Amazon Developing Shows For Two More Fan-Favorite Video Game Franchises

By Michileen Martin | 3 months ago

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We might be seeing a challenge to the superhero dominance in screen media. While “video game adaptation” used to mean bad news for studios making anything beyond Saturday morning cartoons, the success of Netflix’s Arcane, Tom Holland’s Uncharted, the Sonic the Hedgehog film series, and the presumed success of Paramount+’s Halo is apparently making video game franchises seem like safer bets. Following suit, Amazon Studios recently closed a deal to develop TV series for two fan-favorite game franchises: Life Is Strange and Disco Elysium.

Collider reported on the deal between Amazon Studios and production company dj2 Entertainment last week, hinting that we could expect much more than the Life Is Strange and Disco Elysium adaptations in the future. The agreement reportedly will give Amazon the opportunity to exclusively stream any adaptations they come up with for dj2 properties. Nor will this be dj2’s first time at bat with gaming adaptations — dj2 is one of the companies behind 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog as well as Netflix’s upcoming Tomb Raider animated series.

life is strange

One thing that makes the news about these two adaptations interesting is that so much of their appeal comes from the choices during the games’ play-throughs. Life Is Strange‘s first entry released in 2015, with four more games to follow including last year’s Life Is Strange: True Colors. Each game offers a different kind of power to the player, such as the ability to turn back time or to manipulate objects with their mind. The decisions the players make can greatly impact the outcome of the game, much like the releases Telltale Games has been known for.

Likewise, Disco Elysium is an indie-produced roleplaying game in which player choice has a lot to do with how things turn out. In fact, most of the mechanics of Disco Elysium revolve around choices made through dialogue options, including options presented with the hero — a detective suffering drug-induced amnesia — speaking only to himself. The game was released in 2019 to rave reviews.

disco elysium

It raises the question of exactly what Amazon and dj2 Entertainment have in store for these TV series. The popularity of both Life Is Strange and Disco Elysium relies heavily on players being able to make their own choices. Is Amazon planning on experimenting with the same kind of choose-your-own-adventure format that Netflix toyed with for Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend? Or are they going to simply supply the narratives without what made the stories so compelling?

It’s far too early to tell exactly what plans Amazon has for either series, but we do know that whenever they premiere, they’re likely to not be the only video game adaptations in production on Amazon Prime Video. Back in November, we learned that a Mass Effect series was in development at Amazon. Like in the other games, choice does play a large role in the Mass Effect games, but not to the same degree. The games are also set in a sprawling sci-fi galaxy filled with aliens and interstellar conflicts that can prove entertaining all on their own without questions of interactivity.