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Ubisoft names first three 3D movies

Tue 17 May 2011 7:31am GMT / 3:31am EDT / 12:31am PDT
Publishing

Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell, and Ghost Recon films, plus Rabbids TV series

Ubisoft Motion Pictures is to create 3D movies based on the parent company's Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell, and Ghost Recon franchises, according to latest reports.

The Paris-based film and television division Ubisoft Motion Pictures was first revealed earlier in the month, but no specific plans for new projects were announced.

Hollywood trade paper Variety, which also broke the original story, compares Splinter Cell to a drama 'in the vein of The Bourn Identity' and Ghost Recon as 'a tech-driven war actioner set in the near future'.

Currently Assassin's Creed is Ubisoft's most successful video game franchise, although its mix of science fiction and historical elements may make it the most difficult to adapt - and the most expensive.

In addition the company is also developing a CGI 3D cartoon series based on Raving Rabbids, comprising 78 episodes of seven minutes each. Ubisoft is reportedly in "advanced negotiations" with both a French TV broadcaster and a U.S. network.

"Our strategy is not to diversify but to bolster the appeal of our franchises - that's why we want to make sure our films will reflect the brands accurately and consolidate our fan base while expanding beyond the games' primary target audience," said head of marketing and international sales Jean de Rivieres.

"We want to keep ownership, retain control over the film content, and we're open to work with studios on the development of our projects, and eventually collaborate on the pre-casting, pre-budget and script," added division head Jean-Julien Baronnet

Although de Rivieres indicated that scripts would be ready by the end of the year and that U.S. studios and screenwriters had shown "great interest" no creatives have so far been announced for any of the projects.

16 Comments

Joe Winkler
trained retail salesman

169 4 0.0
I suggest Antoine Fuqua for Splinter Cell, James Cameron for Ghost Recon and Frances Ford Coppola for Assassins Creed (that would add some substance).
As long as the "original" Screenwriter for the games will leave their seats for the movie to make room for movie writers, it may be a succes.

EDIT: The Problem I see is that the whole 3d thing dosen't assure it's gonna be any good.

But it can be good, thinking of Christopher Gans (finished all Silent Hill games himself!) making the great Silent Hill. And not to forget David Hayter who took the money he earned with MGS to build his own (movie/media-) production firm. He already wrote good screenplays like "Watchmen".
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0371684/

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Joe Winkler on 17th May 2011 10:10am

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Kingman Cheng
Illustrator and Animator

952 180 0.2
I can't wait to see how these turn out, be nice to see some 'real game movies'.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

William Chan
European Media Sales Planner

11 0 0.0
78 episodes of Raving Rabbids? I'll settle for that!

Here's to hoping that Ubisoft can show us how true game>movie conversions can be made

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Darren Stewart
Videogame investor

52 17 0.3
Well, Ubisoft seem to be pursuing their (unwritten) strategy of just having a go at everything. I'm really not sure why Ubisoft think that they can make films better than people who make films. It's also a mystery why they would want to take on all the additional headcount rather than licensing it out.

Don't get me wrong, I think the source material is pretty good and I'd quite like to see these films but I just can't understand why Ubisoft don't focus on what they're, allegedly, good at (making games) and let the film studios do what they're good at.

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Patrick Vince
Studying MA Games Development

2 0 0.0
I've always told my friends Assassins Creed would make a great film.... possibly with Michael Scofield from prison break as Desmond/Altair!?...

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,405 1.1
Darren, Ubisoft is pretty good with their in game cutscenes. They tend to easily outstrip the quality of every licensed full production video game ever made so having a go at it themselves is probably a good way to ensure faith to the source material as well as overall quality of content.

Unless you think it better to hand the license over to Uwe Boll and let him make another disaster piece?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jim Webb on 17th May 2011 5:24pm

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Antony Johnston
Writer & Narrative Designer

112 18 0.2
Darren, one aspect is budget and cut of revenue - making these movies themselves means Ubi will make more profit should they succeed. And they can control budgets themselves, so the chance for profit is greater in any case.

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Antony Johnston
Writer & Narrative Designer

112 18 0.2
Whoops, hit send before finishing - I was just going to add, look at Marvel Studios for a good example of how it can work well.

