Marvel Producer Avi Arad Talks ‘Metal Gear’, ‘Uncharted’ & ‘Mass Effect’ Movies

Published 2 years ago by

Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4 Marvel Producer Avi Arad Talks Metal Gear, Uncharted & Mass Effect Movies

For those who are eager to see video game movies becoming a successful and viable genre, it’s difficult not to get a sense of bottlenecking in their development; there’s neverending talk of movies that will be based on Halo, Metal Gear Solid, Devil May Cry, Deus Ex, God of War and countless others – but sometimes it can feel like these projects are in a permanent state of delay, and when a video game movie does finally get released it’s… well, it’s Max Payne.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been any good video game movies – Silent Hill is a fairly decent example, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time wasn’t that bad and the Resident Evil series is generally watchable – but when the pinnacle of video game movie success is “decent,” “not that bad” and “watchable,” it’s no surprise that this particular genre doesn’t have a great reputation.

Former Marvel CEO Avi Arad has plans to change that, however. In an interview with Kotaku, the producer of comic book-based films like Iron Man and The Amazing Spider-Man acknowledged that “converting games to film hasn’t been done yet successfully,” but expressed confidence in the future of video game movies:

“I think that film studios are bankers and filmmakers are risk takers and somewhere in between we meet on the battlefield. And the moment one video game movie goes through the roof, it’s the same thing that I’ve been through with comic books.”

Arad expanded on three video game franchises in particular that he’s involved with developing for the big screen. The first of these, Mass Effect, is a space opera set in the late 22nd century, at which point humans have made first contact with alien life and secured a tentative place in intergalactic society. Peace is disturbed when an ancient and deadly species called the Reapers begin  setting in motion the extinction of this collective civilization.

Female Shepard in Mass Effect 3 Marvel Producer Avi Arad Talks Metal Gear, Uncharted & Mass Effect Movies

Since the story – and in particular the protagonist, Commander Shepard – is shaped by the player’s own choices in the game, Bioware writer Drew Karpyshyn has said that bringing the story to the big screen will be “complicated,” and advised that the film should be allowed to make changes from the video games, so long as the key themes were kept intact. When asked about Mass Effect, Arad said that there’s plenty of time to work on the script, since the movie might not be out for quite a while:

“It’s a big idea, that we, humans, are the least developed, the least trusted, it’s an interesting mirror image of our world, we are the aliens now. Love the project, it’s getting there, it’s been a lot of work; some movies take five, six years before they’re ready.”

Turning to the subeject of Metal Gear Solid, Arad expressed his view that the franchise is “actually full of storytelling” (and cutscenes, lots of cutscenes), which means that it will translate into film fairly easily. He added that he likes to take inspiration from operas and the Bible, and that Metal Gear Solid is perfect in that sense because Solid Snake and Liquid Snake are like Cain and Abel.

Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan in Uncharted Marvel Producer Avi Arad Talks Metal Gear, Uncharted & Mass Effect Movies

During one stage of development, the Uncharted movie received a lot of fan backlash after David O. Russell, who was originally supposed to write and direct the film, described his version of it as having a strong “family dynamic.” This would have been an odd change from the story of the games, in which protagonist Nathan Drake is raised in an orphanage after his mother’s death and father’s abandonment, before embarking on a career as an explorer and professional thief of priceless antiquities. Arad hints that the new script, penned by Marianne and Cormac Wibberley (G-Force), will draw on the relationship between Nathan and his mentor, Victor Sullivan:

“I think Uncharted will be very successful. It’s a father and son game. There are things about it that are interesting. I think the world of antiquities theft, there are many countries in the world that realised they’re being robbed and they’re trying to recoup these important pieces. Now, the script has a lot of character [and] I think that has a shot at being the first one [to succeed].”

Of course, Arad isn’t alone in working to bring video game-based movies to the big screen, and with the timelines he mentioned in the interview he may well get beaten to the punch when it comes to sparking a wave of successful video games. Develop and publisher Ubisoft has started up a film production company called Ubisoft Motion Pictures that is dedicated to creating movies and TV shows out of some of the most Ubisoft titles, whilst retaining an unprecedented amount of creative control. The first of these projects, a movie based on the Assassin’s Creed series that will star Michael Fassbender, is already set for release in summer 2015.

Are you convinced that the comic book movie revolution will be followed by a video game movie revolution? With so many video game movies currently in development, tell us in the comments which one you think is most likely to succeed on the big screen.


