Valve Experimenting With Making ‘Half-Life’ Movie

Published 4 years ago by

half life movie Valve Experimenting With Making Half Life Movie

If you’re a regular reader of Screen Rant or our sister site Game Rant you know our thoughts on video game movies: Video game movies suck and video games based on movies suck. A few films have tried to change this but continue to fail – sooner or later, we will get a video game movie done right.

Yesterday we heard the rumor that one of the biggest games of the year in Red Dead Redemption would be getting a film adaptation and that Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt is up for the lead role. Now comes news that we could see  Half-Life movie based on the super successful sci-fi first person shooter franchise by Valve.

PC Gamer spoke with Gabe Newell, founder and CEO of Valve about the prospect of a Half-Life feature film, hinting at the idea that Hollywood studios have proven they cannot handle the material of video game franchises properly, using the Warcraft movie as an example.

“As a WoW player, I would much rather that the WoW team made the movie, right? Than anybody else. I like Sam Raimi, I’ve been a fan ever since Evil Dead came out, but I would rather see Blizzard making the movie. We think that customers are like, ‘OK, we’re kind of sick and tired of the way you guys are slicing and dicing the experience of being a fan of Harry Potter, or Half-Life, or The Incredibles, and you need to fix it.’ And the people that fix it will be rewarded, and the people that don’t will be on the rubbish heap of history, or whatever the phrase is.”

half life movie gordon freeman Valve Experimenting With Making Half Life Movie

Who should play Gordon Freeman in a Half-Life movie?

After Half-Life released to win the hearts and minds of critics and gamers alike, Hollywood came a knockin’ and of course wanted to make a movie, one as you can guess, that butchered the story and what made the game an unforgettable and enjoyable experience.

“Where we got into this direction was after Half-Life 1 had shipped. There was a whole bunch of meetings with people from Hollywood. Directors down there wanted to make a Half-Life movie and stuff, so they’d bring in a writer or some talent agency would bring in writers, and they would pitch us on their story. And their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of.”

This sounds reminiscent of most video game movie articles I’ve ever written. From what we saw from Prince of Persia earlier this year, to news about what they want to do with the Gears of War movie (bad ideas) and the continuous delays of Halo, Hollywood producers who aren’t gamers simply do not know what they’re doing when it comes to telling the stories from video games the way they should be told.

“That’s when we started saying ‘Wow, the best thing we could ever do is to just not do this as a movie, or we’d have to make it ourselves.’ And I was like, ‘Make it ourselves? Well that’s impossible.’ But the Team Fortress 2 thing, the Meet The Team shorts, is us trying to explore that.”

half life movie blue shift Valve Experimenting With Making Half Life Movie

Half-Life movie can be told from several perspectives

I applaud Valve for not falling into the money-hungry game of selling the souls of their franchises for the sake of a frowned upon feature film, and instead wish to do it right – themselves if necessary. If you recall, the same situation arose with the development of a Metal Gear Solid film and now that’s halted until the game’s creator Hideo Kojima can come to an agreement with Sony. They also fear a movie could ruin what the video game franchise is really about.

Quality over quantity my friends. Let’s stop ruining great games with bad movies.

I would love to see Valve make a lower budget and far more creative Half-Life film with the right people than get an overly expensive summer special effects fest that misses the boat on characters, plot points, visuals and action. You just know it would get the post-conversion 3D tacked on as well…

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Source: PC Gamer

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TAGS: half-life

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  1. Ok interesting point, but I would counter with this;what do video game makers know about making movies? They may know all about action and acting and even dialouge, but the sheer logistics of making a movie?

    Also, there are exceptions to the rules. Do movies always make bad games? No, Goldeneye and Spiderman 2 are not just great videogame conversions they are fantastic games.

    • You would be surprised what video game makes know how to do, and this task mostly comes down if the game director knows about cinema film, besides most game companies make their own cut scenes and in game movies so its not that far fetched of an idea. I think you should research the many different job titles and roles that video game maker have and do. The only major difference is that they have full control over the AI Actor and can make them act how they want too, unlike in regular film.

    • You can bring in ppl to do logistics because that’s a skill those they hire would have.

