Development Hell: An A To Z Of Video Game Movies In Production, Part 2

There’s one hell of a lot of videogames being turned into movies, and we’re trying to keep track of them all in this three part series. 2016 has a number of huge franchises hitting the silver screen  but as we look towards middle third of the alphabet, there are many more that are on their way to becoming the next Double Dragon.

We start today with everyone’s favourite blank slate videogame superhero, Cole McGrath.

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inFamous

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Sony Pictures allegedly signed a seven-figure deal with, erm, Sony, for the rights to InFamous, with Sheldon Turner on screenwriting duties.

“What excited me most about the game was it was the first of which I’ve come across that had a big idea and a character arc,” Turner told THR. “It is, I believe, the future of gaming. The game, while big and fun, is at its core a love ballad to the underachiever, which is what our hero, Cole McGrath, is.”

That was in 2009 when Avi Arad and his brother Ari were in charge and the since then project seems to have vanished from existence, which is a shame because Jason Statham isn’t doing much at the moment.

Just Cause

Announced just a couple of months ago, the Just Cause movie is about to spring into production. The movie was first touted back in 2010 when comic book writer Bryan Edward Hill was writing a script, provisionally titled Just Cause: Scorpion King Rising.

“Just Cause 3 has a terrific story,” said producer, Adrian Askarieh. “It has Rico going back to Medici, the place of his birth and then subsequent displacement, and the murder of his family. And he goes back there to do what he does best which is to discombobulate regimes. I’ve always loved the story of the Scorpion, because I haven’t seen a movie about a guy you send in to tear people apart from within.”

Top marks for getting discombobulate in to an interview, Adrian!

Shared universes are all the rage in movies and it has been suggested that the Just Cause movie will be part of a greater universe encompassing the recent Hitman movie and the forthcoming Tomb Raider reboot.

Kane & Lynch

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Simon Crane was initially hired to direct Bruce Willis and Jamie Foxx in the movie adaptation of the rather rubbish game, but Crane dropped out and the movie found itself attached to a string of directors over the years. Then in 2013 Vin Diesel and Gerard Butler were in talks to replace Willis and Foxx, and the project rumbled briefly back in to life. As far as we can tell, it’s still languishing in development hell.

Mass Effect

May 2010 saw Electronic Arts team up with Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures to produce a Mass Effect film, executive produced by BioWare personnel Casey Hudson, Ray Muzyka, and Greg Zeschuck.

Mark Protosevich (Thor) and Morgan Davis Foehl (Blackhat) have both worked on seperate scripts for the film but no director has been attached.

“I wrote a couple of drafts and then they brought on a new writer,” explained Protosevich. “When I was on it I was definitely adapting the first game. That story, it was very much the first game. And that was the approach.”

“I hope they pull it off. I’d love to see a ‘Mass Effect’ movie. I think I did some good work, but even I’ll admit I didn’t pull it off,” he added.

The Legendary pictures website even has a Q&A for the movie:

Q: Will it just be an adaptation of the first game, second game, or a completely new story?
A: It will focus on Commander Shepard’s journey, centering around the story of the original Mass Effect game.

Q: How are you going to address the element of ‘choice’ that the players have in the game?
A: The writer is weaving a path through Shepard’s decisions that best supports the narrative of the movie and the motivations of its characters.

Q: Will it be a trilogy?
A: We are really focused on making this a great movie, so we’ll see where it takes us. We have to get the first one right to know whether there will be more.

Q: Will Seth Green portray Joker, the character he voiced in the game?
A: No casting decisions have been made yet.

Q: Will the movie be focused on Shepard?
A: Yes.

Q: If the movie is focused on Shepard, will it be the male Shepard or the female Shepard?
A: Male.

Q: Can you give any hints to potential casting?
A: No. Stay tuned.

Q: Will BioWare allow plot / character changes?
A: Yes, we are working closely with BioWare on the development of this project.

Q: Would you consider Daft Punk to do the soundtrack?
A: We love Daft Punk, but it’s too early to say who will produce the soundtrack.

Metal Gear Solid

Snake’s movie has been in development hell for years, with the project stalling in 2010 when the producers and Konami could not agree on certain details.

“I think there’s some thing,” mused Producer Mike De Luca, “The video game companies are very protective of their property and there are certain things a studio requires freedom-wise to market and distribute a movie effectively in a global marketplace and sometimes getting those two things to match up is really hard. And in the case of Metal Gear Solid, the agendas just… not because the parties weren’t amicable, it was just kind of impossible to get the agendas to match up.”