Posted:3 years ago

#8

William Phillips
Business Coordinator

1 0 0.0
No mention of the Prince of Persia movie paving the way? Say what you will, but I thought that movie was a fun summer blockbuster, and I'm glad to see the roster of properties Ubisoft is using.

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Darren Stewart
Videogame investor

52 17 0.3
Antony, absolutely, Ubisoft just move themselves even further up the risk/reward curve. But isn't publishing videogames risky enough without putting even more chips on the table? I agree there's greater potential for profit but I don't agree that there's greater chance of profit. What on earth do Ubi have that a professional, experienced film production company don't?

So, yes a great potential for profit and an equal greater potential for loss. They are taking on risk that just doesn't seem worthwhile.

I do agree with Jimmy that Ubi create great in-game cutscenes AND also great trailers (at the trade shows I think their trailers are probably the best out there) but that doesn't qualify them to make feature films.

I just don't, from a business perspective, think that it makes sense. Wreaks of vanity rather than sanity.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Darren Stewart on 17th May 2011 10:58pm

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Antony Johnston
Writer & Narrative Designer

112 18 0.2
"What on earth do Ubi have that a professional, experienced film production company don't?"

Which is exactly what people said about Marvel. And the answer is, "in-depth knowledge of their characters, and the balls/temerity to hire people who think the same way." Compare and contrast THOR to GREEN LANTERN, for the most recent example.

I agree it's a big risk. Of course it may be a dismal failure. But I applaud Ubi for at least being bold, and taking on that risk.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Antony Johnston on 18th May 2011 9:53am

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Darren Stewart
Videogame investor

52 17 0.3
Hmmmm...I guess it comes down to personal perspective whether taking on this risk is to applaud or be appalled. From the perspective of an investor in Ubi I think it's a bad business decision and makes them less attractive but I can see there are other perspectives.

I guess you're going to be annoyed at me if I point out that the company (like any public company) exists to please the shareholders.

/puts on flame-resistant suit and backs away/

BTW, I don't think gamesindustry minds me pointing out that I have set up a website called Bougafer (which some may remember in its first incarnation many years ago) which is for people who want to invest in the games industry. You can find it by clicking here

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Darren Stewart on 19th May 2011 12:06am

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Antony Johnston
Writer & Narrative Designer

112 18 0.2
"I guess you're going to be annoyed at me if I point out that the company (like any public company) exists to please the shareholders."

Heh. Not at all, no flames here. But if investors are interested in the long-term health and profitability of the company, not just the short turnaround, then risks like this are, imho, vital to any company's health. Especially in today's fast-changing landscape, nobody is going to "win" by standing still.

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Weston Sohlden

31 2 0.1

Posted:3 years ago

#14

Terence Gage
Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
"Call of Duty seems to be the only card left in Activision's hand, and they are annually diminishing that IP."

I'm not sure sales figures would really corroborate this statement.

I do however agree on the law of diminishing returns, even if COD seems impervious to the for the moment. Assassin's Creed is a great series overall (although I find the historical settings infinitely more interesting than Desmond and his cronies), although I think Ubisoft should be careful to not milk it too greedily as we gamers and the wider public are fickle creatures.

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Darren Stewart
Videogame investor

52 17 0.3
Antony, well if you're not going to flame me (thanks) then I would make the point that publishing videogames in itself is massively up there on the risk/reward charts, as evidenced by the demise of .... Eidos, SCi, GT Interactive, Acclaim, Argonaut, Atari, Infogrames (and all the rest that don't come readily to mind).

So, anything that publishers can do to try and get some guaranteed income without any risk (like licensing out their properties to film studios) is a massive plus in my book. My issue with Ubisoft, as an investor, is that they are trying absolutely everything. I'm struggling to think of a genre, trend, area that they aren't investing heavily in and so seeing them now have a go at something else just seems like craziness to me.

For me, it's not the road to profitability but the road to bankruptcy and if you look at their share price I think you'll find that's a common view.

Wes, I agree with you that annualising ip has never worked outside the sports (FIFA, Madden, NBA) genre for more than a few years although there's no evidence yet that CoD has been affected.

However, with a decapitated Infinity Ward at the helm of Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 taking it on head to head I wonder if you may get some evidence to support your argument this year.

BTW, I'm going to plug my website again, http://www.bougafer.co.uk (for people who want to invest in videogames), for anybody who's actually interested in this type of discussion.

Posted:3 years ago

#16

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