Fassbender leads Assassin's Creed film
It was a while ago that Ubisoft began testing the water of videogame to film adaptations with short animated film versions of their games, starting with a short animated film adaptation of Assassin's Creed and with a plan to move onto more animated shorts and eventually live action features. It looks like that plan is coming to fruition.
While we heard last year that the Assassin's Creed film was beginning the initial talks for the franchise were with Sony but nothing came of them, now Michael Fassbender's production company are signed onto the film with him planning to take the leading role.
Assassin's Creed is a very successful franchise for Ubisoft who have released a number of games under the banner which are rich with story stretching across timelines and pulling in historical as well as modern technological stories and ideas.
The first videogame, which will presumably make the first film adaptation, told the story of a man who is kidnapped by an organisation intent on exploiting a new technology they have to access memories stored within DNA. Their goal is to access DNA memories from his ancient ancestors who were a line of Assassin's who tried to maintain world order and find the location of ancient artefacts that they can exploit for their own means.
The game sees you playing this character in the future and accessing these memories to play as his ancestor. It's a visually engaging and game play rich game; although the original does tend to become a little repetitive I'm sure the film will not.
The videogame franchise has been quite an earner for Ubisoft stretching to something like nine releases across various platforms and a new game in the franchise is due out soon.
While the original talks were between UMP and Sony they seem to have failed, at a guess I'd say the creative control that Ubisoft wants to retain in their films caused the project to fail as many other videogame adaptations are doing these days, and so Ubisoft have decided to develop the film independently.
It's strange why the creative control issue is something that scares away the studios, after all like Ubisoft have done you only have to look at how well Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time turned out to realise that handing a videogame over to Hollywood studios is not going to bring the vast gaming audience with it, especially not when they don't understand the source and turn it into a poor film with an over inflated budget.
That's not a model they would have chosen for a book adaptation, think of the Harry Potter and Twilight series, creative control or at least adhering to the original material is what is called for, and if the videogame production companies want to remain involved in the film ensuring that it stays true to the original material that the existing audience are already tied into, where's the problem in that? Surely that's a good thing, ensuring the production doesn't leap off and lose the audience the studios believe they can win over in the first place.
So Ubisoft's film production company, Ubisoft Motion Pictures or UMP, has partnered with DMC Film, a production company through which Michael Fassbender and Conor McCaughan have been producing films for the past year according to Variety, and this is the biggest film they've taken on yet.
It doesn't just stop with that though, Fassbender is set to play the lead character, the Assassin in the past and perhaps the man whose DNA is used to access his memories in the future as well.
One interesting feature of the production is that UMP will turn to its in-house videogame development teams to create the effects for the film, and why not? After all they are developing immense backdrops, effects, cut scenes and short films for all the videogames and they have the technology and the experience at their fingertips. This could be a winning formula for the production and mark a template for future videogame adaptations.
However with Assassin's Creed the real excitement is the fact that Michael Fassbender is taking the leading role. Suddenly the film has taken a real step forward to a reality and a definite quality. How long before we see Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon hitting the same production line?