Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Assassin's Creed" Movie Imminent

Sony and Ubisoft's movie division (STILL kind of amazed that of all the game companies to start their own full-on movie arm Ubisoft was first out of the gate...) have reportedly registered a buttload of domain-names that all point to the all-but-innevitable announcement of a movie based on the "Assassin's Creed" video games.

For a change, THIS is a "recent" game series I'm actually pretty interested in seeing moved up to the big screen. It's got a really interesting setup (spoilers for anyone who hasn't played the games after the jump) a setting that isn't done to death in either medium and a nifty visual aesthetic. The big question is... how much of this actually gets filmmed?
SPOILERS for the games from here on out!

See, the "everybody knew" (from the advertising) part of the first Assassin's Creed was that you were playing as a Crusades-era assassin; which is interesting enough... but right off the bat the actual game threw you a wicked curveball - the story actually STARTS in the present/near-future, where an ordinary guy is being held prisoner by a secret organization who're using Matrix-esque technology to dig around in his brain for "genetic memories" relating to a centuries-spanning conspiracy that involved his ancestor; the medieval assassin you play as in the game-proper.

Along with just being COOL, this structure also served as an ingenious handwave for the story to leap around from mission to mission and eventually from time-to-time - the sequel invovled a different ancestor and was set in Rennaissance Italy. (It was also helpfully in getting me to maintain a state of "give-a-shit;" as I tire of "go here, fetch this, go there, kill this guy" open-world gameplay rather quickly on it's own.

So, here's my questions: Do they keep the same "flashback" structure? Do they start in the Crusades or later? Both? Will the really, really, REALLY big "wait... WHAT!?" business from the end of the sequel get dropped much earlier? One thing that damn near goes without saying - the same actor will almost-certainly be cast as "present guy" and "past guy," and I'd be unsurprised to see the film do A LOT more skipping between past and present - as it is, the game story (yet unfinished) seems to be leading toward Desmond ("present guy") taking up his family legacy in a modern context... maybe the film will get there right off the bat - or at least for the finale?


Ronin08 said...

Ubisoft's also made it clear that Assassin's Creed isn't just a video game series, it's a worldbuilding concept. The games are just the primary medium the fiction's translated in--the whole exercise is a lesson both quality control (The ARGs, the ability to turn out multiple successful AAA titles), and in how far users want to take their experience with the content. (there's been failures, of course. I don't think anyone cared about the DS titles or the novelization.)

I'm excited for the film because I don't think it'll just be an adaptation of the games--I hope it'll be a vital piece of the fiction that both introduces the world to non-gamers and expands the fiction for existing gamers.

Risko said...

If they don't mess it up then Ubsisoft will hopefully set a positive example for other companies to keep creative control of their IPs. Marvel took care of theirs and we've seen some pretty good movies over the years.

As for the flashbacks, for consistency's sake I hope they just stick with one time period in the past, because there will be 2 layers of action as it is, if they choose to shuffle between the past and the present. I'd hate to see some Inception-inspired mess with 34 different time periods. A whole new time period would be great though, because I'm definitely not interested in watching a rerun of the games on the big screen.

Paladin said...

Well they didn't totally screw up "Prince of Persia" & Creed is somewhat similar to that. I'd say this might have a chance.

Taylo said...

I'm not actually that impressed with the Worldbuilding Concept, since it's really just a framing device that can be wrapped around any story, and it's going to present a huge roadblock to Hollywood since the Overarching Near-Future Cyberpunk plot doesn't feature any of the series' iconic or well-known visuals. (Someone is in a meeting right now saying "No, we can't market a movie as a renaissance action thriller but open in the future. Americans will scratch their heads and leave the theater)

Furthermore, unless the movie actually covers multiple time periods I feel like he framing device would just feel clumsy and unnecessary (and making a movie that only works until you get to sequels is a cardinal sin that Hollywood should learn to avoid)

What I'd prefer to see is a series of shorts a la Animatrix or Halo Legends which can actually make good use of the framing device to deliver multiple small stories.

Link3680 said...

Well, if they decide to just copy the games, they'll either have to keep Desmond in or do some major revisions. Desmond is pretty much the main character of the series, and the first game really just hints at the whole conspiracy.

Of course, they could go ahead and do some sort of side-story.

Martín Cerón said...

You'll probably have to be online while watching the movie.

AlucardsFate said...

This is disappointing to me. Perhaps I'm alone in this, but I found Assassin's Creed's story amazingly boring. (not to mention the game itself was mediocre at best) Well whatever, I guess I don't have to see it. Problem solved.

KevinCV said...

@AlucardsFate That is the single most reasonable thing I've ever seen someone say on the Internet about anything ever. You've earned many respect points from me. :)

Angry Man said...

LOL @ Martin. Good one.

I'll be keeping my expectations decidedly low for this one. The best we can probably hope for is that it wont completely shit all over the game series.

Jwillx70 said...

I'm actually hoping that they skip Altair and focus on Ezio. Altair is an ass-hole with the personality of a brick, where as Ezio is an exuberant laddies man determined to avenge the unjust execution of his father and two brothers. This is Ezio has recevied two spinoff games to star in, while Altair hasn't shown up since that one cut scene midway through the second game. Ezio is simply a better character.

Peter T said...

This series has a lot of potential for different stories. We'll see what they do.

David (The Pants) said...

Colonial era, Victorian/Civil war era, 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, etc. All cool possible locations for new ancestors.

And yes:

AlucardsFate makes me feel a happy I wasn't expecting. Bravo sir!