It’s obvious that comic books are finally, after years and years of trying, enjoying their moment in the proverbial spotlight. For example, the number one and number two movies at the box office this weekend were comic based movies. Marvel and DC both have big plans and literally dozens of films based on comic books coming up over the course of next few years. Video games however are still a rich source material that has yet to translate to box office gold. One of what seems obvious for a cinematic makeover is the subtlety series “Assassin’s Creed“.
For those unfamiliar, the game and it’s sequels center around a secret society of master assassins who play a subtle but integral part in the shaping of history against a rival society knows as the Knights Templar. As a current time descendant in a great line of assassins, you use a device to essentially recall the memories of the ancestors and learn via their experiences as to what your role is in history and in the society. The actor Michael Fassbender gave us a few hints about his involvement and the status of a movie adaptation of Ubisoft’s game while promoting his comedy Frank. There were rumors that Fassbender had detached from the project but apparently things are back on track now.
Fassbender first talks about staying true to the game but introducing elements that will enrich the game world and translate it better for film:
You know, we absolutely want to respect the game. There’s so much cool stuff in the game that we’re actually spoiled for choice in terms of what we can use and what we can’t, but we also want to bring new elements to it and perhaps our own version of things that already exist in the game. But we’re definitely making a feature film, and we’re approaching it as a feature film, as opposed to approaching it as a video game. But I love the world. I don’t really play that many video games, but when I met up with the guys from Ubisoft and they started to explain this whole world and the idea of DNA memory – you know, I think it’s a very feasible scientific theory. I just thought, ‘This is so rich,’ and about the possibility of it being this cinematic experience. So I’m really excited about it, and we’re working very hard to make sure that we’ve got the best and most exciting, original package.
And also how he feels about about the attached director, Justin Kurzel:
I just think that there’s one thing Justin should be doing, and that’s directing. I know that from working with him on Macbeth. He’s just fantastic in terms of his vision. Adam, the DP [Director of Photography] that he works with, is amazing. They’ve got a great shorthand – that’s essential. He’s fantastic with actors and each department. He’s a real heavyweight.
One can hope that someday the stigma left in the wake of the Super Mario Bros. movie or even Ubisoft’s first big budget movie attempt Prince of Persia: Sands of Time , will be set aside so that fans of their favorite video games can see that translation in the theaters. There has always been discussion among fans as to what games or even what specific chapters of games would make for great cinema. It can be argued that video games sometimes blur that line by basically letting you control a character in a very cinematic story and setting (Skyrim by Bethesda comes to mind).
The next real barometer for this crossover success will most likely be in 2016 when Duncan Jones’ film Warcraft (which is based on the successful strategy game of the same name and it’s heir World of Warcraft) is scheduled to release. Assassin’s Creed is gearing up for it’s next-gen release with Assassin’s Creed: Unity which arrives October of 2014. Personally, I have never played the game but I am a history geek so a good movie translation to introduce the material might entice me to buy up the back catalog and play.
Meanwhile, Assassin’s Creed the film currently has a release date of August 2015 (although I suspect that will change as a script is still being written for the film).