Image mashup via @Hypeable. Speculation is blogger’s own.

MOVIE NEWS? Have you gone mad, woman?

Reports reach us via various sources that top eye candy actor Michael Fassbender has attached himself to a gaming franchise, and not just any old one. His own company DMC Film has signed a deal with Ubisoft for the star to take the lead role in a big-screen adaptation of the hugely successful Assassin’s Creed. More significantly the project, which was initially being developed by Sony, is now back in the hands of the games company, who have created Ubisoft Motion Pictures specifically to handle the task.

Here is where I stopped ogling the talent and started getting REALLY interested.

Why would Ubisoft take back the reins from Sony? The answer, according to Variety, is simple:

Ubisoft execs now plan to stick to their initial plan and develop the film independently in order to maintain greater creative control. Last year, Ubisoft invested in launching UMP, headed by Baronnet, former CEO of Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, to adapt the company’s games into films, TV shows and digital projects.

The French are a fiercely independent bunch. Most video-game adaptations are, let’s face it, utterly pants (and I’m willing to discuss that at length, I am yet to watch an attempt that, in my opinion, truly captures the essence of its source material.) The fact at this early stage that Ubisoft wants to be the one with the overall creative control is very significant indeed. Ironically Prince of Persia, which is also an Ubisoft title, holds the international record as the #1 grossing movie (via Wikipedia.) Okay, it wasn’t bad, but it could have been SO much better, and I think the gaming company’s desire to be more involved at the early stages is good news for everyone.

I’d also like to bet good money that Blizzard are watching this turn of events with a great deal of interest.

The Warcraft movie’s been nothing more than discussion for some time, despite having Sam Raimi attached to it. Anyone who’s watched the Diablo 3 cinematics cannot fail to notice that Blizzard are pretty good at making mini-movies already, and frankly giving that job to anyone in Hollywood who’s never heard of the franchise (and likely never even played the game) could be tantamount to creative suicide. Why not keep the entire process inhouse and simply approach a major studio to distribute your product when you’ve finished with the hard work? If you want to get the fans flooding in, and indeed create marketing opportunities for a whole new bunch of people who may have never even played your game, you’ll need something that truly captures the spirit of your product…

My money is on Blizzard doing just this, and finding a big-name star like Fassbender to hook into the project to boot.The question then becomes who they’d look to bring on board, and whether they’d wait first to see how Ubisoft’s gambit pays off. Needless to say, anyone considering buying into Blizzard would want to consider just how much money a big screen adaptation could make, especially tied in with the game itself… the possibilities could be endless.

Time to watch this space and see what develops… :D

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