Over the years Hollywood has licensed many PlayStation games and made films out of them, but what about the games that were destined for the silver screen but ultimately ended up on the cutting room floor? What happened to them and why did they never make cinematic magic ?
I'm going to bring you examples of PS games that might have made great movies but instead now languish in development hell, read on to see why Hollywood cast them aside.
Let's start with the Uncharted games. Naughty Dog's critically-acclaimed franchise have proven to be great adventures that are comparable to any of Indiana Jones' cinematic escapades, and as Harrison Ford isn't getting any younger surely a no-brainer to be the next action-adventure franchise.
Well no-brainer or not it seems that getting an Uncharted film onto cinema screens proved to be a sadly impossible task. In 2009 an Uncharted movie was announced as being in production; attached to the film was Spider-Man producer Avi Arad and actor Nathan Fillion from the ABC series Castle. By 2010 Nathan Fillion had gone to be replaced by Mark Wahlberg who was quoted as saying big screen names such as De Niro were lined up for supporting roles, so surely the chance of the Uncharted film being made never seemed stronger ? Guess again, by 2011 the film was still on the cards but now being re-written for the umpteenth time and is still in that state with no further news, meaning the hoped for release date of this summer looks to be a non-entity.
So with the chances of an Uncharted film being made as likely as Nathan Drake ever giving up treasure hunting, let's look at another big name gaming franchise and how ironically the success of another movie led to it being consigned to development hell.
The BioShock games are held in high acclaim with the latest instalment gaining worldwide critical praise; surely its dark and twisted world would make an ideal action movie which could rival the Matrix for originality and effects ?
Well the non-appearance of a BioShock movie can be traced back to the failure of another film namely Watchmen. Now, you're probably thinking, wasn't Watchmen a great film that was well received and made money, so how did this affect the chance of a BioShock movie? Well, Hollywood is a fickle beast. BioShock was in pre-production with an estimated budget of $200 million before Watchmen came out, but as Watchmen didn't meet its studios money-making expectations they began to get cold feet. Studio execs thought that if a well-established franchise such as Watchmen couldn't make them enough money then how was a relative unknown one like BioShock going to make back the potential $200 million due to be invested in it ? So the proposed budget for the BioShock movie was slashed to $80 million causing the attached director to walk claiming the film couldn't be made for this much, so a new director was hurriedly bought in. However 2K games felt it couldn't work with anyone new so the whole film was scrapped and currently there is no further news that would indicate we will ever see a BioShock movie anytime soon.
So with no chance of a BioShock film being made in this dimension or another let's move onto the God of War games. Mythology has always fared well at the box office with Clash of the Titans and Immortals earning a lot of dough, so surely making a film from a game that has a strong mythology and action grounding is just a licence for Hollywood to print its own money ?
The story of getting God of War into cinemas begins in 2005 when it was announced a script had been written and Universal Studios were involved, but by 2009 still nothing had appeared. In 2010 hopes for a film were reignited as Daniel Craig was rumoured to be in the running to play Kratos but this sadly turned out to be untrue and all went quiet again. Then out of the blue in 2012 it was announced that despite no studio or director being involved the God Of War film was being written and would be a big budget action movie. However, since then news has again gone quiet with even game director Todd Pappy being at a loss to know what was going on when asked for a recent comment.
As it seems a God Of War movie isn't due anytime soon let's move on to the next game -- Mass Effect.
With new Star Wars films on the horizon you would think Hollywood would be all over Mass Effect, with BioWare's acclaimed space epic having the potential be cinema's nextgreat sci-fi action trilogy. Unfortunately it seems Mass Effect is stuck in a developmental black hole where it has languished since a film was first announced in 2010, with not even successful fan films being able to prompt Hollywood into getting it off the ground. Recently there was a promising hint about the movie, where at BioWare Pax East Panel the game's executive producer, Casey Hudson, said of the film:
“... not just a movie; it’s going to be really special. "
Sadly, no further information was forthcoming and it's more likely fans will see the fourth Mass Effect game before seeing a film adaptation.
I'll end my tales of woe now with Metal Gear Solid, whose chances of a movie has now vanished from sight so effectively that it's almost as if it was possessed by the spirit of Solid Snake himself.
The idea of a Metal Gear movie was first announced in 2006 and the list of people attached to it contained a lot of Hollywood's biggest names. Quentin Tarrantino was set to direct, Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman have been rumoured to be cast in the lead role but despite all this the idea was laid to rest in 2010 and the possible movie cancelled. The idea of there never being a Metal Gear movie was hammered home to fans again recently, as when asked about the idea in January 2013, series creator Hideo Kojima had this to say:
"If I did make a Metal Gear movie it would be against my beliefs. If one day, I were to make a film , it would be completely different not related to Metal Gear."
So as we leave these poor games to their torments and cries of woe let us hope that one day they will escape from development hell and pop down to the local cinema for our viewing pleasure. Until then I'm off to dig out my copies of Tomb Raider or maybe Prince of Persia.
What's your favourite/least favourite attempt at creating video game to movie adaptation?