Source: Kotaku

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Been waiting for the uncharted movie for years and patiently waiting for uncharted 4. Honestly uncharted is probably the easiest out of all the video games to make it to the big screen. Really don’t know why its taking so long for it to be made

    • They keep going to Seth Rogan and Co. and they keep turning them down, thats why.

  2. Haven’t played Uncharted (honestly never thought the series looked that good, hell, I never liked the Tomb Raider videogames in the mid 90s) so wouldn’t care about that as a movie but Gears Of War, most definitely.

    I liked Max Payne though. The movie, not the games.

    • How did you like the Max Payne movie but not the game? Not mad or anything, but I just really want to know.

    • Please tell me you’re trolling?

      • I’m afraid he actually means it..

  3. HALO. After the web series Halo: Forward Unto Dawn, I was more than stoked for a full on Halo movie based on the original game and discovery of the Halo ring, perhaps with a bit less Flood in it.

  4. Original movies based on video game licenses are fine, but I refuse to watch any movie that just re-hashes the plot of a game. Especially Mass Effect.

    • Fair perspective, but I think the days of following the game too closely ended with Super Mario Bros. ( I never saw that, but gather that it was a live action story of high-jumping plumbers and lizard people.). More likely is the prospect of movies that have little or no identifiable components. Sure, Halo will have Halos, and even a master chief in at least some capacity, but rehashing the stories that have already been told seems taboo. I am much more concerned about the other end of the spectrum. We don’t need to tell the MGS series without Snake, or turn Nathan Drake into a family man to distance the material from itself. I would actually rather have a moment to moment rehash of some great games than watch the clumsy scrambling to differentiate and reinvent my favorite stories. Hopefully we are nearing the time when game films will display excellence in originality without trying to reinvent every universe.

  5. Avi Arad left his stamp on too many bad comic book movies to give home the benefit of the doubt.

    • Whatchu talkin bout Willis? Avi Arad made comic book movies possible out of sheer perseverance. Remember that Spider-Man cartoon from way back in the 90’s? That was all him and Stan. If it wasn’t for that Sam Rami’s trilogy wouldn’t have been as big as it was… Just saying; credit where it’s due.

      • I think youll find new line and stephen norrington hold that accolade of ‘if it wasnt for them’ as Blade was the first successful comicbook adaptation followed by Singer’s Xmen. Arad’s s**** Spider-man films had nowt to do with it boy!

  6. Colin Donnell for Nathan Drake

  7. What ever happened to that inFamous movie we were supposed to get?

  8. Mass Effect. Renegade Male Shepard.

    • Yes and make it so he lets the councell get blown up, only in the end he makes the ultimate sacrifice. “He did what he had to to win, for us all. In the end he saved everyone, including the council races, you can’t fault a man for that.”

      • I am thinking that the way to walk the line between rehash and reinvention, while not constantly making ME fans compare THEIR Sheppard to the one on screen is to keep the lead character a bit ambiguous. Not to the extent of Master Chief’s absurdly vague personality, but still less overtly characterized than “Renegade/Rogue” versions. Doubtless many of us will still have moments of “That’s what I did/woulda done!”.

  9. The sad thing is that they have to have a big name star in order to do these game adaptations, and the actor who would portray the role the best isn’t necessarily cast.

    Mark Whalberg (who was previously attached to the role) is an alright actor, but he doesn’t seem like he has or could portray the persona of Nathan Drake to me. He has the star power that would draw in the bucks though, which is unfortunately the main thing these days.

    PS I thought the Prince of Persia movie was a lot of fun (though Gylenhall wasn’t exactly Persian looking), and I’ve been playing the game since the original PC version by Mechner, up to The Forgotten Sands.

    • I thought that the Prince of Persia movie was playing with that classic cliché of ‘everyone in ancient times was British’ (historical entertainment in general – just see Da Vinci’s Demons for ‘evidence’ in 15th century Florence…) to the extent that two of the main characters were played by Brits (Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton.)

      • How many Iraqi and Iranian actors do you know of?

        • I didn’t really know of any Japanese actors on account of not being that aware of the Japanese film industry, but The Wolverine did alright.

          I’m not complaining about the lack of ‘real Persians’ in the film. I was just making an observation. I mean, yeah, Jake Ghoweverhissurnameisspelt didn’t look Persian, but that’s true of most of the cast. Rather than cast a bunch of unknown-to-the-West actors, they decided to do the classic ‘British’ thing.

          Another example of this sort of thing is 300 – if you imagine the ‘posh British’ accent to be roughly similar to the way Athenians would talk in Ancient Greece, the Spartan accent/dialect was roughly equivalent to ‘Scottish,’ apparently. That’s just the way things are done.

