The decades of effort that have gone into creating a video game movie that garners both respect from critics and praise from long-time fans has been an uphill battle. Last year was expected to be the first that video game movies finally broke through into the mainstream. Unfortunately, aside from the relatively lucrative release of The Angry Birds Movie, there were two huge bombs that deflated the hopes of thousands of fans: Warcraft and Assassin's Creed. There are still more releases on the horizon that give fans hope, such as the reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise. But until proven otherwise, the future has looked bleak for the sub-genre of video game movies.
A property that has been quietly in the works for years is an adaptation of Konami's widely popular Metal Gear Solid video game series. It was created by Hideo Kojima in 1998 for the Playstation and was an immediate success. It revolutionized gaming by introducing new, sophisticated elements to gameplay, such as using stealth tactics and a plot that would make Tom Clancy's head spin. The unique blend of innovations made the video game an instant classic and it wasn't long before Hollywood came calling.
Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has been chosen to helm the eventual adaptation of Metal Gear Solid and the upstart has been hard at work behind the scenes on the movie for some time. In a recent interview with Collider, Vogt-Roberts opened up about the project and revealed a lot about the approach to the movie. When asked if the movie is intended to be rated R or PG-13, he responded:
“I think that for me, I want to make the version of the movie that is most true to what it needs to be, so if that is a Deadpool or Logan route where you go with a smaller budget and you’re able to make it R, great. If you need to blow it out more and really get that bigger budget and go PG-13, I think it could exist in both avenues. There are hyper-violent parts to Metal Gear but I would not necessarily call the hyper-violent part the core element of it versus like the tone and the voice and the philosophies that the characters exhibit. Those characters sort of are these walking philosophies, so I think nailing that part is far more important necessarily than thinking about the rating at this point, because right now we’re just trying to get the best version of it.”
The Metal Gear Solid series was a revelation when it was first released in the late 1990's. The game followed the adventures of Solid Snake, a super soldier who is tasked with infiltrating top-secret installations to prevent nuclear war, while battling super soldiers and giant mech robots. The intricate plot, advanced graphics, and new gameplay elements cemented its status in video game history.
It sounds as if Vogt-Roberts is taking a pragmatic approach to adapting the game for the big-screen. However, while he leaves the door open, it sounds as if he doesn't feel that an R rating will necessarily guarantee a faithful adaptation. His approach to focusing on the property's unique tone and characters, within the constraints of the film's given budget, should resonate more with audiences over the use of gratuitous F-bombs.
The creators are taking their time during pre-production to truly nail down the correct approach to bringing Metal Gear Solid to the big-screen. Regardless of the rating, fans are thirsty for a quality adaptation that can make both gamers and cinephiles proud. Hopefully, this is the project to finally break through.
Metal Gear Solid currently does not have a set release date.