Video Game Fan-Film Series: Red Sand

RED SAND MASS EFFECT FAN FILM
/ by AndrewRainnie

Video Game Fan-Film Series: Red Sand

by Andrew Rainnie


In the second instalment of this series looking at video game adaptations by passionate fans, I spoke to writer and director Caleb Evans, along with producer, VFX supervisor and faculty advisor Paul DeNigris, about their short film Red Sand, based on BioWare space epic Mass Effect. The film, shot at the University of Advanced Technology in Phoenix, Arizona, delves into the discovery of the Prothean Ruins on Mars, 35 years before the events in the game, and features Mark Meer, voice actor behind Commander Shepard, as Colonel Jon Grissom.

Paul DeNigris and Caleb Evans

AR: Given the scope of the film, could you give an introduction and overview of the production process you went through in order to make the film?

PD: I’m a full time professor at UAT, I’m the Program Champion of Digital Video – essentially I’m the department chair. The digital video program is specialised in visual effects filmmaking, that is the industry most of my alumni go into, so that is our focus here; genre films – sci-fi, horror, fantasy, action – the kind of thing where you have lots of effect work being done. Once the students have worked through the first two years of the program, they end up in Digital Video Production Studio, which is a three tier class where students from different experience levels and areas of expertise come together and collaborate on one specific project. In the fall semester of 2011, Caleb was among the group in the DVPS class, and we discussed pretty early on that we should do a video game fan film, because they get a lot of online attention and we thought that would be a really good way for us to illustrate what we are doing at the University.

CE: Yeah, when we were talking about what game we wanted to do we tossed around a couple of ideas. People responded quite well to Half-Life and Bioshock, as we thought those might work but we didn’t really know what to do with them. So I thought, “What is my favourite franchise?” and the answer, of course, was Mass Effect. Everyone in the room stopped and said, “Yes, we have to do that. Right now.” From that point it was kind of a no-brainer. I took it upon myself to write the story, because it was about something I love so I wanted it to be meticulous. I know many fans want it to be perfect otherwise they will never forgive you if you mess it up.

AR: I think BioWare found that out recently with the backlash surrounding the ending of Mass Effect 3.

CE: Indeed. But at the same time, I wanted everyone in our group to have creative freedom as well and not get too-tied down in recreating the game, so I was trying to pick a point in the universe that offered us a way in. Since it takes a lot to do alien CG animation, and I was aware of the resources we had, I opted to do a prequel about the discovery of the Prothean ruins on Mars. I was looking at all the lore that exists and the timeline of events and that seemed to be a period with a rather sparse amount of information. It seemed to be they found the ruins, then suddenly had the Mass Effect technology, and no-one really knows what happened in the middle.

AR: So you took a section with no story so you could fill the gap?

CE: Exactly. I created a story within those events, and made a conflict that involved keeping the ruins out of the hands of these Red Sand marauders. According to some of the books and lore I researched, there were criminal Triads on Mars, so I moulded them more into a terrorist group that has their own section of the planet. I also made them addicted to Red Sand; it is a drug that exists with the Mass Effect universe that they inhale, which grants them temporary biotic abilities. This allowed us to have biotics in the film before the Mass Effect Relays had been discovered, although in a more savage, chaotic nature than the games.

PD: From my perspective, we looked at a lot of the Mass Effect fan films out there, and it seemed like nobody had ever tackled biotics with any great degree of success, so that was a fun visual effects challenge for us, and to make it a central part of the story was a very cool approach. As Caleb was developing the story, I was approaching it from a non-fan point of view, as I had never played any of the game. So while Caleb was making sure we stayed true to canon, I kept saying “Make it interesting for me,” because I did not know this universe.

AR: That’s quite interesting, as that is similar to what happened on the new Star Trek films. The director J.J.Abrams and one of the writers Alex Kurtzman did not consider themselves “trekkies,” while Kurtzman’s writing partner Bob Orci and producer Damon Lindelof were, so they were able to bring a balanced approach to a franchise with a large fan base.

PD: Exactly. The other thing we realised fairly early on was that we could make the stakes in our story pretty high; essentially we’re telling the story of how they find the Mass Effect Relay in our solar system. If our movie doesn’t happen, then entire Mass Effect universe does not happen. So what was nice about that was that we knew the outcome, but we didn’t know how we got there.

AR: Did BioWare know about the production at all before the trailer and website were released?

