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There was nearly a Breaking Bad video game

breaking bad
(Image credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC)

Now that Better Call Saul is almost complete, the future of the Breaking Bad franchise looks pretty quiet. While show creator Vince Gilligan hasn’t ruled out future projects, he claims to have no other Breaking Bad projects in mind at the moment — although if things had gone another way, we could have had a whole different kind of follow-up. At one point, Gilligan strongly considered creating a Breaking Bad video game. The project never quite off the ground, though, and it's not likely we'll see it anytime soon.

Gilligan shared his thoughts on a Breaking Bad video game in the most recent episode of Inside the Gilliverse, a Breaking Bad podcast hosted by Eric Broadbent. Broadbent pointed out that Gilligan’s shows — down-to-earth crime dramas about charismatic criminals — share some characteristics with the Grand Theft Auto series. He asked Gilligan whether the Breaking Bad team had ever toyed with the idea of a video game adaptation.

grand theft auto v

Grand Theft Auto V, the latest entry in Rockstar's long-running open-world criminal sim, has a number of thematic elements in common with the Breaking Bad franchise. (Image credit: Rockstar)

“There have been quite a few attempts at video games,” Gilligan explained. “Some of them kind of, sort of made it to market.” The mobile resource-management game, Breaking Bad: Criminal Elements, ran on iOS and Android for just about a year. But it never garnered much critical acclaim or a dedicated fan following, and there haven’t been any other Breaking Bad games since then.

Interestingly, though, the project that seemed to excite Gilligan the most was a potential collaboration with Sony, using the PlayStation VR to immerse players in the Breaking Bad universe.

“We tried to do a VR experience with the Sony PlayStation VR headset,” Gilligan said. He also cites Better Call Saul producer Jenn Carroll, who “put a lot of energy and a lot of effort and a lot of talent into writing three or four different stories for three or four different video games, including the VR thing. There was a lot of people-hours poured into that.

“Making a video game is damn hard,” he continued. “It literally takes years, and millions of dollars, especially when you’re trying to break new ground with VR.” Gilligan also reminded Broadbent that Breaking Bad fans expect a high level of quality from the franchise in general, and a shoddy video game tie-in, such as the infamous E.T. for the Atari 2600, would never fly.

“I wouldn’t hold your breath on a video game,” Gilligan concluded. Still, one offhand comment could give stalwarts some hope. In relation to a Grand Theft Auto-style video game that takes place in the Breaking Bad universe, Gilligan allowed that “It still makes sense to me.”

And if a Breaking Bad video game still makes sense to the show’s creator, maybe someday, a big-budget game developer will agree.

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.