore that made up the world, and while there was an overarching threat, the game’s enjoyment was more about the journey than the final destination.
In terms of how the game could transition into an anime, episodes could focus on different conflicts, species, and topics within the universe. The structure of the title already allows for the story to be told episodically and there’s no reason why showrunners couldn’t expand even more on the lore of the world. Plus, writers of this show could avoid the pitfalls of the final entry and write a narrative that features a more satisfying conclusion.
Final Fantasy 14
Picking which Final Fantasy game to turn into an anime was difficult, but 14 has the most possibilities. Not only is the story already beloved by millions of fans but the nature of the MMO allows storytellers to really take their time developing the world. Multiple characters, factions, and viewpoints can become the focal point and the show can streamline certain aspects of the story. For example, FF14 can take a while for its story to pick up steam but with an anime, they can jump right into the interesting content from the off.
Not only that, but there’s a chance for crossover events to occur and create something truly special in terms of how they deliver the narrative. Similar to how Game of Thrones readers would compare the show in real-time, fans of XIV could do the same and developers could somehow create content that influences the show. Regardless, this unrealized project could have the potential to send shockwaves throughout the industry if handled right.
A Bloodborne anime with three or four seasons would astound countless fans. Since the original debut of the game back in 2015, Bloodborne remains a certified classic for many gamers. The art-style, weapons, combat, characters, and lore are screaming for an ultra-violent anime adaptation. And for the first time in a Souls title, the narrative can be told in a straightforward manner that makes things easier for newcomers to understand while retaining the material’s subtext.
Each season could cover the rise and fall of Yharnam. Eventually, the series could culminate with the arrival of the hunter from the game. If the show becomes popular enough, fans may even get the long-awaited sequel. Until then, fans will have to start their 300th playthrough of the masterpiece from FromSoft.
Yakuza: Like A Dragon
The Yakuza franchise is hotter than ever, and why not add more kerosene to the fire by releasing an anime? And since Like A Dragon features a new protagonist who blends perfectly into the established lore, the anime could follow Ichiban Kasuga’s story from 7 while having multiple cameos from other characters. Because the series excels at blending serious topics with whacky humor, it’s easy to see how an anime set in the universe could appeal to all types of people.
Of course, the fight scenes would have to be over-the-top to remain true to the source material, meaning that stop signs, baseball bats, and literally, anything is a weapon in the Yakuza world. Where the story would go is very hard to guess since the franchise is far from over, but each season could feature self-contained stories with satisfying conclusions.
Seeing the art-style of a Fallout anime would be fascinating enough. Due to the series being made for western audiences, a Japanese take on the classic designs would be awesome to see. The Fallout franchise also has some of the best writing ever produced in the medium. The way that the series comments on the human condition and the post-nuclear annihilation of modern society is masterful, to say the least. The games embody dark humor with a mixture of cynicism and hope that’s remained exciting for two decades.
With an anime adaptation, we could follow a brand new cast of characters during any timeline from the Fallout universe. Whether it’s before the bombs dropped or after, the content invites a lot of exploration. However, having a build-up to the bombs dropping for a season could expand the lore in a way never before seen for longtime fans of the games.
Another game series that would have an awesome art-style as an anime is Diablo. The series is notorious for its glorious CGI trailers that show off its unique aesthetic, and a show that comes close to this level of animation would astonish viewers everywhere. If the series walks a tightrope of being beautiful and grotesque, it could capture the imaginations of individuals who never would’ve looked at a Diablo show.
In terms of story, the roadmap is already there for the show to follow. It would just have to package its themes and characters in a way that the average person can understand without needing to dive deep into the Diablo wiki. But at the end of the day, Diablo is a series that focuses on the slaying of countless demons by badass heroes from different walks of life. As long as the core cast of characters possesses amazing abilities and good banter, the show has a great chance of experiencing success.
Also, Diablo himself has to be a formidable threat. The show can’t be named after him without making him terrifying. The Devil needs to be scary in a physical and conceptual way to raise the odds. Maybe he could appear at the end of every season or remain hidden until the show’s conclusion, but no matter what, he needs to be evil incarnate.
Do you realize how much money Disney, Square Enix, and whatever animation studio stands to make in the wake of a Kingdom Hearts show? With infinite worlds, characters, and money at their disposal, the show could either loosely follow the convoluted plot of the games or go in a completely different direction. It does not matter as long as the show features iconic characters from various Disney and Square Enix worlds.
Similar to the games, the show could experiment with multiple art-styles throughout the seasons to match the characters from different worlds, and fans would enjoy a visual treat of sights and sounds for sure. Now, will the story be thought-provoking and revolutionary storytelling in fiction? Probably not, but it would provide an entertaining romp through multiple legendary worlds.
Undertale took the gaming world by storm a few years ago. Gamers contemplated their lives upon completing the game and looked inward in ways that video games typically don’t require of their players. From its retro art style to its quirky characters, Undertale remains a modern classic that’s aging like fine wine. However, an anime adaptation could flesh out the world even more and add fun action scenes not capable in the game.
Not only that, but the show could experiment with having viewers make their own decisions and receive different endings. Of course, viewers could opt out of this interactive experience, but making someone question their actions might push the boundaries of the anime genre. Maybe the show does not need to go on for five seasons, but one or two seasons is enough time to introduce the beloved set of characters from the show and have them undergo fulfilling arcs.
Weirdly enough, Hades already feels like a well-made show that’s been around forever. Even after completing your first run in the original game, you will get a sense of connection with all of the characters. From its music, design, and incredible dialogue, Hades is a gaming experience truly like no other.
But what if you didn’t have to die hundreds of times to get the full picture? That’s where a show could piece together the important bits of the story, and make something digestible for audiences with limited time. Honestly, the show could just copy the art-style and music from the game without little pushback from fans.
And while creating an anime is far from an easy task, the pieces for a successful Hades show are already in place and need a strong direction that’s faithful to the source material. Plus, with Hades II coming out soon, this is an IP here to stay.
Disco Elysium is a work of art. This weird detective RPG with a unique art style is something that came out of the blue and delivered an experience like no other. The story is one that tackles complex themes with a certain level of class that’s rarely found in other works of fiction. However, the writing is so good that the game never attempts to push an agenda onto players. Rather, the game allows players to truly become the character they want to be during the course of the narrative.
Now, transitioning this story to an anime would be challenging in some regard, because Disco Elysium is not exactly an action RPG. The game’s strong suits are in allowing players to talk with interesting characters and piece details of the world together. A strong team of writers is required to even match the quality of the game, but the skeleton of a good story is already there.
But what say you, though Did we miss anything? Can you think of anymore RPGs that would make a good anime series? Sound off in the usual place down below to let us know.
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