CE: In a way, yes, because there was a former student of UAT who is now a lead character artist at BioWare, and he spoke at the university during an event at called Tech Forum, where industry professionals come and give talks. So when he was here we reached out to him and asked if it was a good idea, and he seemed very positive; he said the company love it when fans of their games make fan films. I don’t think they officially knew that we were doing it, but unofficially…

PD: Well, I’m sure they know now, but they didn’t know beforehand.

AR: So you have yet to receive an official reaction from them?

PD: No, although the admins at the BioWare social network know about it, and they have asked us to keep them updated.

AR: So I have to ask, how did Mark Meer [the voice actor behind Commander Shepard] become involved with the project?

CE: We were trying to figure out who would be a good actor to play the main character, John Grissom. He is the only character in the film that is established in the Mass Effect lore. I used him so that fans of the film would have someone to relate to, but I also wanted to show a different side to him than what has been written. All the other characters are completely made up, and I had a fairly good idea of who I wanted to play them, but we had casting calls and readings for the role of Grissom, yet no-one seemed to inhabit the character the way I wanted them to. I remember saying to the rest of the cast “What if we asked the actor who voices Shepard?” So we looked up Mark on IMDB and immediately thought that he looked the part. From there we reached out to his agent, who asked for a script for Mark to read, and then after we sent that we heard back from Mark, who loved it. He has been behind us ever since he read the script.

AR: From the trailer and your production stills, you seem to have quite a high production value. Obviously you have the resources of the university, but have you had to look elsewhere for things like costumes and props?

PD: Yes, the main thing we outsourced was the costumes. We have a really great costume designer here in Phoenix named Nola Yergen. She had worked with us previously on a film that we made about the Iraq War, which was my Masters Thesis film which we shot last year. She is a great lady and a great person to work with; she is super creative and can make amazing costumes with no money. We brought her in really early and told her we had a serious need for great-looking costumes that look like Mass Effect but not exactly, they had to look more primitive than compared to what we see in the game because it is set decades earlier. She loved the sound of the project and saw it as a challenge, and she really came through for us on that.

CE: That was part of the creative freedom we had, was that we basically had to reverse engineer everything you see in the three games, to make it what we thought it would look like in the past, as Paul said a more primitive. That helped us a lot that it didn’t have to look exact, but we were not starting from scratch either.

PD: Props wise, the students and I did all the fabrications of the weaponry. So the guns were all Nerf guns and super-soakers that we kitbashed and out back together in different configurations, and then painted them to look essentially like an early version of the N7 arsenal. The other tool we have here is a 3D printer which can duplicate any of our models from 3D Studio Max or Maya. For example, some of our props, like the grenades Mark Meer’s character uses in the film or a piece of Prothean technology that is important in the film, were modelled in Maya then printed via the 3D printer. We still hade to dress them and paint them so they didn’t look like a piece of plastic, but that 3D printer is like our secret weapon.

AR: A secret you have now revealed to the world! So which filmmakers would you say most influence your work?

PD: For me, I’ve been a student of film for a long time so my influences run the gamut. As far as genre films go, like action and sci-fi, Ridley Scott would be my number one, with Chris Nolan a close second.

CE: For me, Nolan is also a big influence, but I would also say David Fincher as well.

AR: There has been a spate of video game adaptations in the last decade, but a few weeks ago I wrote an article suggesting with the success of Game of Thrones, the Mass Effect series may be better served as a TV show than as a film, given the scope of the world and sheer number of characters. Do you ever think we will see either a film or a TV show?

CE: I think we will see a movie before we see a TV show, but I am wary of how it is going to be made. It will probably be rushed and unless they get the right people, I’m afraid it will just be a shoddy version, like…

PD: Wing Commander? (Laughs) I don’t think anybody wants that.

CE: I don’t think anyone wants another Uwe Boll movie either.

AR: IMDB has it listed as in pre-production at Legendary Studios.

CE: It’s been in pre-production for a few years now, there’s not been any movement on it.

AR: So would you both describe yourself as gamers?

PD: Caleb is, I’m not. I’m a film professor; I don’t generally spend a lot of time on games. Occasionally I’ll play something like Ghost Recon with my sons to blow off steam, but I don’t have the time to dedicate to something as epic and immersive as Mass Effect.

AR: What do you think of this generation’s games becoming more cinematic and blurring the line between game and film, for example Uncharted, Mass Effect, and Assassin’s Creed ?

