History tells us that video games, no matter how popular and successful or how neat the concept is, just can't find their magic when translated into movies - either with huge budgets backing them, or modest budgets backed by big ideas. Just last year we saw Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time follow the long line of gaming-to-screen failures killing the chance for a cool series that should have enjoyed plenty of film translations. Now Paris-based Ubisoft Motion Pictures are hoping to change the tide - Variety reporting that the film & t.v. arm of the French gaming giant have announced that 3D features are being developed for their top games - Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon - in the hope to succeed where others have failed. Ubisoft created this new production shingle in January as a way for getting their popular games off the ground and into motion pictures but it's not yet clear which of the three games will be pushed the hardest first. So far the only work that has been undertaken is meetings between the producers of the game and Ubisoft's marketing team (naturally) to 'identify the DNA of each game and come up with storylines that are consistent.' No script writers have been found but we are told they will have the screenplays completed by the end of 2011. Ambitious. Assassin's Creed perhaps has the best chance for going first because of it's current appeal and high revenue despite being a relatively new game, however some might say the concept of which is very similar to Prince of Persia - just set in a different time. Assasin's Creed centers on the conflict between Templars and Assassins - two secret organisations with differing religious idelogies who have inflitiated major historical events. Or at least that's what the game tells us. Splinter Cell is definitely the most realistic of the properties and is basically a Bourne-esque action drama centered on an skilled secret agent who fights terrorism and has trouble protecting his daughter. Seems like an easy and smooth translation to the screen and hopefully if a writer is given large amounts of freedom then something cool could be delivered. This and Metal Gear Solid just seems so easily adaptable... it's stunning that they haven't been cracked yet. Ghost Recon wouldn't be too difficult though will require a substantial budget. Set in the near future, the game follows an elite team of soliders who are fighting for world peace with high-technology. All three gaming franchises have sold 67 million units worldwide (AC - $28 million), (SC - $22 million), GR ($17 million). Ubisoft say they will meet with agents and studio execs in L.A. next month.
"We want to keep ownership, retain control over the film content, and we're open to work with studios on the development of our projects, and eventually collaborate on the pre-casting, pre-budget and script."
Which of the three games do you think best suits the translation to film?
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.