Two years have passed since video game publisher/developer Ubisoft decided to get serious about turning its popular titles into movies and television projects – by forming Ubisoft Motion Pictures. The organization is focused on developing feature-length cinematic treatments of best-selling Ubisoft franchises – like Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell – but with a focus on producing stronger artistic results (paving the way for higher box office returns), as compared to the innumerable sub-par and critically-ravaged video game movie adaptations that’ve been made since the early 1990s.
However, the latest news – that Warner Bros. and Michael Bay are working alongside Ubisoft to adapt Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon video games series to the big screen – probably won’t inspire the same degree of confidence as the previous announcements on the Ubisoft movie front.
Bay is currently gearing up to begin filming his fourth Transformers movie, but Variety is reporting that he will oversee development on the Ghost Recon movie through his Platinum Dunes banner and could end up directing the film (dependent on whether or not he likes the script). Ubisoft Motion Pictures CEO Jean Julien Baronnet says that the company wants to collaborate with Bay because “he is a master at action movies” and feel that he’s a good fit for the Ghost Recon universe (described as follows):
“These guys don’t belong to any specific organization,” Jean Julien Baronnet, CEO of Ubisoft Motion Pictures. “They’re in the field where the U.S. troops are not supposed to be. It’s a small team with very strong personalities and very specific skill sets. They’re using weapons nobody knows about but it’s very grounded. It’s not sci-fi.”
The Transformers trilogy has contributed heavily to Bay’s reputation for being a love/hate filmmaker. Nonetheless, some of those sci-fi popcorn blockbuster’s strongest moments have been focused around military soldiers either heading into battle or engaged in combat (see: the base jumping sequence in Transformers: Dark of the Moon); indeed, Bay has long been renowned for his ability to construct exhilarating sequences featuring troops in action (see: The Rock). That’s to say, there’s truth in what Baronnet has to say (like it or not).
Ubisoft heads have begun the search for a screenwriter to handle the Ghost Recon movie adaptation, with the plan being to start formally attaching cast members and related talent by sometime next month. The studio has set rising-in-demand screenwriter Eric Warren Singer – who penned David O. Russell’s upcoming American Hustle – to script the Splinter Cell movie (with Tom Hardy starring). Furthermore, Ubisoft intends to release producer/lead actor Michael Fassbender’s Assassin’s Creed movie adaptation in theaters by Memorial Day 2015.
In other words, Ubisoft isn’t kidding around with these projects and is expected to recruit equally strong writing talent for the Ghost Recon adaptation. The purpose, of course, is to do proper justice by the increasingly complex story and character development featured in contemporary video game titles (rather than reduce them to mindless action film fare):
“When we started Ubisoft we wanted to be able to maintain creative control of our franchises,” Baronnet said. “We wanted to be in a situation where we’re not making mainstream movies but movies that can respect the DNA of our game franchises. Today it’s real.”
The first Ghost Recon game premiered in 2001, as a first-person shooter title that gave rise to multiple iterations (selling over 24 million copies), expansion packs, a turn-based RPG variation for the Nintendo 3DS, and a Facebook game over the subsequent twelve years. Ubisoft has already transformed the franchise into a live-action short film produced by Ridley Scott, titled “Ghost Recon Alpha” – which you can watch below – so there’s little excuse for why a full-length version cannot match or exceed that short in quality.
Are you excited or worried about Michael Bay being involved with development on the Ghost Recon movie adaptation? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section, as we continue to keep you up-to-speed on the situation.