CE: Uncharted is a great example that I think a lot of companies need to pay attention to. The entire process of filming everything in a green screen studio, with the voice actors wearing motion tracker suits so you see the emotions in the characters in the game. Along with some excellent animation on top of this, and a great graphics engine, it really engrosses you within the game. And BioWare as well have stellar writing and amazing voice actors. They really know how to drive a story, and it is something they seem to do effortlessly, especially in their most recent titles. A lot of companies need to learn form that, I think a lot of game companies rush products or try to imitate successful games, but I think when people put in the creative energies to make an immersive world and story, it pays off in the end.

AR: Do you have any quirky anecdotes from making the film?

PD: Obviously having Mark Meer in the cast was pretty awesome, because he is just a great guy, just a genuinely amazing person to get to know, and super professional at what he does. When I picked him up from the airport, I warned him that he was going to a school full of avid gamers and so he should expect to be treated like a rock star. He was just cool and accepted it, but the guy couldn’t get through lunch without being mobbed by students. He was sitting in our cafeteria during a break, fully kitted out in his Grissom armour, with all these timid kids circling the room, wondering when the opportunity was going to arise for them to make eye contact with Mark, or go over and approach him. So one day he just stood up and gathered this swarm of fans around him. It reminded me of the end scenes of Close Encounters of the Third Kind when the little aliens come and grab Richard Dreyfuss . That’s what it was like! He was just standing in the middle of the room, surrounded by fans. And he looked over at me, and I was like, “I tried to warn you!”

AR: Caleb, you said earlier on that the class discussed other games before settling on Mass Effect. If for some reason you had not been able to do Red Sand, what other game would you have adapted?

CE: I really wanted to do one based on Bioshock, but I knew it was not very feasible. To do it properly we would have needed a lot of water shots; I knew we did not have the resources to do that, and I would not want to fake the water visual effects through glass. It would have been tough to justify that, because I felt it would have been something we would put a lot of effort into and it would still not work out. I love Half-Life, but I knew there was a couple of really great fan films based on that already out there, like Beyond Black Mesa. Those were the big two, but we also surveyed people from our school and asked them what we should do. A lot of people repeated Half-Life and Bioshock. Fable came up, which I thought was an interesting choice as it has no real lore, and the world is hardcore fantasy, which may have been fun to do, but I don’t like that universe. For me, Mass Effect was the only legitimate choice we had.

AR: It is a very good choice, not only for the existing lore you have been able to use, but also because of the huge fanbase that will be keen to see it.

CE: Yeah, definitely.

AR: So, once Red Sand is done and dusted, what are your plans?

CE: Well at the moment I have other projects I am working on, I’m currently editing on a web series here in Phoenix focused around UFC fighters that we hope will become a TV show. Some of the crew of Red Sand are helping me with that, and we will be doing that for a little while, but after that I have no idea.

PD: And as for the school, it will be up to an entire new class to try and top Red Sand!

AR: Do a decent Super Mario Bros. Film. If you can pull that off, everyone will love you.

PD: I dunno, hard to top Dennis Hopper as Bowser!

 

My thanks to both Paul and Caleb for taking the time out to take to me. They have just released a new kick-ass trailer on YouTube, while more information about the project can be found at the Red Sand website.

Video Game Fan Films: Beyond Black Mesa [Interview]

Beyond Black Mesa Fan Film
/ by AndrewRainnie

Video Game Fan Films: Beyond Black Mesa

by Andrew Rainnie


In the first of an ongoing series looking at short films inspired by video games, I chatted with Brian Curtin, director, producer and editor of Beyond Black Mesa. The short film is inspired by Valve’s classic game series Half-Life, named after the research facility found within the game. It tells the story of Adrian Shephard and a group of resistance fighters, struggling to stay alive long enough to warn the world of an impending invasion.

AR: Why did you choose to make a short film based on Half-Life? By that I mean did you consider other video games, or was it only the world of Half Life you were interested in exploring?

BC: There are three big things about Half-Life that appeal to me as a filmmaker. The first one is that I have been a fan since I first played it 10 years ago. I still don’t fully know why it was such a memorable game, but I lost myself in it. As an independent filmmaker, you work from inspiration and I got it from the Half-Life series. Secondly, the story is so good. I won’t dive in too far, because that pool is real deep, but the world of Half-Life is exactly what I like to try to envision on screen. Strip everything away and you’ve got a huge disaster, zombies, aliens, mystery, resistance vs. overpowering gas-masked soldiers, and in the middle of all this is an unexpected hero scientist. Sounds like a good movie to me. Thirdly, the look and feel of the games, more so towards Half-Life 2. Everything is so well designed. I just really like the style.

