Why Michael Fassbender is about to rescue the videogame movie
Michael Leader welcomes the merging of his favourite videogame franchise with the highest-soaring actor on the planet, heralding a new era of decent videogame adaptations.
Oh, Michael Fassbender, will he ever put a foot wrong? After capturing my geeky heart (German-Irish accent aside) with X-Men First Class, tickling my art-film tastebuds in Hunger, and being the best damn thing - heck, the only good thing at all - about Prometheus, I didn't think my man-crush could swell any further. Now it's been announced he's co-producing and starring in a big-screen adaptation of Assassin's Creed, the popular stab-em-up video game series developed by Ubisoft. Be still my inner fanboy...
Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to seeing my favourite video game series turned into subpar cinema schlock. Be it Max Payne, Doom or Resident Evil, it seemed that no game adaptation could dodge mediocrity. But with Assassin’s Creed, bolstered by the rising star of Fassbender, I think we’ve found our answer.
For one, while many game adaptations suffer once the gameplay experience is stripped out, Assassin’s Creed’s rich, complex world is simply a better prospect as a film. We’re now four main installments into the back-stabbing sandbox series, which sees Desmond, an American from the nearest of near futures, discovering he’s from a long line of Assassins, who have engaged in a behind-the-scenes conflict with the Knights Templar for thousands of years.
"Ubisoft are mimicking Marvel’s recent successes by planning to produce this Assassin’s Creed movie themselves instead of handing over the licence to a Hollywood studio."
This Lost-like ambiguity works well within a game franchise. But the confines of a 2-hour blockbuster runtime will force Ubisoft’s hand to tell a focused, exciting story inspired by this compelling set-up.
Ubisoft are mimicking Marvel’s recent successes by planning to produce this Assassin’s Creed movie themselves instead of handing over the licence to a Hollywood studio. No doubt influenced by the expensive, Jerry Bruckheimer-produced mess that was Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, this will be the first film produced by Ubisoft Motion Pictures, a company formed to make the most of their intellectual property portfolio, which also includes Splinter Cell and Rayman. Their creative vision should ensure that Assassin’s Creed’s time-bending, conspiracy-thriller concept will translate into more of a Source Code than a Da Vinci Code.
"With Fassbender attached, Assassin’s Creed has launched right to the top of my most-anticipated film list."
After all, it has worked before. One of the stronger contenders for the best video game movie so far, Silent Hill, was produced by series developer (and composer of survival horror’s most terrifying tunes) Akira Yamaoka, and managed to be entirely faithful to the surreal atmosphere and unsettling visual aesthetic of the games while crafting its own creepy identity. Of course, news of potential writers and directors for this Assassin’s Creed flick is yet to arrive but, if Ubisoft are holding the reins and Fassbender is onboard, the outlook so far is positive.
Whatever happens, they have their star. And, with Fassbender attached, Assassin’s Creed has launched right to the top of my most-anticipated film list. Now, the speculation begins: which accent will Fassbender have to adopt? Italian-German-Irish or Persian-German-Irish?
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