In August 2012 during Konami’s 25th anniversary party for the Metal Gear franchise today, Kojima and Avi Arad (yup, again) announced the Metal Gear Solid movie was back in production at Sony’s Columbia Pictures.

Fast forward to 2014 and indie writer/director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is attached the project, with British writer Jay Basu (Monsters: Dark Continent) the latest addition to the Metal Gear Movie.

Jordan Vogt-Roberts is currently working on the King Kong prequel, Skull Island, and as that is not hitting the screens till 2017, Snake won’t be near a cinema untill at least 2019. That said, the recent re-organisation at Konami and subsequent departure (or “holiday”) of Hideo Kojima may have killed the project completely.

Metro 2033

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Snapped up by MGM back in 2012, the screenplay was to be adapted by F. Scott Frazier, who used to work at THQ, with Mark Johnson (The Chronicles of Narnia) as a producer. We’ve not heard anything about the movie since this announcement.

Minecraft

Another one of the “How the hell do you make a movie out of that?” licenses – a question startlingly similar to those asked when Telltale’s Minecraft: Story Mode was announced – Warner Bros. have at least made a smart move and hired Roy Lee to produce. He’s one of the chaps behind another set of blocks on film, The LEGO movie.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s co-creator Rob McElhenney is on board as director, but Mojang COO Vu Bui told The Guardian that the company doesn’t want to discourage players by coming up with any sort official story for the Minecraft universe.

“We don’t want any story that we make, whether it’s a movie or a book, to create some sort of ‘this is the official Minecraft, this is how you play the game’ thing. That would discourage all the players who don’t play in that way.”

Production on the movie is continuing with a release date of late 2017 pencilled in.

Missile Command

2011 saw 20th Century Fox. pick up the Missile Command license and… well that’s it. Not a peep about any project since then. It’s almost certainly been canned after the terrible Battleship movie.

Mortal Kombat

Widely regarded (by me) as one of the few films to successfully transfer a video game to the big screen, the Mortal Kombat franchise is getting a silver screen reboot. Kevin Tancharoen, who created a live action webs series based on the game,was signed on to direct but dropped out of the project in 2013.

James Wan (who you will remember from the Castelvania film) has taken over directorial duties on the $50m film with Oren Uziel and Dave Callaham (The Expendables) on script duties.

The story is said to “center around a seemingly harmless guy who realizes his potential when he finds himself caught in the middle of a cross-dimensional battle between the warriors of Earth and the monsters of Outworld.”

No cast or release date has been announced for the film.

Rampage

Announced over four years ago the Rampage movie sprung back in to life in June 2015 when the team behind the ridiculous San Andreas film announced they were in charge, And yes, that means the movie will star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Brad Peyton is directing the movie which will film next summer, with release in the summer of 2017. Expect the Rock to be punching a giant lizard in the trailer.

Ratchet & Clank

As I am sure you are aware, Ratchet & Clank will be hitting the big screen in the summer of next year with the added talents of Sylvester Stallone.

Raving Rabbids

Revealed as part of wave two of Ubisoft’s movies, the plan is to make a live action film featuring the Rabbids as CG characters, similar the recent Smurfs movies. The Rabbids have their own TV show which is wildly popular, so this is a movie that will probably surface at some point.

Red Dead Redemption

A completely unsubstantiated rumour on a gossip website suggested Brad Pitt was looking to produce and star in a movie based on the Rockstar property. “The idea is to make this in the style of an epic Western movie but with a few modern touches,” said the source. Unsurprisingly, not a single thing has been heard about the movie since then.

Resident Evil

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter kicks ass next year and will see Ali Larter reprise her role of Claire Redfield, joining Milla Jovovich’s Alice to battle The Red Queen, the baddy from the original movie. Filming has almost concluded with a release date of September 2016 on the cards.

“I love that it’s not seven men and one woman. I mean, these are two women [Alice and Claire], and they’re not competing with each other,” said Larter. “You know, there are such easy clichés these two could fall into, but this is definitely a female power movie… It’s baffling [female action movies aren’t more popular], but I do believe it’s changing. I mean, look at things like Lucy and other things. I do believe it’s happening.”

olldalice

Milla recently Instagrammed the photo above, showing “Old Alice”, so it looks like the plot for the final Resident Evil film will be just as bonkers as the previous five.

Rocket League

“We’ve had discussions with various people and studios in Hollywood about making movies based on Rocket League, or a TV show,” confirmed Jeremy Dunham, VP of marketing and communications.

