Video game to film adaptations haven’t always gone over well, and arguably, there has only been one flat-out successful franchise created so far in the “Resident Evil” series of the movies. Yes, there were the “Tomb Raider” movies but after the second entry made less than the first, it faded from view (though it is getting a reboot), and let’s not talk about the saga behind getting “Halo” to the big screen which now finds one of the most popular videogames of all time stuck in development hell. The true test of the potential “Silent Hill” franchise will come with the release of “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D” next year, while “Hitman 2” seems to have stalled out after announcing a director more than a year ago. All this to say that launching a big-budget tentpole based on console game is a tough business (just ask Disney about “Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time”), but with a built-in audience and some ready-made mythology it’s hard to resist, which is why Sony is now going to the roll the dice on one of the biggest games out there.
Variety reports that the studio has acquired the rights for Ubisoft‘s historical sci-fi hit “Assassin’s Creed” with plans to bring it to a multiplex near you. With more than 30 million copies of the game sold worldwide (and the fourth installment hitting stores next month), it’s no shocker that the videogame publisher had more than one interested party as they shopped the game around Hollywood for the past few months. While it’s not yet known when we might see the movie, it does give Sony another tentpole option in a video game slate that also includes the developing “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune” and “InFamous.”
In case you haven’t picked up a controller in a while, the story is set in 2012 and centers on Desmond Miles, a barkeep who is about to find out he comes from a long line of…you guessed it…assassins. Now here’s where it gets tricky. He gets kidnapped by the megacorp Abstergo Industries, who strap him into this thing called Animus that essentially allows him experience the lives of his ancestors. That evil megacorp wants to follow him around in his walk through ancient history in the hope that he will uncover some very powerful artifacts that hold to the key to controlling mankind (or something). Anyway, he is eventually rescued by his modern-day brethern who then also strap him into Animus to find those artifacts before the baddies do, and so Desmond travels back to the Crusades and 15th century Italy to kick ass, and get those thingamajigs. Anyway, that’s the brief outline as since the story stretchesover four games, it gets quite a bit more involved. But needless to say, the opportunity for big screen action and intrigue is there.
However, as long time fans know, “Assassin’s Creed” has already been adapted into some short movies. There was the 36-minute “Assassin’s Creed: Lineage,” a prequel to the game “Assassin’s Creed II.” There was also the animated “Assassin’s Creed: Ascendance” which connected “Assassin’s Creed II” and “Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.” And when you go to pick up “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” next month, you’ll get “Assassin’s Creed: Embers” which will act as a post-script when you’ve finished the game. That’s not to mention the handful of books and comics that have also been created.
So a smart pick up by Sony, but with it comes very, very high expectations from gamers who even in the early days of “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune” have been highly vocal and critical about the rumored directions it had been taking. And getting that very critical crowd on board will be the first step in making a successful transition to the big screen.