AR: You have various elements from the games in your film. Was Valve aware of the production at all before the film was released? If so, what were their thoughts to you using logos and designs?

BC: There was no contact during the production of the film. Since it was a fan film, we made sure that they were the first to see it before we released it. That’s when we finally got in touch with them. It’s funny, I think Valve is as mysterious as G-man – very untouchable. They were very helpful, but not too interested.

AR: What has Valve’s reaction to the film been like?

BC: They enjoyed it. They also expressed that they were not too fond of the combine ninja boss… I understand.

AR: For a fan made film it has a very high production value, using a lot of stunts, costumes and special effects.

BC: Thanks.

AR: Could you explain a little about how you funded the film, and how much it cost, and how long it took from concept to completion?

BC: It was completely funded from our own pockets. I consider myself a very resourceful person, but being resourceful is a challenge that I occasionally find fun. Between producers Mat Powell, Matt Hall and myself, we spent around $1,200. I’d like to think that the film looks more expensive than that. Unfortunately, to keep costs that low, we had to put in a number of hours that I never want to know the total. Let’s just say A LOT of time went into it. With that said, it was a two year process in between full time jobs.

AR: You do not have any dialogue in the film, only narration. What was the thinking behind that decision? Or was it more practical?

BC: Ha! Very practical. We’ve learned to stick to our strengths. We are not actors and we didn’t have access to actors. So less acting would save the film, but you can still tell a story.

AR: Which filmmakers would you say influence your own work?

BC: I find that most of my influences come from the iconic movies of my childhood like The Goonies, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Sand Lot, Army of Darkness. I don’t think any sci-fi filmmaker can not mention Lucas and Spielberg. I like what J.J. Abrams is doing nowadays, he is still keeping some of that nostalgia alive.

AR: With a spate of video game adaptations currently in development, do you think we will ever see a Half Life feature film?

BC: Yes, but not until Valve knows it’s ready. Just like Half Life 3. It will come when the time is right. Or when I can raise enough funding on Kickstarter to make it happen!

AR: So what’s next for you?

BC: That’s a secret for now. It’s about 20 times bigger and better than Beyond Black Mesa. If you enjoy our films, then you’re going to love this. Give me six more months.

AR: Are there any other games you would like to adapt into a short film?

BC: That’s what I’m making right now. It’s going to be killer, we’re in the zone!

My thanks to Brain Curtin for taking the time out to talk to us. To watch Beyond Black Mesa, as well as short videos about the making of the film, and to keep up to date with any future films from Brian Curtin and his team, please visit their YouTube and Facebook pages.

Wacky Week’s Alternate Reality: What If Sony And Nintendo Had Made A Console Together?

Sony Nintendo Partnership
/ by AndrewRainnie

Wacky Week’s Alternate Reality: What If Sony And Nintendo Had Made A Console Together?

by Andrew Rainnie

Note: This silly bit of “news” was written as part of the Wacky Week theme. Don’t take it seriously. Check out all the wacky articles for this week’s theme over here at the Wacky Week hub.


Somewhere, in a parallel universe where everyone sports an evil goatee, there was a decision that split that timeline from our own, that ripped apart the very fabric of video gaming as we now know it.

Sony and Nintendo made a console together.

In the present day, it is almost unfathomable that the Playstation brand would never exist, but back in 1988, Sony and Nintendo bumped uglies to create a CD drive for the SNES, dubbed the PlayStation, in order to compete with Sega’s Mega CD. Due to a number of legal wranglings, Nintendo then left Sony for Philips, developing a CD drive for the SNES that would be compatible with Philips own console, the CD-i (That’s right people, someone used the ‘i’ before Apple). However, the add-on for the SNES never materialised, as Nintendo thought it cheaper to simply develop a new console, the N64, which directly competed with Sony’s new PlayStation console.

