Breaking Bad, a TV phenomenon with a record-breaking amount of accolades to boot, is surprisingly thin on the ground when it comes to video game adaptations. Besides a board game that released a few years back, neither Vince Gilligan nor its show runners have moved to port the meth lab over to consoles or PCs. The question that remains, of course, is why? It seems to us that, with such chemistry between the two types of media, it would be a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, though, nothing has come to pass since the series’ finale back in 2013.
There are a few consolation prizes, however, all of which share the same features that make Breaking Bad the award-winning drama that it is. Although without a Walter White or a Jesse Pinkman to pilot them, they do give gamers the opportunity to scratch that certain itch. So, if you’re feeling the post-Better Call Saul or Breaking Bad blues, then you should definitely spend some time with these five games to help relieve the heartbreak.
5. Payday 2
Payday 2 is a first-person shooter that lets you live out your wildest fantasies of being a notorious bank robber. Or, in one particular case, a brewer of meth. Your role in the scenario, as a budding chemist with a knack for petty theft, is to locate the lab out in the sticks, cook enough meth to score you and your teammates enough cash, and defend it from rival factions. Sort of like Breaking Bad, in ways.
In this amped up multiplayer shoot ’em up, players will have the chance to buddy up and compete in the “Cook Off,” a single-day heist that nets winners up to $450,000 plus bonuses. It’s total chaos from beginning to end, made even crazier by the Breaking Bad diehards who give their heart and soul to live out their dreams of monopolizing the virtual meth business.
4. Scarface: The World Is Yours
Before Heisenberg, there was Scarface, and before crystal meth, there was cocaine. Although brands apart, the two shared one thing in common: the hunger to build an empire from the dirt. The latter, although a little dated compared to other drug-themed video games in this list, is still one of the best adaptations of a cult classic movie, period. The fact it lets you manage a myriad of criminal activities, of course, puts it on the same track as Breaking Bad. You know, if only slightly.
Scarface: The World Is Yours follows Tony Montana, the fast-talking overlord of Miami, as he looks to control and maintain a drug empire from the nooks and crannies of the criminal underworld. In an open world playground neck deep in gang activity and corrupt officials, players are invited to establish a throne fit for Scarface himself and, in turn, reap its many, many rewards.
3. Empire of Sin
Empire of Sin may not be the most obvious choice for those looking to fill that Breaking Bad gap, but it’s certainly enough to scratch the surface and provide you with a few engaging criminal exploits for all the while you choose to entertain it. And if you’re big on business management games with a top-down turn-based combat system, then it’s as good as gold.
In Empire of Sin, you must become a mob boss in a gang-riddled suburbia. By establishing yourself as the new fish in town, you must learn to adapt to the bitterness of the city streets and the cliques that run them. For every business you take over and enemy faction you dismantle, your reputation doubles in size, thereby giving you more creative control over your future actions and decisions. It’s entirely up to you, of course, how you go about monopolizing the city and turning it into a bleeding cash cow.
2. Breaking Bad: Criminal Elements
Outside of the official board game, Breaking Bad: Criminal Elements is the only gaming vessel that carries that same iconic branding. The only downside is it’s a mobile game, and it has been criminally overshadowed since its launch back in 2019. That said, it still continues to receive support from its budding chemists and show runners to this day, believe it or not.
Criminal Elements gives you the tools to form a revolutionary meth empire from the ground up. As a protege under the wing of Heisenberg himself, you must liaise with the industry veterans in order to expand and evolve your kingdom, using a variety of techniques to boost your income and reputation. With that, you can expect to walk in the very same footsteps as White and Pinkman, giving you the ultimate Breaking Bad experience on a much smaller scale.
1. Grand Theft Auto V
Vince Gilligan himself has suggested that Rockstar Games could very well be the vessel that finally brings Breaking Bad: The Video Game to life. To this day, though, little has come to fruition, and it’s more or less a pipe dream than a concrete plan. And so, the closest thing you’ll get to an open world Breaking Bad game right now is, lo and behold, Grand Theft Auto V.
Of course, there are a number of similarities between the two franchises, if only in small doses. As well as Grand Theft Auto V’s campaign featuring an entire story arc based around Trevor’s drug-heavy exploits, the Online counterpart also has a meth empire for players to build, upgrade, and maintain. That, to us at least, is a watered down clone of Breaking Bad — just with a different skin lathered over the exterior.
So, what’s your take? Do you agree with our top five? Are there any Breaking Bad-like games you’d recommend? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.