The world does not lack for some truly awful video game movie adaptations, and this year's latest entry to the genre, 20th Century Fox's Hitman: Agent 47, is another in a long line of critical and commercial failures. We thought that video game movies could perhaps become a dominant genre in the years to come, with titles like Assassin's Creed, starring Michael Fassbender, and Warcraft from Source Code director Duncan Jones on their way, but there are no guarantees.
There are plenty of other major video game franchise titles in development for the big screen (in various stages of stagnation), like Uncharted, BioShock, and Metal Gear Solid, with the popular role-playing first-person shooter title Borderlands recently joining the ranks. Now, yet another video game title is being adapted for the movies, one older than any of the above.
According to The Tracking Board (via /Film), Fox is now developing a movie version of the Mega Man video game franchise. The first Mega Man game - called Rock Man in Japan - was launched in 1987, appearing on the original Nintendo Entertainment System and spawned multiple sequels on various generations of game systems. Mega Man was a popular and somewhat influential side-scrolling platforming action game with an appropriately basic story: the title character is an android lab assistant created by Dr. Light and converted into a battle bot to fight the robot creations of the evil Dr. Wily.
On one hand. Mega Man seems like a good fit for a fast-paced action movie. The original games were fun and memorable, with colorful characters, ever-changing weapons, and a cannon-armed, oddly likable main character. And then there are the drawbacks: the game was always light on story (even for a side-scrolling platformer), featured a mute main character who would need a serious upgrade in backstory, and the series' overall narrative is less than compelling.
Still, there is a chance that Mega Man could work as a tongue-in-cheek, colorful sci-fi action romp that doesn't take itself too seriously. It should be noted, however, that Fox is the studio behind two recent disasters: Hitman: Agent 47 and Fantastic Four. The F4 reboot in particular appears to have been a case of a studio pushing a franchise into development without a clear direction, in order to compete in a genre in which it had limited inroads. Sound familiar?
It's far too early to tell if a Mega Man movie can work, but with our first look at Fassbender in Assassin's Creed giving fans some hope, can an approach that is similarly true to the source material work for a 2D platformer? Time will tell.
Stay tuned for more information on Mega Man as it becomes available.
Source: The Tracking Board