News surfaced this week that Scott Faye, the producer of the upcoming Max Payne film, is currently working on adapting the infamous Duke Nukem character to the big screen.
The Duke Nukem franchise, developed by 3D Realms, began in the early nineties with its original PC game and sequel. However, Duke really made his mark in the video game industry in 1996 with the release of the third game in the franchise, Duke Nukem 3D.
This third installment took the notorious guns-a-blazing character from the traditional side scroller action game into the 3D first-person shooter genre with a ground-breaking hit.
Along with its financial and critical success, the game earned much publicity for its controversial themes and content. Aside from the insane amount of violence and gore, it featured pornographic content such as XXX posters and strippers. There was also a bit of a stir over one of the common enemy characters being a "pig cop"... an actual cop transformed into half man, half pig. This led to several censored versions being released internationally to prevent any bans.
The series is finally about to continue with two new games planned for release, including the ever-delayed and almost-forgotten Duke Nukem Forever. Scott Faye's goal is to have a script ready and use the hype of these upcoming two releases to help him shop and gain studio financing. At the moment, Faye is currently working on that screenplay.
In an intereview with Kotaku.com, Faye added:
“We're expanding Duke's ‘storyverse’ in a very significant major way without abandoning or negating any element that's being used to introduce Duke to the next gen platforms.”
We all know movies based on video games tend to be (to put it lightly) not so great. The problem I see here, and what commonly happens with these genre films, is that they are just not translated well to the big screen. This usually happens when story elements are created or altered that do not match the original game's content. For the hardcore fans who made the franchise a success in the first place, this can instantly take away from what the film should be.
Instead, it becomes simply a film using the brand name and not the source material. This is exactly what happened with the Doom movie.
This looks to me like it could be an incredibly fun big-screen action hit. However, I'm worried they will add too much backstory to the star character and maybe, too many secondary characters that do not belong. What I want is a throwback to the 80s action genre - just this guy with his massive guns destroying anything and anyone in his path spouting one-liners. That's what the game was, and that's why it was a success.
In the Kutaku interview, Faye also claimed that “as is the case with all of my game adaptations, I'd rather not make the movie than make a poor adaptation.” Faye's only other game adaptation is Max Payne which is yet to be released, so we'll see if he walks the walk.
Other projects he was a part of were small budget B-movies that did not do so well. So, it looks like we'll have to wait and see on the quality of Max Payne and how it translates onto the big screen. I'm a little worried from the trailers, but will surely give it a chance.
What would you want from a Duke Nukem feature film?