If you didn’t already know, Sony is in talks with Ubisoft to turn the uber popular Assassin’s Creed franchise into a movie (or more…depending on how well it does). But that isn’t the shocker – it’s the amount of creative control that Ubisoft is demanding, which is unheard of in the retarded world of Hollywood. Filmmakers are up-in-arms over it, but I’m a firm believer in the idea, and here’s why.
Let’s go through all of the details one by one. First off, everyone knows the deal when it comes to movie adaptations of popular video games: Doom, Super Mario Bros, BloodRayne, Tomb Raider (slight success), Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Max Payne, Resident Evil (moderate success), Silent Hill, Dead or Alive, Hitman…need I keep going? The list of gaming franchises that were all but completely ruined by their film counterparts goes on and on. It’s a well-known fact that Hollywood hasn’t been very good at adapting video games into hit movies.
That brings us to one specific adaptation that I left off of the list: Prince of Persia, one of the most popular video games of all time, with one of the most intense cult fanbases. And the most important detail – A game developed by Ubisoft. The movie was a disaster. It destroyed the integrity of every amazing PoP game that came before it, wasted a ton of time and money for everyone involved, and pissed Ubisoft off. They believed they didn’t have enough control (even though Disney would tell you they had too much control…fucking movie studios).
Ubisoft wants this time around to be different. Sony has signed a deal that gives the game studio the power to approve or disapprove just about everything, including budget, principal cast, script, and release date. A bunch of studios passed on the deal because of the amount of control they’d forgo in the process. Sony has a different perspective – it’s not bad considering that Ubisoft is fronting a ton of their own cash to develop the project, and Sony is signed on to invest “only a fraction of what a studio typically would spend to option or develop a script.”
All kinds of movie industry-type douchers are throwing a hissy fit over the deal. A Dreamworks exec had this to say: “they’re not moviemakers, and the only way to make sure it’s a bad movie is to undervalue what movie studios do — and this is a deal that totally undervalues what movie studios do.” Another studio chief who passed on the film dropped this arrogant line: “they want to be able to pull the plug on the whole movie’s development if they decide to. It’s ridiculous.” Some asshole talent agent who represents a smaller video game developer said “the whole Ubisoft/Sony deal is a waste of ink, paper and time. The level of control Sony gave up means, effectively, that Assassin’s Creed will never — and I mean never — get made.”
Did that make you a little bit sad? Me too, but it didn’t dampen my hopes and dreams. These movie folk are effectively reducing the franchise to a name, a number, and a bunch of fine print, and completely missing the most important reason why Ubisoft wants this much power: the story. I can guarantee that anyone who passed on the deal has never picked up an Xbox or Playstation controller, let alone played through all 3 (almost 4) Assassin’s Creed games, and thus knows nothing about its insanely complex plot, which weaves conspiracy, history, religion, science fact, and science fiction into one neat long form story. Simply trusting the concept in the hands of random, possibly inept, filmmakers just isn’t an option. I respect Ubisoft for that, because I want to see Assassin’s Creed turned into a successful film just as much as they do, and I would never want to see Hollywood destroy it like they do with almost everything nowadays.
So will a Assassin’s Creed movie be made? We can only hope that Sony and Ubisoft make big moves and push this through to the big screen, because I’ve been thinking about an AC film adaptation since I finished the very first game, and at every ending sequence since…it’s seriously brilliant. But with all the red tape in Hollywood and the odds obviously stacked against them, I’m trying to contain my excitement to a mere “oh that sounds interesting.”