With the success of The Last of Us on HBO, mark my words, you are about to see an even bigger explosion of video game adaptation projects than we’ve already seen in recent years. Many of them have gone poorly, like Netflix’s Resident Evil and Paramount’s Halo, and the ones that do seem to work are animated, Arcane and Castlevania. But The Last of Us is a special case, a huge budget, high-prestige, game-faithful adaptation.
There are few games I’d consider as possible adaptions on par with something like that. Whoever is going to finally commit to trying to do a Mass Effect show might be the closest. There actually were some rumors about two years ago that Amazon was trying to do just that, but nothing since (Amazon is also making a God of War series, which should be similarly large-scale).
I am curious, however, about if anyone will be brave enough to throw a metric ton of money at a Cyberpunk 2077 adaptation.
- As Netflix just showed with Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, if handled correctly, there is obviously room for incredible stories to be told within the world of Night City.
- Cyberpunk 2077’s core story and main characters are actually great, whether we’re talking about V, Panam, Judy or River. It also has a built-in movie star ready to hop aboard, Keanu Reeves. Now the game is adding Idris Elba for DLC, which could also be adapted.
- The main complaints about Cyberpunk were about how it functioned as a game. It was a technical mess at launch and lacked a lot of basic open world mechanics (police chases) or common quality of life features (character redesign, clothing previews). But it’s a hugely known IP now, boosted by two years of game patches and Edgerunners itself. And CDPR clearly has long term plans for it with upcoming DLC and a greenlit sequel.
Casting Cyberpunk 2077 would certainly be an interesting case. Again, it has Keanu Reeves there from the start as Johnny Silverhand, and you know if he was willing to return to market and star in new DLC, he would absolutely be down for a show playing the role in live action.
For V themselves, they get to be kind of a blank slate, and their custom face and body means you can essentially cast anyone here. While my ideal pick would probably just being letting female V voice actress Cherami Leigh play V in live action, I suppose it opens the door to attach another A-lister as a draw in that lead role, if not.
Other characters? Off the top of my head Panam clone Tristin Mays playing that role. I’ll pick Eiza Gonzalez for Judy. Hiroyuki Sanada for Takemura. Haven’t figured out River, Kerry or Jackie just yet. But the fact is pretty much all non-Johnny roles would need to be played by screen actors, as the voice actors simply don’t look the part.
The biggest problem with a live-action Cyberpunk adaptation would be cost. I cannot imagine how much it would take to bring something like Night City to life in a believable way, and skimping on that wouldn’t let the show work at all. Plus all the practical and digital effects you’d need to execute cyberware-based fight sequences, bringing the wildness of Edgerunner and the game to real life.
My guess is someone will take this on, eventually, but in an era where streaming services have generally been cutting budgets, this may be the wrong time. Amazon seems to be okay with unlimited spending, but I’m not sure Netflix would commit, even after Edgerunners. But trust me, people are going to want their own piece of The Last of Us going forward, that’s for sure.