Defying history and all of its lessons, Hollywood is still steadfastly determined to make video game movies succeed as a genre. Although there have been relatively few video game adaptations over the past few years, development slates have been filling up with plans to bring some of the most popular video game titles into theaters.
Sony is one of the companies leading the march, with a movie based on the Uncharted series set for release in 2016 and more projects in development. Back in 2012 producer Avi Arad and Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima announced that an adaptation of the long-running stealth series was definitely coming to the big screen. As is often the case with these things, there's been precious little news since then, but now it looks like the gears are finally turning.
A new report from Deadline has revealed that screenwriter Jay Basu (Monsters: Dark Continent) will write the script for Metal Gear Solid after closing a deal with Sony Pictures. Basu is still a newcomer, but he's apparently in high demand since Universal has tapped him to help create the studio's upcoming monster movie universe. The report also confirms that director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) is still attached to direct.
The plot of the Metal Gear Solid games is, well... there's a lot of it. The first title in the series, Metal Gear, was released in 1987, but the games didn't really take off in the United States until the third title, Metal Gear Solid, was released for the PlayStation in 1998. The next game in the series, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, is set for release later this year.
"Metal Gear" refers to a type of superweapon featured in the games: a bipedal mecha with nuclear armaments. "Solid" is taken from the name of the main protagonist of the series, Solid Snake, who is a soldier, spy and special ops agent whose general job description is to fight bad guys and save the world. It's a bit more complicated than that, but the challenge of adapting the plot for film is probably secondary to the challenge of trying to sell characters with names like Solid Snake, Naked Snake and Ocelot to audiences who are unfamiliar with the source material.
Metal Gear Solid is an odd thing to adapt into a Hollywood action movie because, much like Uncharted, the series was very much inspired by Hollywood action movies. The Metal Gear games are known for being highly cinematic (translation: a lot of cutscenes) and even Solid Snake's name is taken from Kurt Russell's character in Escape from New York.
With that in mind, perhaps the best approach would be to give the film a retro eighties/nineties action feel and fully embrace the spirit of the games - innuendo and all - rather than trying to adapt them into something bland and palatable. With a screenwriter and director in place, now is the time to start offering fan casting ideas for Solid Snake.
We'll keep you updated on Metal Gear Solid as development continues.