It’s a common situation: a video game does unbelievably well in sales, and some smart-ass decides to push their luck and say, “let’s turn this into a movie”. Now normally the whole video game-to-movie transition faceplants harder than a drunk body builder (Resident Evil), but there are rare shining examples of games that break the silver screen (Doom). With such a shaky set of foundations then, it’s probably no surprise that movies based on video games constantly suffer from retracted funding, directors that abandon ship, and actors that lose interest. Due to many of these hardships we’ve missed out on some potentially amazing video game movies. Here are 5 of the best that sadly never happened.
One of the few Nintendo franchises that could pull away from the appalling Mario Bros. movie was the Metroid games. Originally planned to be something of a prequel, the movie was set to cover the early days of Samus Aran as a formidable bounty hunter beauty. The rights for the movie production have bounced between a few eligible parties for a number of years, but nothing ever materialized save for a few awesome fan-made promos. IGN confirmed in an interview with the production company last December that the movie never progressed from the script stage due to Nintendo being overly cautious as well as mass confusion over how to portray Samus when she wasn’t kicking butt. John Woo (the most recent owner to the rights of the movie) has since wandered off the project, leaving the ten year wait for this potentially amazing movie probably in vein.
Gears of War
A key example of a game that did really well really quickly is Epic Game’s third-person shooter, Gears of War. Not only did this game do incredibly well, it also came depressingly close to the silver screen with a $150 million budget and the director of Underworld (Len Wiseman) at the helm. Like Metroid, this movie was set to be a prequel to the first GOW game possibly following the Pendulum Wars. This movie met its unfortunate downfall thanks to New Line Cinema getting cold feet and reducing the budget to $100 million, something that was clearly the final nail in the coffin for Wiseman. He departed shortly after news of the reduction, but thanks to the enduring popularity of the game, Wiseman did not take all hope of a GOW movie with him.
The worlds most popular sci-fi FPS game has obviously had its fair share of movie production rumors. Heck, we even got a cool 8 minute glimpse at how awesome a movie could be. So why aren’t we watching Master Chief in our local cinema yet? Microsoft. Initially hesitant about striking deals and then demanding ridiculous royalties, Microsoft scared many viable studios away. It did finally sign a deal with 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios with the legendary Peter Jackson (LOTR, King Kong) producing. Director of the Halo 3 live-action trailers Neill Blomkamp was brought on to direct. All seemed well and good until Microsoft had a cat fight with Universal and Fox about the budget and financial terms causing both studios to walk out on the project. Jackson and Blomkamp saw red and walked out too, putting their efforts into District 9 instead, vowing never to return to the fruitless labor of love. In 2009 the carrot was dangled again with news that Spielberg and Dreamworks were going to pick up the helm but that rumor seems to have fizzled out much like the prior attempt. Much like Gears of War, the Halo franchise is massive so a movie is still very much on the cards. Fingers and toes crossed.
God Of War
Another video game movie set to be a prequel was God of War. A script, adherent to the game and its story, was originally penned in late 2005 and was awaiting the thumbs up from production giant Universal. Evidently it was given a solid thumbs downs as we’re yet to see a blood-fueled Kratos on the big screen yet. Amongst the complaints of no creative control and no contact with production teams, it would appear that individuals involved, such as Bret Ratner, are not sold on the production of the movie. As it stands now a new script has been written and is, again, sitting in movie limbo awaiting a decision.
Possibly the best setting for a video game movie in recent years was the damp and dark corridors of Rapture. A fully unique world with deep lore and shocking inhabitants, BioShock was silver screen gold, something creative director Ken Levine and Universal Studios firmly believed. After acquiring the rights, Universal brought on Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski who pushed for an R-rated (18 UK) horror film that utilized extensive special effects. Financial complications then arose due to Universal’s cold feet regarding R-rated movies after the lukewarm response to The Watchmen. They reduced the movie’s budget and moved filming locations overseas. This caused Verbinski to walk away and work on the CG movie range instead. Universal later removed their affiliation with the movie, leaving the future of BioShock in turmoil. It was recently confirmed by Ken Levine at a BAFTA event in London that he had pulled the plug on the movie’s production. He stated that this was due to nobody wanting to take the financial risk with a heavy CG-intensive, R-rated film. It’s unlikely that we’ll see this movie ever surface, especially with the BioShock franchise now leaving Rapture behind with BioShock Infinite.
How do you feel about the possibility of any of the above movies? Any games you particularly want to see hit the silver screen? Share them in the comment section below.
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