I ended last week writing about video game adaptations and I started this week writing about new franchises being developed at Lionsgate, and now those two things are coming together with the news that the studio is developing a feature film adaptation of Borderlands. Developed by Gearbox software, the best selling, critically acclaimed video game franchise is an open-world first person shooter role playing game set on the alien world of Pandora, a frontier-like planet that has been abandoned recently by mega-corporations but which may contain the legendary Vault, a rumoured stash of highly-advanced lost alien tech.
Variety is reporting the father-son duo of Avi and Ari Arad will be co-producing, with the former being well known for having produced several Marvel-based franchises like Spider-Man, Iron Man, X-Men, Blade and Ghost Rider. This production will be the first major video game development out of Liongate since it launched its strategy to start tapping the market by appointing Nerdist Industries CEO Peter Levin as president of interactive ventures and games. Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger had this to say about the production:
“Part of our strategy in entering the game space under Peter Levin has been to source new brands with built-in audiences that will translate into great films and television shows. The ‘Borderlands’ games don’t pull any punches, and we’ll make the movie with the same in-your-face attitude that has made the series a blockbuster mega-franchise.”
The Borderlands games – of which there have been four titles with one mobile game – is well known for it’s kooky and occasionally very dark humour, colouful characters and cell-shaded graphics, all of which give it a very unique feel. It’s basically a sci-fi western with Mad Max‘s desert wasteland and crazy characters and vehicles, Avatar‘s alien creatures and some serious tongue-in-cheekiness thrown in for good measure. It will be interesting to see how that is all translated to the screen.
In the first game released in 2009, you play as one of a group of four Vault Hunters – Roland, a grim soldier; Lilith, a psychically powered “Siren”; Mortdecai, a sniper with a pet bird of prey; and Brick, a gigantic brawler – who are attracted to Pandora by the tales of alien riches, and end up being guided by visions from a mysterious entity known only as Angel to the Vault. In the second game, a new group of Vault Hunters are introduced along with a brand new antagonist in the form of the very popular and brilliantly smarmy Handsome Jack. Throughout all the games and spinoffs though, there is always the character of Claptrap, the game’s utterly hilarious and more than likely deranged robot mascot.
With all those characters and a huge open world to choose form, it’s unclear which story direction the Borderlands movie would take or who the cast would be. It’s still fairly early in the development cycle with no writers or directors attached yet though, so we’ll just have to wait and see how this one turns out.
Now if you will excuse me, I am actually late for my weekly Sunday afternoon Borderlands co-op session with some friends. Here are a couple trailers for the first two games that you can check out while I go blast some Rakks on Pandora.
Last Updated: August 31, 2015