It’s been a hell of a month for gaming, with Halo 4 making an estimated $300 million its first week, and Call of Duty generating a staggering $500 million its first day.
And right before this incredible explosion, a number of games have been up for movie adaptations including Assassin’s Creed, Deus Ex Human Revolution and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell.
Several Hollywood players I recently interviewed certainly think so, including John August, the screenwriter of Big Fish and Dark Shadows.
"The next wave of cinema is games, or more generally, immersive narrative experiences that happen on smaller screens. Right now we have AAA videogame titles like Call of Duty that are analogous to our summer blockbusters, and indie games like Limbo that are like indie films. But we’re missing a form of serialized game that compares with our great TV shows," he explained.
"That will be the next big thing. Something that falls between The Sopranos and Grand Theft Auto. Whenever that comes, it will be bigger than Titanic or World of Warcraft. It will be silly to talk of doing a movie version of it, because it’s already bigger than a movie could be."
"Game companies are hiring screenwriters," says talent manager Brooklyn Weaver. "To me that’s really exciting, and a lot of screenwriters are working with videogame designers as audiences are becoming more demanding on a story level. If you’re a writer, you can walk into the gaming platform, and these companies want someone who can write great characters."
And indeed, gaming has hired top Hollywood writers for games for years now, and there’s enormous room for depth in games these days. So again, this month there was the announcements that Deus Ex and Splinter Cell are going to be adapted into games. The news also hit on Variety that Universal is still trying to keep its movie version of the Atari classic Asteroids up and running, and they just hired a new writer to get the script into shape.
Meanwhile, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is coming out on DVD, VOD and Blu-ray on December 4. Where previously an adaptation of Halo for the big screen would be too expensive, it’s definitely working out in smaller installments, not to mention we saw David Fincher produce Halo 4’s preview trailer which premiered on Jimmy Fallon.
It’s not clear whether Hollywood’s been reading the tea-leaves and immediately decided to get the ball rolling on all this, or if it’s all coincidentally exploding in the zeitgeist right now, but we have the feeling a major game movie could be coming together soon. We’d also love to see John August’s prediction come true that all this could indeed be the next big thing, and create a great new genre in the process.