I think it goes without saying that the track record of video game movies doesn't exactly bode well for the upcoming video game movies currently in development. Gears of War is no exception - even if it's one of the most critically acclaimed games of the last few years (ever?).
Now we're hearing word that there are some major changes being made to the Gears of Wars movie, namely regarding who is directing it, what the story is, and what the budget is.
With regards to the latter, LA Times reports that New Line has scaled the project back, dropping the budget from what was to be well over $100 million to a considerably lower amount (no number is actually confirmed). The plan now is to make a more straightforward alien invasion story, as opposed to the sprawling epic it was originally intended to be.
I've only played a little of the game, but let me guess: that news doesn't exactly make you video gamers happy, does it?
Gears of Wars hasn't exactly had a smooth road to the big screen. Underworld director Len Wiseman was tapped to direct Gears of War, after co-writing the script with Wanted's Chris Morgan. Then we learned that screenwriter Billy Ray (State of Play and the upcoming 24 movie) had been brought on to either write a new draft or add to the existing script (it's not really clear which).
There were also hints that the Gears of War movie might not follow the video game very closely, starting with Len Wiseman stating that he's not really into video games (red flag, anyone?). The bad omens continued when producer Wyck Godfrey explained their plans for the movie.
Now we're hearing that Len Wiseman may depart Gears of War in order to direct an apocalyptic thriller called Nocturne, which is based on an idea from Red Dawn writer Jeremy Passmore and Andre Fabrizio. Wiseman had previously been in talks to direct Nocturne, but it's now been confirmed that he will helm it.
Although technically still attached to Gears of War, it looks like Wiseman will in fact depart the project when all is said and done (which will probably squash any chances of his wife, Kate Beckinsale, starring in the film :-( ). With Wiseman not really being a huge gamer (and thus, not being loyal the source material), I'm guessing a lot of you gamers won't be sad to see him go (or am I way off?).
Producers are currently looking for a new writer to pen the script for this "straight-forward alien invasion" approach they've suddenly decided on. A New Line spokesperson couldn't be reached for comment on any of this, but I'm sure we'll hear something official soon.
Video game movies are tough things to get right - I mean, just look at this back catalogue of utter failures. I'm holding out hope that Prince of Persia (which is due out next month) will break the video game movie curse, and if that doesn't do it, hopefully Gears of War will. But with this latest news, that result is looking less and less likely, don't you think?
What do you think of Gears of War's budget shrinking and it possibly losing its director? Are you a fan of the game and just how mad are you that the movie won't stick all that closely to it?
We'll be sure to keep you updated as more news comes out about Gears of War.