“There’s nothing to announce, there’s nothing official, we haven’t signed any dotted lines,” he added. “A big reason for that is there are lot of questions about Rocket League in general, about the fiction, the lore and how that would tie in to a television show or film.”

Rollercoaster Tycoon

Filed under “What were you thinking?”, the Rollercoaster Tycoon movie was announced in 2010. Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid) was on board as executive producer and explained the plot of the movie.

“Well we had a pitch, a story– it’s basically a theme park comes to life… We had a story woven into the theme park of the Rollercoaster Tycoon, and that’s what we sold to Sony, and that’s what we’re hoping to make into a movie… Just the idea of taking a ride like in Disneyland and the rides suddenly come to life, [or] you’re able to step off and stay behind when everybody else had gone.”

Thankfully the movie seems to have been dropped.

Shadow of the Colossus

In production hell since the beginning of time (well, 2009), the SOTC movie got a boost last year when Argentine director Andrés Muschietti was selected by Sony to helm the project. He is joined by scriptwriter Seth Lochhead (Hanna), and replaces Josh Trank (Chronicle).

“We knew we had our director once we heard Andy’s take on the material – it was genius,” said Michael De Luca, Sony’s president of production, in a statement. “The themes, characters and supernatural elements of the story have incredible international appeal with fans of the game in the millions.”

It’s a race to see whether a Shadow of the Colossus movie or The Last Guardian can release first. The Last Guardian would probably be the safe bet right now.


And with a spot of monster hunting, it’s the end of our second of three articles checking in on videogames-to-movie adaptations. Catch the first part of the alphabet here, or tune in tomorrow for news of the big hitters, like Uncharted, The Last of Us and Warcraft.

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11 Comments

  1. Would love a Dead Space movie!

  2. Isn’t Rampage loosely based upon things like Godzilla anyway? So they are now considering making a movie based on a game based on a movie. Wow.

    Also, isn’t metal gear basically a movie these days anyway (well, 4 at least)? ;)

    Anyway, the first Mortal Kombat was a good film. Shame about Annihilation though! That one was a stinker. & although they have strayed a fair bit from the formula, I have to admit to quite liking the Resident Evil movies too.

    Most of these though? Seemingly generic action movies or file under ‘what the hell were you thinking??’.

    • Rampage features George the Gorilla (aka King Kong), Lizzie the Lizard (aka Godzilla), and Ralph (a giant Werewolf), so it’s a homage to three movies.

  3. A metal gear movie has always been a pipe dream. I would love to see a Hotline Miami movie. I know it was inspired by Drive and would probably follow the same kind of path. Still that soundtrack, car etc would be really sweet.

    • We’ve already had a metal gear movie. MGS4 :)

  4. Really looking forward to the Ratchet & Clank Movie/Game.

  5. Infamous can be a decent film if Sony just make it CGI and just use the same trick that Ratchet and Clank are doing with having the voice cast return to their roles. If not, well, let’s just say that the last time they did a superhero film with an electric man in, they ended up losing the rights to that franchise.

    Just Cause, would be a very interesting film and just a massive excuse for pure over the top action. Somehow, this does not scream Micheal Bay.Odd.

    Mass Effect, just no. What’s the point of doing a ME film if it’s just doing the first game? Do something original!

    Resident Evil. Oh, how i hate what Anderson did to it. His original character is a bloody mary sue that sucks out everything near her and god forbid if any of the characters from the game actually resemble their characters. Chris Redfield, effed up. Leon S Kennedy, Effed up. Claire Redfield, effed up. Jill Valetine, decent in film 2. Effed up later on. Wesker, er… decent apart from the other BS involving las plagas t-virus. Alice, oh, i hate her. But god forbid if Anderson doesn’t get to shove his wife into the spotlight and have her character do everything without caring if it breaks established things or makes no sense or wastes crap. The clones were a good idea. Killing them all off within the first few minutes of film 4 was BS. In fact, 99% of the film is BS. I truly hope this is the last resident evil live action film and Capcom will never give Anderson the chance to work on it again. They suck. Also, he reduced Nemesis to a joke.

    Ratchet and Clank, should do the game justice.

    Red Dead, er… unsure if it can be condensed into a film and if it’s a good idea.

    Metal Gear, well, let’s just say that it ain’t happening. Apparently, Uwe Boll approach Kojima a few years back and he told him to eff off. May have been in an interview on some site though.

    Rollocoaster Tycoon. No. In fact, why is a sim being made into a film? Surely, there are other games with actual plot.

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