Half-Life and Portal to become films?
Valve is the videogame company behind two superb titles, Half-Life and Portal. I've played both games, although I have to admit to being more hooked on the two Portal games than on Half-Life, but both are high up on my favourite games list. So it's great news to hear that they are being eyed for film adaptations.
This is going to result in the usual rhetoric though, there will be the usual calls that videogames can't make good films and so on except those people probably haven't looked at the unique and fascinating story behind each of these games.
I have to admit that even when I looked at the two titles I immediately thought that Half-Life is the game with the richer story, after all Portal is about someone with a technology that allows them to create a portal wherever they want, one entrance and one exit, and how they use it to travel through various traps. That's not a great film, but it's the story that comes with the game around the set pieces that holds the excitement and interest and the potential for a film.
The story within Portal is that the player, the person with this technology, is some kind of test subject imprisoned by an artificially intelligent system that controls an entire testing facility, a facility which has been testing creature after creature. While being forced to carry out these intelligence tests the system throws at them they discover cracks in the surface and find that a previous test subject has escaped the closed and guided chain of tests and has been living in the cracks of the facility, cracks that are growing wider and wider the deeper the subject goes into the testing.
I'm not going to reveal too much but for those who have played it the story around the system, the facility and most of all the mysterious escapee could provide for a very interesting film and something we've not seen before.
Then there's Half-Life which carries with it a hugely rich and detailed story with many intriguing characters and sub-plots involving worlds in other dimensions, portals between them, and so much more. You play a scientist whose experiments result in a portal being opened between worlds and letting a race of hostile aliens attack Earth, a group of scientists head to the other world to try and stop them at the source while they continue to attack Earth. The full plot is much richer and involves a lot of mystery, ideal for a film.
In fact both stories have that mysterious element to them and are ideal for film, ideal too for a certain producer called J.J. Abrams.
According to the story in Deadline Abrams production company Bad Robot are in talks to team up with Valve Corporation to develop film versions of both games and revealed the surprise news during the keynote speech at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas:
"We're going to figure out if we can make a Portal movie or Half-Life movie together..."
That is an "or" and I hope that is just relating to their first adventure. Personally I think there are two very distinct films here with different styles much like the games themselves. Both would make excellent films in their own rights, although I suspect the Portal game would be cheaper to make considering the amount and scale of effects required for a Half-Life film. Mind you, Half-Life has the makings of a series without doubt.
Also Half-Life has a strong following of game players the Black Mesa project is a sign of that. Valve released Half-Life: Source which fans had hoped would be a complete remake of the original Half-Life game but turned out to be an enhanced version and fans weren't that impressed. So in 2004 a team got together and decided to rebuild it from the ground up, and they finally did releasing a game that has gathered a huge amount of praise. That's how influential and involved the Half-Life community is.
So now the news is that Bad Robot are teaming with Valve Corporation to develop film versions one of the games, and considering the fan base for Half-Life I can't help but think that this will be the game to get adapted even though I think the more exciting and interesting film would be Portal.
Expect mystery and lack of information from here out, but then that's the most exciting way isn't it? So which film would you rather see?