  10. Bring on the Mass Effect movie. :)

  11. Ew, Resident Evil movies. Ewwww.

    • Did you somehow get the impression that Mila Whatserbutt can’t act? You must have eyes and or ears! Enjoy those.

      • I think it’s more resentment at what the movies have become. The director created a new character for his wife and based the film series around her… and then she gets superpowers.

        • Crucial point! I forgot about her husband being her director. I believe he was the guy behind the three musketeers remake a few years ago, and the reason why a classic tale centering around four men was hijacked into another Mila vehicle and absurd debacle. I saw her being saucy and flaunting her cleavage (pretty much the whole range of her talents), and wondered why they had to shoehorn her into a story where she clearly doesn’t belong. Her husband is the answer, and no amount of airship anachronisms can disguise the fact that they butchered a good tale for her sake. When family and friends get jobs they don’t deserve we get crap. Tim Burton has certainly entertained his wife and buddy with as many roles as they want, and I can’t recall the last time the result was even watchable. Spielberg found an early low point in Indy when he hired his wife to whine her way through Templeof Doom, and I maintain that nothing in the franchise is as bad as her contribution.

  12. I think a Mass effect trilogy would be amazing if the right people do it. Though Uncharted would probably be the easiest one to transfer.

  13. None of them will succeed if they stick with the game story. All these games are easily over 7 hours. Mass Effect wil fail the hardest. Everyone has THEIR Shepard. When they don’t see Their Shepard anger will follow. Bioware fans are renown for their anger.

    • The best thing to do with Mass Effect is not have it based off Shepard. Maybe the rise of Cerberus or the conflicts after the reaper war.

  14. I just can’t wait for the Assassin’s Creed movie come 2015. And Warcraft despite not being a big fan of it. I would not say the Resident Evil movies are watchable. The first one is but the sequels are a pile of sh*t.

    • Well, the article is probably referencing film audiences in general, not you specifically, when it talks about how watchable the Resident Evil movies are. There’s a reason they keep making them.

  15. Mass Effect, Uncharted, and Metal Gear do not need movies. Mass Effect has journey that is very personal to each player and there are only a few stories that do not involve Shepard that would work but not well since the game series revolves around Shepard. Uncharted would be the easiest especially a story that precedes the games. Nathan Drake’s origin story can be done properly and still make fans happy at a one shot film rather than trying franchise. Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid do not need movies because like Uncharted and Mass Effect they are almost as much movie as game. No I am not talking about cut scenes. The game play itself is an interactive story not just a typical game. Most people I know who play these titles get lost in the game’s world and appreciate the characters even when they hate them. The problem with movies is that they tell one person’s point of view. They can make movies based on games but they should tread carefully because they could ruin the franchise by making a mistake.

  16. Wow no MGS fans tough crowd

    • MGS fan shout out! You seen that long preview for The Phantom Pain? It looks like Kojima basically IS making a film! After missing pieces of that story since the beginning, it appears we will finally see the first Snake become the man his clone must confront. If I’d have seen the phrase “MGS5: In OuterHeaven…men become demons.” 10 years ago, that woulda practically made me wet my pants. Adapting the convolutions of that saga to film is daunting, but they don’t have to start with the grand scale stuff, so maybe it can work. Years from now when the movie series is complete I can see a lot of fans going “now I get it! …but Raiden is such a whiner!”

      • I love that the games get more ridiculous and the plot gets more convoluted and Hideo Kojima wanted every Metal Gear game to be his last, but each was so successful, he had to make another, so he made it even more ridiculous and then had to make ANOTHER and the story throughout all of the games still sort-of in a way makes sense.

        For a potential film series, part of me would want them to do it chronologically in-universe. The fall of Big Boss and the rise of Solid Snake. Hell, get started now whilst Kiefer Sutherland is still able to do it!

        • Hmmm…. Starting with the relatively (!) down to Earth “Snake Eater” era would be cool, but so would the infiltration of Shadow Moses, setting up a need for an illuminating prequel or two. The worst idea would be to start with the super modern cyber ninja era when there are gritty tales to tell that don’t have to be massive budget, spectacle films.

  17. Honestly, I’d much rather they do a Mass Effect TV series with a decent budget. It’s the only way to truly capture the scope of the story telling. There’s just too much going on and too many intricacies to reduce roughly 200+ hours of storytelling and action into three movies. Plus, this way they can play around with some of the major moments in the game. Have Shepard follow his paragon form mostly, but give him plenty of renegade moments spread throughout. Plus, the scale and scope of the third games adaptation is too large to set up. There’s so many delicate relationships between characters and all of the main species to really cover it all in detail without simplifying it to the point where it loses its magic.

    If you think it can’t be done on a TV budget, look at what Battlestar Galactica was able to accomplish in some of its bigger episodes. Put the right people in charge and you could have a great 3-6 season sci-fi epic.

    • Great idea. Tv can do better than just take the time to tell the tale, it can expand on elements that could easily be larger than the game depiction. All that London under siege stuff from the ME3 promos, for example, could be a whole storyline. There is more high end material and intricate mythology ready made for ME than there ever is for a new scifi show so your series solution is perfect.

  18. A Metal Gear film could be amazing, but has to be written by Kojima and not based on any of the games. To me this means it’ll either be a Big Boss story from the 60’s/70’s/80’s or a story about Raiden since Solid Snake’s adventures are pretty thoroughly mapped out.

    • After they took Raiden from whiney interloper to hyperactive future soldier, I think the only way to use him is with a big budget spectacle. That’s fine, but I want more story than action, so low budget seems a safer bet. Also less committee interference on a small film…

  19. to hell with all that… Where are the Bioshock and God of War movies?

    • Bioshock was deemed to expensive a little while back. Because it’d be a niche sci-fi film that would cost a lot of money to get it looking ‘right,’ the project was effectively scrapped.

  20. An MGS film would be fantastic but it’s been spoken about for nearly 20 years

  21. I can’t see any game becoming a great film anytime soon. These film-makers have the mindset that it’s still a video game on-screen. Look at Max Payne when Mark Wahlberg’s fighting in slow motion, or those awful Resi-Evil films. If anything, it’s the gaming industry that has more of an understanding on how to produce a cinematic experience, and that’s because they have a genuine interest in movies. People in the movie business fail to appreciate games and that’s the reason why films in this genre are treated poorly.

  22. I don’t really know too much about video games, but I used to play Gears of war 2 and call of duty over my mates house. Some of the games have quite compelling stories, but the fact that it is interactive is the most interesting.

    In the case of Mass effect, it would be cool if there were different versions of the movie. For example: Imagine the same story and characters(more or less) but with one version where the protagonist is male and another where the protagonist is female. Kinda like how gamers can choose and customise their characters.

    I know this wouldn’t work for the cinema, but imagine a Blu-Ray that has two alternate versions of the main story. Or better yet, a blu-ray disc that gives you a different story each time you watch it. Kinda like those “Choose your own adventure” books.

    Monty Python released comedy LP’s on vinyl in the 60’s that had a spiral design in the mold. This meant there were multiple sides. The best thing is, they didn’t tell anyone, so when people would listen to it again, they’d be like….”I can’t remember this bit!”.

    • I get a lot of flack from my friends for saying this but I think fem shep was a better voice actore then male shep. I think the best thing they could do is just make a trillagy with seth green as joker and only draw from the video game but not out right rip it off.
      That said I just hope that the councel gets blown up or in the sequil have shep punch the terian member in the face for being such a dick.

      • You shouldn’t get hassled by your friends – FemShep was voiced by Jennifer Hale, one of the greatest voice actors of all time! And now I’ve got the Commander Shepard theme song stuck in my head.

        “You can fight like a Krogan, run like a leopard
        But you’ll never be better than Commander Shepard”

    • Interesting. The male/female thing seems absurd to bother with, but a home version of the film with branching paths is not unheard of. (Complicated, expensive and unlikely though). There was a horror movie (“Final Destination 3″ I think), where you could ignore the official version of the film and just hit a button to choose whether a potential death would occur. Killing as often as possible while disregarding the story is the obvious payoff there. But with ME the format could be more like in the games, offering a few crucial branches for the Paragon/Renegade fans. I think it would start small and gimmicky because it is an expensive idea to do well, but even a single choice thrown into the disc copy could be sold as an alternate ending bonus or some such. Once the idea is proven, it could expand over the series like those LOTR extended editions, which was unheard of at the time and still is…

  23. I hope the Uncharted movie never happens, whenever anyone talks about it not a single word of what they say has ANYTHING to do with Uncharted. I mean I’m ok with the film going with it’s own storyline but every storyline proposed sounds just stupid.

  24. Mass Effect, yes.

    The rest, meh.

  25. Solid n Liquild Snak are liek Cain n abel? more like David n Eli