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Don’t Forget the Camera: A Look at Unreleased Video Game Movies
As some of you may know, Kotaku discovered domains were registered by Sony indicating that a BioShock film may be in the works. As probably all of you know, a film version of The Last of Us was also announced earlier this year. These are only two of the latest in a ridiculously long and improbable list of video game films, most of which have yet to see the (green)light of day. To commemorate the prospect of these latest films, let’s take a look back at some of the planned, but yet-to-be-seen films based off popular video games.
Shadow of the Colossus
Yes, there is a film planned for this. In fact, announcements have been as recent as 2012, with Josh Trank (director of Chronicle) taking the helm. Kevin Misher, whose credits include the 2013 remake of Carrie, Public Enemies, and The Scorpion King, is set to produce, and Scott Lochead, who penned Hanna, is writing the film. While Shadow of the Colossus remains one of the most respected artistic games to this day, it’s difficult to see how a film could capture the essence of the game, especially given the fact that its story is minimalistic. Fleshing out a backstory at this point almost seems wrong.
Let’s face it, there’s almost no need to adapt this into a movie. The game was more or less an interactive film, primarily comprising quick-time events and button prompts. What makes this such an odd choice is that a film will be forced to stick with one ending, while the point of Heavy Rain was to allow the players to, in a sense, make their own ending. Reportedly, the film has been fast-tracked, but little has been announced.
Yes, I know a live action film was technically released, but it wasn’t the big-budget, Peter Jackson-produced blockbuster that everyone was expecting. Of all the cancelled video game films, Halo may be the one that came the closest to fruition. With Jackson producing, Neil Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) in the director’s chair, and 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios collaborating, the prospect looked promising. Alas, Fox got cold feet, Universal began making what Jackson and Blomkamp apparently felt were unreasonable demands, and the film was cancelled. Steven Spielberg has since expressed interest in producing and Blomkamp has once more expressed interest, but for now, the film is a mere dream. Rumor has it District 9 resulted from the failed attempt at this film, though the veracity of that statement has not been verified.
As if Tom Clancy’s projects haven’t been adapted into film enough (though technically this was only endorsed by Clancy, not written by him), Splinter Cell is currently planned to appear on the big screen, with Tom Hardy (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) cast as Sam Fisher. Though a screenwriter has been found in Eric Singer (The International), nothing else has been set, so for now let’s just consider this an idea, shall we?
Metal Gear Solid
I guess this one seemed like a no-brainer, though personally the games were so cinematic already, I question the need for a film adaptation. Nevertheless, a film was initially announced in 2006, with a release scheduled for 2011. The project was canned in 2010, with series creator Hideo Kojima admitting Metal Gear Solid was meant to be a video game, not a movie. He would go on to contradict that proclamation at the Metal Gear 25th Anniversary in 2012 by announcing that Arad Productions (whose co-owner Avi founded Marvel Studios) would be producing a film, with Sony Pictures Entertainment distributing. While Kojima had previously expressed interest in Hugh Jackman starring as Snake, no casting has been announced. Additionally, David Hayter penned a script for the film, but his idea was rejected. Given he’s been booted from the entire series, it’s unlikely we’ll see him involved in any capacity (that is, if the film ever gets released). Bummer!
Following the trend, EA announced in 2010 that a Mass Effect film, based off the original game, will be done by Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Several executive producers from BioWare are to assist in the project, along with film producers, including Avi Arad and Thomas Tull (the Dark Knight trilogy, 300, Man of Steel, and The Hangover trilogy). No director has yet to be announced, and the last real update on the film came in 2012, when Morgan David Foehl (Click) was signed on to rewrite.
Another involving Avi Arad, along with Charles Roven (The Dark Knight) and Alex Gartner, Columbia Pictures announced some five or so years ago that an Uncharted film was in development. David O. Russell, whose directing credits include The Fighter and American Hustle, was in the directing chair until 2011. At that time, Nathan Fillion had expressed interest in playing Drake, though Russell had his eye on Mark Wahlberg, who mentioned Robert De Niro playing his father and Joe Pesci his uncle. However, with Russell dropping out, Wahlberg’s involvement is likely out the window, and Neil Burger (The Illusionist) has since come and gone. The screenplay is being rewritten by the National Treasure team, but with so many people coming and going, it looks as though this one may never hit the big screen, either. In other words, you’re safe, Indiana Jones!
God of War
This is one of those that came and went and will probably never be. Announced back in 2005, writers have vacillated in and out of the project, and the film has yet to receive a director or any cast. Despite David Jaffe’s optimism, this one looks to be lost to the pages of mythology.
Sound like a lot of video game movies? There are dozens more that have been announced! A few of these look to actually make it to the big screen, but for most of these, I think it’s safe to assume you’ll just have to revisit them with a controller in hand.