But imagine for a moment Nintendo and Sony had come to terms and released the CD drive for the SNES. With these two mighty giants it may have been a success, and led a joint console, which we will call simply, the Playstation 64. Rather than relying on cartridges for their 64-bit console, these two titans would have used existing CD technology, or possibly even a disc somewhere between the CD and what would become the DVD. The partnership would have been prosperous for both, enjoying the hit GoldenEye. By the time they came to make the Playstation 64’s successor, the Play Cube, Nintendo would have retained Rare as a developer, rather than having Microsoft steal them and lose the staff who had made the games that sold the Playstation 64. Sony and Nintendo’s partnership moved beyond games, with Sony pictures developing a number of films based on Nintendo games, including a CGI Super Mario Bros Film that beat Toy Story for the Best Animated Feature Oscar. They also created a successful trilogy based around The Legend of Zelda franchise, although a fourth film, based on Majora’s Mask, failed to find an audience, and is often rejected by film fans as being part of the series.

And what of the rivals of this harmonious partnership? Sega’s Saturn would have lost the console war against the Playstation 64, which in turn would have pushed Sega to seek a coalition with a technology giant to solidify their business in the next generation of consoles, especially as there were rumours that Microsoft were thinking of crashing that party with their Xbox. Enter Philips, still interested in the video games market despite the disaster that was the CD-i. They decided to push for a higher end console, more expensive than Play Cube (as Sony were still accepting of Nintendo’s pricing strategy). The new console from Sega and Philips was dubbed the Dreamcatcher, pushing the technological prowess ahead of both NinSony or Microsoft. Philips brought more interactivity to the console market, seeing the benefit, as Sega did, of online gaming.

In essence, gaming became a two tier market. At one end was the PlayCube, cheaper, more affordable, aimed at a younger audience, while at the other end was the Dreamcatcher, offering more expensive hardware but a more immersive, hardware accelerated experience. The Xbox sat uncomfortably in the centre of these extremes, and as a result, had the smallest share of the market. Microsoft considered the Xbox experiment as a lesson learned, and bowed out of the next round of the console wars, concentrating on PC gaming.

Spotting an emerging gap in the market, Apple, revitalised with its recent success of its iPhone and iPod products, made the iGame. Simple, easy to use, and offering interaction between all of their products, it was a direct challenge to NinSony’s next console, the motion control focused Whoosh, which featured both motion controller and an advanced camera system, allowing more seamless interaction in games. Apple attempted to mimic the consoles games by using the iPhone’s camera, but was a cheap imitation of a revolution in gaming.

SegaPhilips, enjoying a healthy share of the hardcore gaming market, held off on introducing their next child into the world, as the Dreamcatcher was still capable of competing with the iGame and the Whoosh in terms of technology. Two years passed, and people wondered whether Sega and Philips had parted company, as were the rumours flying around the InterWeb. However, they debuted their new console at the E6 show. They offered the world something it had never seen before; augmented reality holographic gaming. Although triple the price of the Whoosh, people flocked to buy the projection-pushed console, which used the visual equivalent of surround sound to create images and holograms in the gamer’s home.

The house of the blue hedgehog reigned supreme.

All of this, that could have been.

Mass Effect: Why A TV Show Makes More Sense

mass-effect-3
/ by AndrewRainnie

Mass Effect: Why A TV Show Makes More Sense

by Andrew Rainnie


A couple of weeks ago I wrote a feature entitled Top Ten Games That Should Be Films. Mass Effect came in at number 4, behind The Legend Of Zelda, Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted. However, I was introduced very late to the Mass Effect world, and must confess I have only just finished Mass Effect 2, an epic sixty hour journey that has forced me to reconsider my standing.

Mass Effect should not be a film.

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Films That Every Gamer Should See Before They Die

King of Kong
/ by AndrewRainnie

Films That Every Gamer Should See Before They Die

by Andrew Rainnie, director of the film, The Collector


Films and games. They are like oil and water, rarely mixing with any great success. Game adaptations into film have mainly been poor, while movie tie-in games tend to be little more than quick cash ins (Activision, I am looking squarely at you). But yet there is much that one can learn from the other, films that share qualities with games in their themes or actual story, that make them worthy viewing when a gamer wants to give his button bashing thumbs a rest.

 

TRON

1982, Walt Disney Productions

The cult classic was directed by Steven Lisberger, who was inspired to make the film after playing Pong. It was originally conceived as an animated film, but after being turned away from numerous studios, was set up at Disney as a mix of live-action and computer generated animation. Features sets and costumes by Peter Giraud, the French comic artist also known as Moebius, and vehicle designs by Syd Mead, famous for those in Ridley Scott’s Alien and Blade Runner films. But it was the concept of a conscious AI, the Master Control Program, transporting a human being into a digital world, which captured the imaginations of audiences worldwide.

