Top 10 Cinematic Video Game Studios

November 29, 2012 at 6:07 am

Top 10 Cinematic Game Studios

People go to the movies for a cinematic experience.  Video games can provide a similar experience with an added level of immersion and interactivity.  Over the last few years, I’ve become obsessed with video games that play out like movies.

We’ve been given countless movie like experiences in video games but today I’d like to focus on the studios behind them.  The top 10 cinematic game studios.


I’m currently wrapped up in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  It’s been dominating most of my free time for a while.  Giant RPGs are tricky because they don’t really present a single narrative but that’s also an advantage.  The ‘movie’ is different for every single player depending on the choices they make.

The big draw in games like Skyrim is the world itself.  Bethesda Softworks creates incredibly detailed and wonderful worlds to explore.

10. BLIZZARD – World of Warcraft

You hear stories about divorces being blamed on Azeroth.  While I never got into World of Warcraft, I was completely obsessed with the Warcraft real time strategy games.  It was worth it for the cut scenes alone.  Blizzard has always created amazing animated cut scenes that weave their plots together between the action.  These scenes have always been beautiful and compelling.

Is there a movie?

Sam Raimi has long been attached to a World of Warcraft adaptation but nothing concrete has come along in a while.  If you want to follow the film (or the rumors) check out this site.

9. ROCKSTEADY – Batman: Arkham Asylum

In my humble opinion, the geniuses at Rocksteady created the best superhero video game of all time when they unleashed Batman: Arkham Asylum.  At least until they topped it with an equally brilliant and fun sequel, Arkham City.  These games are love letters to superhero fans with tons of hidden references and cameos.   People want to be Batman and these games are the closest thing to it.

The real stand out here are the voice actor’s amazing performances.  Especially Mark Hamill as The Joker.

Is there a movie?

You really can’t plan a Batman movie until Christopher Nolan wraps up his legendary trilogy when The Dark Knight Rises is released.  Still, I’m sure Warner Brothers is already planning some kind of sequel/reboot/remake/re imagining…  Thing.  It’s not a stretch to think they have considered these games at some point.  Though I’m thinking Nolan will return as a producer and the series will continue the amazing style and tone he developed and mastered.

8. SQUARE ENIX – Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy is one of the most recognizable video game franchises on the planet.  It’s a world that has already inspired numerous film adaptations.

Is there a movie?

Yes.  Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was released in 2011 with Advent Children following in 2005.


Hideo Kojima is a legend. Of all the franchises listed here without a movie, Metal Gear is by far the most surprising. No movie yet? Come on Hollywood!

Is there a movie?

It’s listed on IMDB but right now it’s safe to say no movie will be coming any time soon.

6. BIOWARE – Mass Effect

I’m obsessed with the Mass Effect series.  This is literally an infinite universe that Bioware has created full of amazing characters and massive battles.  Not only is the series a blast to play but it allows you to carry your character over to the sequels.  Nice!  I can’t wait for my character’s third adventure aboard The Normandy.

Is there a movie?

Legendary Pictures are currently developing a Mass Effect movie.


Grand Theft Auto 3 changed the way we looked at games forever. It paved the way for so many incredibly deep sandbox games. Grand Theft Auto 4 raised the bar and with the anticipated 5th installment on the way, you would think Hollywood would capitalize on the franchise’s popularity right? Everyone loves a good heist movie and these games are packed with cinematic heist sequences. Not too mention cars, crime, violence and more.  Somebody make a Grand Theft Auto summer action movie please?

Is there a movie?

A little digging revealed some rights issues behind the scenes but there hasn’t been a ton of talk out there about getting a production started.


I would love to see the world of Rapture on the big screen.  The original Bioshock had one of the best stories I’ve ever played through.  I was totally captivated by the world, the art style, the Big Daddy/Little Sister relationships, the twists and so much more.  (Jean Dujardin as Andrew Ryan?  I don’t mean to type cast the guy but it could definitely work.)

Is there a movie?

A while back, Director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Ring) was on board and Bioshock was in the early stages of pre-production.

However, budget issues forced the project to the sidelines.  This movie has to happen and it HAS to be R rated.  I’m happy waiting as long as they don’t sacrifice the elements that made the game so memorable.

XTRA | Wouldn’t it be Awesome if the Bioshock movie happened?

3. BUNGIE – Halo

Halo redefined the first person shooter when it was released in 2001. It introduced us to an action hero made for the big screen. Master Chief. The game is full of imaginative and exciting set pieces that MUST be filmed eventually… Right?

Is there a movie?

Peter Jackson led a team that included director Neill Blomkamp (District 9) in a phenomenal pairing that every geek loved…

Unfortunately budget issues at Microsoft put a stop to it and they moved on. To date, no official word has surfaced on the Halo movie.


The Modern Warfare franchise pretty much functions as a movie already.  Each level is full of amazing heart stopping moments.  I still go back and play the sniper level from the first Modern Warfare.  Crawling on that grass hoping to avoid capture gets me every time.  Great franchise.

Is there a movie?

Nope.  Still no word in any official capacity.  You have to assume that somewhere there is a studio agonizing over who would play Soap if they ever made a movie…  All I found was a couple old articles on MTV and /Film.  However, you can’t ignore the original games or the recent Black Ops either…


THE cinematic video game experience.  The Uncharted series has successfully blurred the line between video games and movies.  When you play Uncharted, you ARE Nathan Drake and you are most definitely IN a movie.

Is there a movie?

David O. Russell was gearing up to direct Uncharted with Mark Walberg attached to star.  The casting alone caused some controversy as many fans out there wanted Nathan Fillion to win the role.  Just when people got used to the idea of David O. Russell’s approach to the material the project fell apart.  What intrigued me were the rumors that Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci would potentially be involved.

This movie WILL happen especially after the huge success of Uncharted 3.  It’s just a matter of when and who the artists behind the project will be.