      Writing, story, making the right shots and visuals, creativity are things they already have. As SIN187UM points out, they have people involved with the game who direct the cinematics which is the closest you can get to making a movie without actually making one in live-action.

      Yeap, there are VERY rare exceptions in game movies/movie games as will always be the case.

      • @ Rob

        Indeed and to piggy back on what you are saying, game companies go through the same process of scripting story boarding as hollywood films do, guys should really take a look at the special features on their game discs that have behind the scenes and the making of the processes are over all the same

    • oh, I’d add X-Men Origins: Wolverine as a game that was actually a lot better than the movie.

      • Yeah, but that wasn’t exactly a challenge was it?

        I actually happened to see the infamous test-screen pirate version _after_ I saw the theatre version, and I most admit the half finished product was more interesting than the final version.
        Not because there was substantial alterations in the story, but because it showed how much post-production work there was (loads of greenscreen and CGI. Way more than I actually expected. Even that easy t shoot last scene with Captain Xavier Picard was almost all greenscreen.).
        Things like that make me appreciate the final product more (even if it sucked).

      • LOL, Not even close..

  2. If it’s in the hands of Fox or Sony of course they’re going to mess it up.

    No different to them stuffing up comic book super hero movies as far as I’m concerned.

  3. I really like this. I applaud Valve for sticking to their guns. I only hope they can assemble the right team to make it happen.

  4. A movie made the creaters of WOW over Sam Raami? OoooooooK. . . I want to see this Half Life movie they make come out so I can put it on my Netflix queue once it comes out straigt to DVD.

    • I’d rather see Brett Ratner do WOW than Sam ‘I made a really good horror movie once upon a time and that seems to allow all the leeway in the world to ruin Spiderman and make awful movies’ Raimi.

      • sam, im gonna ignore that . lol ratner should never ever EVEr be allowed to direct anything ever again sir :)

  5. I thought sites were ‘male’..

  6. I like VALVE’s idea too. Hollywood could screw up this in so many ways.. like having Freeman talk since before the very first scenes..

  7. Hollywood ruined one of my favorite games, Far Cry. Actually it was Uwe Boll, who I think ruined it.

    Why doesn’t Valve create the script, tell the story that they want to tell. And then find a production company, to partner with and make the movie.

    • Tis one of my favourite games too, I still play it often, way better than the sequel.

    • Because just like Investors that supply the game companies (mostly smaller ones) the investors usually have some say in the final outcome of the movie. This may not be the case for Valve, but they will need distribution of the film and I believe that the distributor also have some say as far if they want to put the movie out in theaters or str8 to dvd because of how they feel of the quality. Besides they will probably try to get a somewhat known actor for the lead role, like I said you dont want a FPS riot on your hands when it comes to Half Life or anything Half Life related getting messed up by Hollywood

  8. Wonderful idea. Valve=genius.

    • youre right snakeman
      Valve=genius :)

  9. Half Life would be perfect at the District 9 level. Low budget, tight shots…

    You don’t need $400m to make a good movie, in point of fact it seems that the more money a movie gets, the less it has a good story. IMO Half Life should focus on Gordon and his escape from Black Mesa. Keep it claustrophic and tense. I always loved that sound-hunter tentacle beastie… it _must_ make an appearance.

  10. Valve is one of the best devs around. I really do know they have a good quality control over their games. That should filter through the movie. But as said, the need guidance about the normal logistics and ways to make a film. Hire a good film crew, keep quality control close to yourself, and than this film can be one very good film. They have the deep story.
    There was one pretty good fan movie out there called Escape from City 17:

  11. Dr. House for Gordon Freeman!

    • Dr. House? I never thought of that and it’s brilliant!

    • I dig it!

    • Nah, Hugh is way to old. Dr Freeman is supposed to be more of an intern, stuck at “push the sample into the beam”-duty.
      Keeping in mind the brilliant “Freeman’s mind”-series and it’s acerbic humour, someone like Ben Croshaw (better known as Yahtzee – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Croshaw) would be a better fit.
      I’ve no idea if he can act at all, he just looks and sounds the part.

    • wow, good choice there!!

