In 2011, Ubisoft made a major marketing move that might change the way we watch movies based off popular video games forever as the company opened a film division dubbed Ubisoft Motion Pictures. The intention for the opening of the studio was so that the company could retain complete creative control over the film adaptations of their games. This is a major move for the game industry as now they have complete control over their scripts. So what does this mean for the Assassins Creed movie that will be hitting theaters in November next year?
Most importantly it means fans of the series will not see classic Hollywood changes to the characters in the world or the overall story in general. In a year, gone will be the days of enraged fans of popular franchises — at least for Ubisoft games. The Uncharted movie, on the other hand, is looking to be a major bomb and another Resident Evil-esque series where nothing follows the games story or characters. Sure it would be nice to toss in a few extra details about the characters or dig into in background to give more depth to them, but changing their entire background to suit some suit who has never picked up a PlayStation controller is going to kill the movie before it’s even released. Really, no one wants to see Mark Wahlberg or Chris Hemsworth portray the role of Nathan Drake, except for your girlfriend who’s never played the game and enjoys seeing Thor topless in the Marvel movies. The Last of Us might have some hope left in it as Creator Neil Druckmann is at the helm writing it, but Hollywood is a merciless business and could completely change Druckmann’s script from top to bottom to fit a “demographic” if they really wanted to.
It really came to no surprise that Ubisoft Motion Pictures’ first film project was going to be based off the developer’s major hit franchise Assassin’s Creed, as not only is the franchise one of the highest selling video game series, but the well balanced blending of historical backdrops and just the right amount of science fiction has great possibilities for delivering a stunning film. The Animus and its time-traveling abilities would give filmmakers infinite possibilities, until they run out of time periods and catch up to modern time, of course.
On August 28, Ubisoft tweeted that the films story would not take place in any of the games involving Desmond or otherwise and will feature a completely original story that will be directly connect to the game’s world and the film’s universe. They had also announced that whatever had transpired between their games, comics or other forms of media involving the franchise will have a direct impact on the film and the films events will have a direct impact on the games. This could not come as better news, as this means that fans wont have to sit through a retelling of the original trilogy and worry if they will nail the characters and their stories right as that part of the Assassins Creed universe is set in stone. It also means that we will finally be going back to the present with a character that has not only a voice but a face with emotions and feelings unlike the bland painful to play through office workers players have been embodying in the later games. We have been itching to get back to the present with a worthwhile character and now the time has come and he will hopefully be as interesting and awesome as Desmond was. Let’s just hope if he does die he has a better send off than our late present day protagonist did.
Ubisoft didn’t stop their with the slight but impactful details about the film its story and its universe. We saw the first official image of the main character, Callum, who is going to played by Michael Fassbender who looks the part in his shadowy Assassins uniform. Azaizia Aymar, who is the head of content for Assassin’s Creed, revealed that new assassin Callum will be a “very different” assassin compared to Desmond and that Abstergo will be making an appearance in the film. “By creating a new story but staying in our universe. A new experience consistent w/ our brand & DNA. We need to be welcoming and not self-centered, so the way to succeed is by focusing on the story first!” said Aymar, who went on to reveal that the movie will take place during the late 15th century during the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Other actors in addition to Fassbender are Michael K Williams, Marion Cotillard and Ariane Labed, although their roles have not been clarified.
One of the best things about a game studio opening their own movie studio to create feature films based off their game franchises is that they can do cool things such as make the film’s release date factor into the film’s story. The December 21, 2016 release date is not a random, it’s the exact day (not year) that Desmond saved the world, and died, even though this is a small fact that most viewers and some fans might gloss over without realizing it and later read on IMBD’s “Did you know?” section. Let’s hope that this is a new beginning for video game film adaptations and other game companies will either follow suite or create contract deals with Ubisoft pictures to bring their game adaptation to life. Ubisoft could potentially dominate the video game movie franchise and create a subsidiary safe from Hollywood executives.