The quest to turn a killer video game franchise into a successful movie seems to never be ending. In 2016 we saw Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed both try and not quite succeed, even if both left the window open for future movies to build on. There is still Tomb Raider, Uncharted, The Division and even Splinter Cell in different stages of production or pre-production in the hope that one of these movies can actually meet the expectations of fans and movies goers alike. However, there is another adaptation in the works, one which I think actually has a good chance of succeeding: Activision’s Call of Duty.
Call of Duty has been one of the most popular video game franchises since it launched in 2003 and quite frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken this long to finally get the attention of Hollywood. While the different versions of the games might not always connect with each other and leave a lot to be desired in the story department, the action components of the games are perfect for cinema. Can someone get Michael Bay on this quick because this was a franchise tailor made for him to direct.
Activision Blizzard Studios doesn’t just want to get one movie out of the Call of Duty franchise though, but wants to create a Marvel-esque universe, utilizing the different settings from the games themselves – like Black Ops and Modern Warfare – and tying them all together.
The news was shared by The Guardian in a talk with co-presidents of Activation Blizzard studios, Stacey Sher and Nick van Dyk, about their plans for the films:
We have plotted out many years. We put together this group of writers to talk about where we were going. There’ll be a film that feels more like Black Ops, the story behind the story. The Modern Warfare series looks at what it’s like to fight a war with the eyes of the world on you. And then maybe something that is more of a hybrid, where you are looking at private, covert operations, while a public operation is going on.
I certainly like the different approaches they want to try with this to make sure that not every movie feels the same but focuses on a different aspect of war and the story behind it. After all, making all the movies too alike would be like making every game off the same engine and template, something which never works… oh wait.
It’s going to have the same sort of high-adrenaline, high-energy aesthetic as the game, but it’s not a literal adaptation. It’s a much more broad and inclusive, global in scope … a big, tentpole Marvel-esque movie.
Ambitious plans considering we don’t even have a single movie yet to actually determine if it’s any good or not. (Knowing CoD fans, does it have to be?). I also have my fears that this franchise would take on Marvel like proportions without detailed character arcs and stories to draw upon. They certainly have had a lot of games to get inspiration from, but my concern is how they are going to build more depth into those stories and tie them all into each other.
There is a also big timeline divide between games in the franchise, if you look at the early World War II settings to the latest Advanced Warfare taking us into space and beyond. From the comments above though, it sounds like they are going to try to keep it more leveled at the current timeline for now rather than exploring the different time periods.
Whatever their plan, they are committed as the studio looks to launch the call of duty Cinematic Universe as soon as 2018 if possible. They have a lot of work to do to hit next year, but if the scripts are good to go and they can convince Michael Bay find the right director, we could see work on this take place quickly.
I’m not sure if this focus on Call of Duty scuppers any chance of sequels to the Warcraft movie property which is also from the Blizzard stable. I certainly hope not, though I do think if the studio decides to push all the franchises, they might just be stretching themselves. Not that money is an issue for them at the moment.