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Film and videogames move closer

GearsofWar.jpgThere's a rumour out today that Legendary Pictures are looking to buy the popular videogames company Epic. What's fuelling this rumour is that Epic is the developer of Gears of War, the videogame that is fast becoming a franchise, is in development to become a film with Legendary co-financing the film.

So is it really a surprise that Hollywood studios are looking to buy and partner with videogame developers?

Like any other successful marketplace that's creating engaging and popular stories appealing to the same demographic as Hollywood is targeting, studios are keen to trawl them for potential film adaptations.

Really it's no different to books or graphic novels/comics, videogames are another type of storytelling, and I wonder why so many people leap up and down and throw their toys out of their prams about videogames making bad films.

As the saying goes, albeit with a few differences, videogames don't make bad films, film studios do. It's not the fault of the videogame developers that there are poor films out there, it's writers, directors, editors and above all, studio executives.

Videogames are providing strong material for film development, much as comic books are, but it's early days and, as with any source of material, studios are finding that they can produce something half-arsed and get away with making a profit.

Not so with the current generation of videogames though, and that's one of the reasons that Halo fell over, you can't make that film without doing it justice and investing, and that's the same for other videogames that carry huge story and cinematic elements such as Gears of War.

The age of videogame adaptations is coming, and Legendary could be onto a good thing if this rumoured deal is actually true.

The story comes from Variety through Latino Review and tells us that:

“News comes less than two weeks after Legendary topper Thomas Tull resigned from the board of Brash Entertainment, the licensing-focused vidgame publisher he co-founded. Talks to buy Epic indicate that Tull remains interested in the videogame space even after leaving Brash out of frustration with its performance.

If the deal is consummated, Legendary would be the first film financing company to start investing money in videogames. Several studios, including Warner Bros., where Legendary is based, have recently started spending their own money on games.

Tull has undoubtedly gotten to know Epic since Legendary came aboard to co-finance New Line's "Gears of War" movie earlier this year.”

It's not the only reason that Epic would make a good purchase for another company, they also make the hugely successful Unreal Tournament game and the Unreal games engine that is used in many other videogames, a steady source of income.

However, back to the takeover rumour in hand, IGN have a statement from Epic's Mark Rein on the subject:

"It is just another rumor. We're not going to comment on the rumor and we have already publicly announced that we're working with Legendary Pictures on the Gears of War movie and that we have the utmost respect for Thomas Tull and his organization."

So maybe the takeover isn't happening, but Hollywood is certainly making a stronger and stonger bond with videogame studios, and I think that's a good thing. Soon we're going to see epic films made of videogames as they are of comic books.



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