Fallout screams “Film me!” I’ve thought about it, you’ve thought about it, my buddy who wrote 10 pages of a fucking sweet script in college thought about it. Aesthetically, we’re right. The combination of Americana, apocalyptic landscapes, and crazy Red Scare tech is the kind of thing that keeps Neill Blomkamp up at night with a half-chub. It would combine the thrills of Mad Max with the creepy night giggling of The Hills Have Eyes.
The characters are there, too. Imagine Tom Hardy standing in the Brotherhood of Steel airship, shouting in detail about how goddamn much he hates robots. Picture Anthony Hopkins smoking a cigar atop Tenpenny Tower, or Marion Cotillard as Magnolia, the smoky lounge rat who just wouldn’t sleep with me, my wife is dead now, can’t you see I’m hurting?
But what’s not there, unfortunately, is a solid premise of conflict. Half of the appeal of Fallout is the ability to be awful. You can kill innocents, steal stuff, blow up a village, or do any other chaotic act befitting a post-apocalyptic shithole.
Part of the issue longtime fans have with the newer games is their increasing sense of goodness. In Fallout 4 especially, being evil is kinda half-assed. You can nuke Boston, sure, but you also care about your wife and son, whereas in Fallout 3 you can give a giant middle finger to your childhood friend and bully alike. It doesn’t hurt that you feel like you’re one dialogue option away from being beaten to death at all times in Fallout 3. In the original Fallout, you can even kill kids, cementing yourself forever as evil incarnate.
That moral ambiguity does not a movie make.
I would add The Last of Us to that list. I know some people think that would be a perfect game to make into a film as it has a linear narrative – but that’s why it’s pointless to do so, as it alreaady is a movie. It’s just a movie that makes you have to do stuff to view the next scene. (I suppose maybe the story would reach a larger audience and they’d potentially make a lot more money from it.)