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Video Game Movies: The New Sure-Fire Blockbusters?

Thursday, July 12th, 2012 by

With the development of the raved video-game-focused documentary Indie Game and distribution through the gaming platform Steam, are we nearing a new focus in independent film production?

Variety reported Monday that Michael Fassbender, star of X-Men: First Class and Inglourious Basterds, will star in and co-produce Ubisoft Motion Pictures’ developing independent film.

“Michael Fassbender was our first choice” to play the franchise’s iconic hero, said Ubisoft Motion Pictures CEO Jean-Julien Baronnet.

Last year, Sony and Ubisoft were in negotiations to develop multiple “Assassin’s Creed” movies. But Variety also reported that these talks had been put on hold, with Ubisoft now planning to develop the first film independently. Doing the movie independently would give the studio greater creative control, unlike what happened with “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”, which was adapted by Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer.

Sony could possibly still end up distributing the “Assassin’s Creed” movies but Ubisoft Motion Pictures is seeking a writer and a director before negotiations move forward with Sony. Baronnet had said that Ubisoft Motion Pictures seeks to “limit its risk investment” with the “Assassin’s Creed” films by tapping its in-house studios, like using Hybride Technologies, to develop the visual effects.

Video games have widely been regarded as artistic visions that, when done well,  take the viewer on a journey much akin to the mission of all film independent or otherwise.  With productions like the Bungie epic series Halo and the emotionally jarring BioWare series Mass Effect, it’s clear that video game producers have mastered the ability to make their medium as accessible as films while having the distinct advantage of audience interaction films lack.  This recent uptick in successful video game franchises turned to movies is not new, but the fervor around it is something that people may find surprising.

There have been flops: movies like Street Fighter: the Legend of Chun-Li should never see the light of day again.  But for every misstep there has been an Angelina Jolie Lara Croft spectacle or a mystical and gripping Prince of Persia success.  But, in my opinion we may be reaching and/or currently living in a prototypical golden age of synergy between film and video game that can only bode well both for each respective industry and it’s audiences whom typically utilize both mediums.  

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