 

THE LAST STARFIGHTER

1984, Warner Bros

A product of its time, it was along with Tron one of the first films to heavily use computer generated graphics. But whereas Tron was set inside a video game program, here the video game is used only as an inciting device. The teenage protagonist, Alex Rogan, defeats the high score of his local arcade game, Starfighter, which is in fact a training simulator to find the best pilots in the galaxy, a plot which exciting the imagination of young would-be space pilots everywhere, especially only a year after the conclusion to the Star Wars trilogy.

 

THE MATRIX

1999, Warner Bros

Almost twenty years after Tron, the Wachowski Brothers trapped audiences inside The Matrix. While sharing many similarities with Tron’s storyline – sentient computer programs, trapped humans – the one difference is that initially, the world of the Matrix is almost indisguinshable from the real world, both to the characters in the film and the audience themselves. Whereas Tron was set during the birth of home video games, The Matrix launched just before the turn of the century, when videogames were now common place, and gamers could perhaps identify more readily with the loner of Thomas Anderson, lost in a virtual reality prison. Rather than a quest through a computer animated world, The Matrix forced its audience to think about the reality of their world, managing to ask deep philosophical question in between the wire-fighting and revolutionary bullet time special effects. These ideas were becoming more popular; David Cronenberg’s similarly themed Existenz was released the same year, and Chris Nolan’s Inception a decade later explored these further. But without The Matrix we may never have seen the rise of Assassin’s Creed.

 

THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS

2007, Picturehouse

A documentary charting die hard video gamers attempting to beat the World Records of the arcade classic Donkey Kong, offering a fascinating insight into the often addictive quality of games, or rather, the need to beat the game and rival players.


 
 

THE WIZARD

1989, Universal Pictures

Or to give it the much better German title, Joy Stick Heroes. Starring The Wonder Years’ Fred Savage and Christian Slater, the film was famous for being the public unveiling of Super Mario Bros 3. Nintendo games feature heavily throughout the film, with arcade scenes sporting the Nintendo Pay Choice Ten cabinet, which allowed players to play ten NES games in their local arcade. However, the highlight of the game is a duel against antagonist Lucas Barton, who famously states. “I love the Power Glove. It’s so bad.” While licensed by Nintendo, it was made by Mattel, and was poorly received.

 

Honorable Mentions: Avalon (2001, Miramax), Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2011, Big Talk Films)

Make Sure to Avoid: Super Mario Bros (1993, Hollywood Pictures)

Top Ten Games That Should Be Films

uncharted-3-GamersBliss
/ by AndrewRainnie

Top Ten Games That Should Be Films

Andrew Rainnie, a screenwriter and script developer for film and television, takes a look at which games offer the best transition to film though story and character.


This generation has witnessed an explosive shift in how games tell stories. With companies like Naughty Dog, Quantum Dream, and Rockstar pushing the boundaries between gaming and film to provide entertaining, gripping, and even emotionally driven games, one question still remains:

When will we see a great film adaptation of a video game?

Soon, I hope. As the video game market has expanded, there have been numerous attempts, from Super Mario Bros to Doom. The Resident Evil franchise, while undeniably commercially successful, is a series of B-movies that has never fully captured the best of the franchise (although certainly its worst). Yet these are the early days. Before we enjoyed the great comic book adaptations of recent times, we endured almost two decades of tripe until producers started treating the source material with as much respect as a classic book adaptation. Now that games have stories of substance and feature rounded, entertaining characters, perhaps more of the essential quality that makes them great will be transferred into their celluloid counterparts. But which games offer the best chance of success in terms of character, story and visual prowess?

1. Uncharted 

– In this generation alone Naughty Dog have managed to make three games that play like movies. Each has been well deservedly received both critically and commercially, and yet they all followed a similar formula, one which could easily translate to the big screen. The story is essentially a modern day Indiana Jones, bringing with it a wealth of well developed characters; the cheeky heroic Nathan Drake, his wise sage mentor Sully, and love interest Elena. Although the film is currently ‘in development,’ it is by no means assured. It has already changed directorial hands, after comments by David O’Russell led many to believe he was aiming to make a film far removed from the game. You do not adapt a book and then chuck everything away but the name, so why do that with a game? Of course there would have to be small changes to accommodate a film’s structure, but the vast majority of the game’s story could be reused for the film, as could those of the sequels should a film studio wish to make a franchise.

2. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

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