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Video Games and Movies – A Tough Mix

May 4, 2011

Games and films have not had it easy.  Having worked on 2 games based on films, I know the difficulties in adapting them.  Going the other way has not really worked well either; Silent Hill as a film was ok and the Resident Evil films are fun, but mainly because of a action-kitch vibe that being great films.  However there is a space where they can and will mix – we’ve just not found it yet.  So it is with great interest that I note:

Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell publisher Ubisoft has created a new film and television division in France, although it has not yet revealed its first project.

According to Variety, the division is based in Paris and will be headed by Jean-Julien Baronnet, former CEO of Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp. Gainsbourg co-producer Didier Lupfer is head of production and development, and former Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures France distribution chief Jean de Rivieres is head of marketing and international sales.

Now this has a better chance of success IMHO – in part because it seems that they are borrowing from Marvel’s model of allowing the medium’s creatives (in their case, comic writers & artists) a key say in how the project evolves:

Marvel also benefited more from movie franchises as “Spider-Man” and “X-Men” became blockbusters and brought new attention to its characters. The company reached a turning point during the making of the 2008 film “Iron Man,” which was produced by its own Marvel Studios in and that starred Robert Downey Jr. as the armor-clad hero. Still, during the development of “Iron Man,” Marvel invited some of its editors and writers to consult with its director, Jon Favreau. When “Iron Man” went on to sell $585 million in tickets worldwide, its success seemed to validate the suggestions from its publishing talent.

Though time will tell…

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 19, 2011 2:55 pm

    In my experience as a gamer, games based on films work much better, and I think it’s because good game designers (the key word being good) are adept at taking movies and expanding them into interactive, often non-linear experiences that develop the storyline while still remaining true to the source material. They’re also good working new or secondary characters into a film’s world. I’m thinking of the Star Wars franchise, and the many really good games that have been built around it–Battlefront, Republic Commado, The Old Republic, and Empire at War among them. All of these work because developers really got creative in expanding stories and characters that people know and love into uncharted territory.

    The problem with going the other way is that movies are, by their nature, linear. To really create an engaging movie based on a videogame, you need a talented team (director and writer, in particular) that speak the languages of both movies and games, know what audiences want, and can deliver. I was excited to hear about Peter Jackson being tapped for Halo, and am hoping that it’s resurrected.

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