    • HAHAHA. NAILED IT BRO! Then again, house would have to step up his “bad-assness” if he was going to portray Gordan.

  12. I don’t think they should make a movie for this, at least not with Gordon Freeman as a character. I think one of the reasons why this game has such a following is because Gordon Freeman has no personality other than the one you assign to him. Since he never does anything out of your control like in a cut scene and he never talks either, so he’s never someone you don’t like. What if in the movie they get a really cocky actor or the script makes him sound like an idiot or something, it will lose that appeal… I think they should just focus on bringing the game to its conclusion already before they think about movies or anything else.

    Half Life 2: Episode 3!!! Or Half Life 3…

    • They are supposed to be making Half Life 3, but Valve needs to drop another game quick because Im kinda bored with L4D2 and Alien Swarm now.

      Also Ken do you know how many people will riot if there is no Gordon Freeman???

    • But a movie may not work without Freeman as a key character. You PLAY him in the game, but the game is about him experiencing and fighting through the situations.

      They could do it from three perspectives like they did with the expansions of the original Half-Life where you have Freeman, the security guy from Blue Shift and the soldiers.

      • i agree rob, freeman shold be in a film in some form. fans wouldnt accept it if he werent in it at least in a limited/not over used way

  13. I would rather them make a Left 4 Dead movie on their own before doing Half-Life, the Uber Nerds will have a field day nit picking about every little thing that was not consistent in with the game.

    • fans of video games will always nit pick about on screen adaptations. hell they’ll nit pick about nit picking lol.

      • this is true but when u talk about certain games especially Half Life you get the fan boys that are rabid and crazed like Trekkies/Trekkers or whatever, and Comic Book fan boys.

  14. I read this as them wanting to do a movie like Advent Children or Resident Evil: Degeneration. You know, CG. Which is fine and all, as both those were pretty good, and Valve’s got one of the best CG teams in the world, but I still don’t see why this can’t be a Hollywood flick.

    I see no reason why Valve should just have to sign off on the film and then wait and see if it’s any good. Frankly, if Paramount or Fox or whoever want to make this movie, one of the requisites should be that one of Valve’s guys write the script and all subsequent rewrites.

    They don’t need to be involved with anything else (although not using them for concept art would be ridiculous), because once that foundation’s in place it would take a really crappy director or cast to mess it up.

    • because Hollywood execs tend to force the directors to do something totally in left field that ruins the movie. Also Im pretty sure they can do a live action flick seeing how as they use MOCAP with live actors to capture movements and convert it to CGI

  15. I wouldn’t mind seeing an entirely cgi animated movie. I also think Gordon should talk. I actually found that rather annoying in the game especially in the second game. How’s he supposed to woo Alex when he can’t talk?

    Also one thing that would definitively have to be changed if they make it based on the first game is to add a female or two. Maybe transplant Alex.

    All Valve really needs is script approval and scene approval. As each scene is shot it’s shown to Valve. If they don’t like it then either it gets redone or the movie’s over.

  16. Valve sucks, let Paul W.S Anderson make the movie, his video game movies are always good.

    • The only good video game movie andesron has done was Mortal Kombat and the first Resident Evil, everything else he has directed or written ( yeah he helped pen the script for D.O.A.) sucked sweaty meatballs. For what reason does Valve suck?

      • Valve is being ignorant to the fans, everyone wants a Half Life movie and these morons wont do it. Not all of the VG movies sucked, SMB was good (yeah i liked the direction they went.), Mortal Kombat 1 was good, Doom was good. Half Life can be done good if Paul WS Anderson did it. i have confidence in Paul.

        • Jimmy great taste you have since those movies were all horrible. Try reading a book.

          • @jake

            Hey now, Mortal Kombat was actually pretty good, lol, but yah, the rest of the movies he mentioned were pretty terrible…

            • @ ken J

              DOOM was enjoyable for what it was, and speaking of DOOM any turd who had a problem with the FPS scene in DOOM but didn’t cry about it being in Kick Ass is a hypocrite, because it was basically the same thing.

              @ Jimmy

              wth is SMB? Shave my Back?

        • @Jimmy

          So you speak for all of us huh?

