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10 Nintendo Games That Should Be Adapted Into Animated TV Shows

Video game adaptations, whether in TV or film, have become increasingly popular, but animated adaptations are the ones that tend to be the most well-received. Streaming platforms like Netflix — at least unintentionally — cracked this code with series like Castlevania and Arcane.

The freedom allowed by animation in a serialized format seems to allow for more creative freedom and for the story to stretch its legs. Nintendo has more than its fair share of IPs to lend to this medium, ranging from modern acclaimed hits like Breath of the Wild to ominous sci-fi thrillers like Metroid and series like Fire Emblem that would especially excel in the anime genre.


10 The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Link overlooking the vast land of Hyrule in Breath of the Wild key art.

Perhaps the most obvious candidate for an animated TV adaptation is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The 2017 Wii U/Switch game was met with widespread critical acclaim, quickly becoming the next stage in the open-world gaming format’s evolution. A vast, seamless open world with excellent art direction and surprises in any direction and an open-ended gameplay approach helped ensure that.

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Though the story is more subtle in Breath of the Wild, expanding on the backstory of these iterations of Link and Zelda would make for an emotionally resonant plot. In the present day, padding out adventuring with episodic-style stories would complement the overarching narrative of defeating Calamity Ganon.

9 Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem: Three Houses promo art featuring the protagonists and representatives of the school's houses

Intelligent System’s Fire Emblem series is a ripe frontrunner for an anime TV series since it’s effectively an anime game. There have been several great games and stories in the series, but Three Houses proved to be one of the best and most refined Fire Emblem games.

On top of the already strong anime art style and a host of excellent animation studios available, the branching narrative of Three Houses makes this a particularly interesting pick for an adaptation. The story routes are character-driven to make them all the more emotionally investing, with a backdrop of political intrigue. Even the Edelgard Route is akin to a tonally lighter, anime parallel of where Game of Thrones probably should have finished.

8 Metroid Dread

Metroid Dread has seen a well-received and well-earned resurgence in the gaming mainstream, as last year’s Dread put bounty hunter Samus Aran back on the map. Given the Metroid franchise’s Alien-like influences, it would make for a thrilling animated game adaptation.

With the right animation studio and writing team attached, a Metroid Dread adaptation would be a suitably atmospheric and foreboding experience that uses the EMMIs to dabble in light elements of sci-fi/horror, punctuated by stylishly chaotic action, creature designs, and an eerie musical score. Likewise, a multiseason approach could also use the occasional episodic story structure to keep things fresh and take advantage of the bounty-hunting premise.

7 Luigi’s Mansion

A frightened Luigi with ghosts behind him in Luigi's Mansion cover art

Though a wildly different change of pace, Luigi’s Mansion would be something that’d make for a fun and colorful romp. Nintendo is already keen on taking advantage of the IP outside of video games, with the currently untitled animated Mario movie set to release next spring.

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Being a spinoff itself, the original GameCube game would make for an equally delightful side story on the small screen by blending comedy with Luigi’s Mansion‘s inventive brand of pseudo “horror.” It would be a great way to capitalize on the brand’s prominence outside of gaming (assuming the movie is well-received), and a show could easily and concisely adapt the events of its two sequels.

6 Shin Megami Tensei V

The hero character of SMTV with his recruited demon allies

Publisher/developer Atlus has garnered massive amounts of fame since Persona 5 helped the company plant its flag on the international stage, but Shin Megami Tensei has most recently made a triumphant comeback. Last year’s Shin Megami Tensei V quickly became one of the best RPGs to play on Nintendo Switch, and similar to Fire Emblem, it already has an anime approach that would seamlessly translate into a TV series.

The parent series to PersonaShin Megami Tensei games tend to tackle darker, grander scale concepts and V‘s sprawling story would be a good premise should an adaptation get treated better than a mere “tie-in product.”

5 Xenoblade Chronicles

The Monado sword and one of the game's Titans looming overhead in Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition key art.

The JRPG subgenre has plenty of titans that dominate the industry like Final FantasyDragon QuestPersona, and more, but 2010’s Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii started what would become another genre staple for Nintendo alongside Fire Emblem. The game was praised for its hybrid sci-fi fantasy world, storytelling, and dense worldbuilding, making a strong case for an anime adaptation.

Xenoblade Chronicles games take place at wildly different points in time and across different timelines. And while Xenoblade Chronicles 2 could be adapted first since its story is a prequel, the original game would make a good entry point for both the uninitiated and longtime fans.

4 Monster Hunter Rise

A team of hunters fighting Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak's flagship monster, the vampiric dragon Malzeno.

Capcom’s Monster Hunter franchise has come a long way from being a niche action-RPG series thanks to World‘s breakout acclaim. And while Netflix quietly released a poorly-received CG animated short movie last year, there’s still a wealth of potential by looking to Monster Hunter Rise as a foundation.

Monster Hunter games have never been known for their stories as opposed to their exciting moment-to-moment boss fights with exceptionally designed monsters. However, both World and Rise have been making gradual strides in putting more effort into storytelling, and a well-equipped writing team with a top-notch anime studio could combine for a spectacle of a TV series.

3 Pokémon Colosseum

Wes holding a Pokeball in Pokemon Colosseum

Pokémon is comfortably the world’s highest-grossing media franchise. However, as nostalgic as the earlier years of the Pokémon anime can be, it’s since felt more like a vessel churned out yearly to push said merchandise. For some longtime fans, the Pokémon Origins anime OVA series gave them a taste of the great direction this franchise can go in this medium.

Some anime shorts series have done similar, but using the GameCube’s Pokémon Colosseum would make for a great premise in a standalone anime series. Being a spin-off already, Colosseum‘s unique premise, the original cast of characters, and taking place in a completely different region mean it wouldn’t have much trouble carving its own identity separate from the mainline anime as Origins did.

2 The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Key art of Twilight Princess' remaster featuring a collage of the game's main cast.

With the complexity of The Legend of Zelda universe and various timelines, many of these beloved games could justify a long-running animated series. Critical acclaim can describe many games in the series, and 2006’s Twilight Princess still ranks among the franchise’s highest tier. Focusing on Link’s quest to stop the corruptive Twilight Realm from engulfing Hyrule, the Hero of Time alternates between the form of a Hylian and a wolf while being helped by the Twili creature Midna.

Lauded for being narratively and mechanically unique, this darker tale would make for an engrossing fantasy epic in TV form. There’s plenty of material in the story to flesh out into an animated show, and the prospect of a studio giving a tasteful rendition of Twilight Princess‘ art direction would be a visual feast as well.

1 Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes

Liquid and Solid Snake back-to-back in MGS: The Twin Snakes key art.

Though Hideo Kojima’s brainchild gained traction on the original PlayStation, the remake of Metal Gear Solid was only ever released on GameCube in the form of The Twin Snakes. The franchise as a whole has certainly seen better days due to Konami’s neglectfulness, but an animated adaptation with a similar art direction to Netflix and Powerhouse Animation Studio’s Castlevania could be just the format to get something else going for this IP.

A serialized story would arguably be best to do this intricate (sometimes convoluted) plot justice, and it would be a great excuse to get fan-favorite voice actor David Hayter back as Solid Snake. Sony is distributing a live-action Metal Gear Solid movie starring Oscar Isaac, but as tantalizing as that sounds on paper, the development limbo it’s been trapped in isn’t encouraging.

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