Metal Gear Solid film happening?
April 2006, that was the first time we actually heard mention of a Metal Gear Solid film. From then there were references in 2007, 2008 and then a quite period until last year when the news was it was officially dead. Roll on 2012 and we hear that the project is rather alive.
In fact more than that, the film version of the videogame has officially been announced, yes Metal Gear Solid the film is going to happen. Maybe.
The announcement comes at a celebration of the ongoing series 25th anniversary (25th?!) in Tokyo this week and according to the announcement the film is a go with Avi Arad, the successful film producer, taking to the stage and making the grand announcement.
The story comes from games site Kotaku, through The Guardian who didn't credit the site with a link, there were banners at the event which say "Metal Gear Solid Hollywood Movie" along with the logo of Columbia Pictures, who it is worth noting is owned by Sony, and not only did Hideo Kojima confirm the film is in production but also brought Arad to the stage who confirmed it.
"For many years I fought to bring comics to theatres...Comic books are now biggest genre in cinema...Video games are the comic books of today."
Now that's an interesting quote and a great way to think about it and you know what he's right. There's no reason that videogames can't work as a film treatment when Hollywood can make such successful comic book films. The problem with adaptations that have failed to date, because let's be honest some have worked, is the creative input, the care and attention to the story and characters with the same care and attention to being true to the original material that took the story to the film. That's how the comic book adaptations work so why not videogames?
The Metal Gear Solid series started back in 1987 on the MSX computer but it really came to life when it arrived on the PlayStation in 1998 and has grown in stature since. They have a lot of cinematic sequences throughout them and there are plenty of references to film throughout as well as having a great plot which could really do well in film.
Snake is an agent for the government who has some powerful technological tools to help him fight terrorist organisations that have similarly technologically enhanced skills.
Then in March the confirmation came, the production was underway and that came from Kojima himself who said:
"We're going to do it as a movie...A Hollywood movie."
That was the last we heard from the film until 2010 when the word came that the project was officially dead. Michael De Luca revealed that the Metal Gear Solid film was pretty much dead and the problem was laid at the videogame company's door.
"I don't think it's going to move forward because I got the sense that there may not be enough of a coordinated will at this point on the side of certain parties to see a movie get made…
…[T]he video game companies are very protective of their property and there are certain things a studio requires freedom-wise to market and distribute a movie effectively in a global marketplace and sometimes getting those two things to match up is really hard. And in the case of Metal Gear Solid, the agendas just….not because the parties weren't amicable, it was just kind of impossible to get the agendas to match up…
…I get it because the problem with a lot of these adaptations is it's such a huge franchise for the video game company. A movie can only hurt. If the movie's great, you're probably not going to sell more games. It's such a separate thing. The franchise being as big as it kind of helps the movie…I'm not sure the movie does the same thing for the game."
Now here's the reason so many adaptations have failed because the people who created the story and the characters and own the franchise don't give up all their rights to Hollywood so they can make whatever they want, perhaps a teen-friendly G.I. Joe, or maybe forget about pleasing the existing audience altogether.
Marvel didn't do that. They stuck to their guns and look where they are. That's what's going to work for the videogame adaptations from Metal Gear Solid to Halo.
So now the project is back on and it looks like this time they're going to give it another go. I think with Avi Arad on board to produce and the current attitude of Hollywood towards the comic book properties, perhaps they'll be more favourable towards the idea of a big budget Hollywood version of Metal Gear Solid, one that favours the massive existing fan base for the property.