        • Ok, Screen Rant just said Valve is Looking to do a half-life movie so you seem to be upset that they aren’t rushing to get it done and have it fail.

        • Alot of people had confidence in Paul, but he has slid into mediocrity, DOA, Resident Evil 2 – 4, the crappy ass AVP film. If he would get back to how he was when he did Event Horizon and MK and be consistent with quality (not necessarily Oscar worthy), then people would have more faith in him. He only has a few more failures to go before people will compare him to Uwe Boll.

  17. maybe they could go for a film noir feel and have any lines of dialogue from freeman in his head or as a narrator so that he doesn’t actually talk to anyone else he just reacts to them

    • You know that is a very good idea. The story would be told by Gordon. Start it out with something like:

      “My names Freeman, Gordon Freeman and today is my first day at work at Black Mesa. I’m still trying to figure out how I got hired on to a top secret project like this right out of college. They said someone put in a good word for me. Some guy in a black suit that apparently has a lot of pull. Don’t have a clue as to who that would be but thanks to him anyway. I owe him one.”

  18. Half Life The movie. Coming 2013.

    which means somewhere around 2018-2020.

  19. I’m with Ken J on this. They need to focus on making HALF-LIFE 3 or Episode 3, not movies.

    Because really, what are the Half-Life games? They’re movies — really GOOD movies — that you participate in. Why do I want to sit and watch 2 hours of something when I’d rather be the one making things happen for 8 to 12 hours?

    When has a movie EVER added anything worthwhile to a videogame experience? I honestly can’t remember a single one.

    • Aw. c’mon. I really want to see Gordon go to town on a headcrab with his crowbar in live action.

      • @ Stephen Tilson

        Games immerse you more than a movie. If Half Life were an interactive movie game it would be more closely reembling Indigo Propehcy or Heavy Rain. And some people just want the short jist of things, and a movie could possbily spark a new slew of people to pick up the Half-Life Series who have never played or even heard of the game. Also video games have not really added anything to the movie experience either so your last comment seemed kind of pointless to make, no one can really influence the other, only tie into each other or introduce new things that neither one had

  20. The upcoming SKYLINE film and MONSTERS both of which were done aon what woudl be a shoestring budget in Hollywood terms, look to be possible great films and show that a smaller comapny like the ganme developers could, woith current technology and creativity create a good film and a live action one at that. It doesn’t have to be alll CGI just because it as game developer doing it.

    What is needed is the understanding that the Movie crowd and the gamer crowd are not necessarily interchangable and so what is loved and sought after in a game may not be so soght after or even liked in the movie goer market so you have to find a balance and there in lies the problem.

    Its not an unsolvable problem but meely something to be aware of. But no matter what is done they must get in writing that the money bakers have NO say so after the script/story is approved and they start production. Too oftenb we’ve seen no-talent financial backers rail road something for God only knows what reason. They have to be kept in check.

  21. Could they ever really make a game based movie that the hardcore gamers would like? They’re worse than Trekkies and their precious ST canon. I think they will have to settle for the casual to semi-serious gamer along with people who aren’t gamers at all to get a big enough audience to make a successful movie.

  22. How about they don’t make a half-life movie at all?

  23. I rather want Valve to make this film more then anybody else, but my opinion is that the film would be best after they have released the last Half-life game to prevent it to ruin the gamestory.

    • it would be better :D

  24. HOUSE FOR FREEMAN

  25. this post is a year old now but i catch myself searching for the news of a half-life movie ever since playing half-life 1. i would love to see valve take it on maybe hire a director but keep as much creative control as possible. either way i would go see a half-life movie without question far before id go see a halo, doom, resident evil, or metal gear solid movie. as long as they don’t completely butcher it i would most likely be pleased.

    lol all the poor scientists that die during the game pulled into vents attack by head crabs got to love the little scenes that happen just outa reach for you to affect but your trying so hard to intervene. the movie gordon probably wouldn’t use the scientists that help him as bait as i did oh so often. and barney… well i needed ammo…

  26. bryan cranston

  27. The guy who plays in House, I forget his name. He would be perfect. Just saying. c: