Video games are rarely sources of quality cinematic fare, usually due to a focus on gameplay over narrative. Even when a game does have a deep storyline, transferring it to film could just be redundant. But for a game like Assassin’s Creed — part of the franchise that will soon see the release of the supercool-looking Assassin’s Creed IV — enough plot-driving story elements exist for a screenwriter to latch onto and fill in the blanks, so long as the lead character spends at least half of the film climbing shit and jumping off of it.
Given the history of video game movies, it inspires no confidence that Fox’s Assassin’s Creed film already has a release date posted up on Box Office Mojo, when it doesn’t even have a director yet. Granted, the date set is almost two years from now on May 22, 2015, but that just means they’re automatically shooting — or tomahawking, in this case — for summer blockbuster money, which will probably limit where they go for direction. The screenwriter, Michael Lesslie, is a largely unknown British playwright with no produced credits to his name, not that he’s at fault for that. But it means somebody like Stephen Sommers is going to get the directing gig, and there is definite fault to be found in that. Regardless of who gets the job, game developer Ubisoft is retaining control of how some of the games elements will come into play for the film, so we’ll have to wait and see what that means.
Michael Fassbender (Prometheus) will star as the lead character, a bartender who is kidnapped by a secret organization close to the Knights Templar and discovers he has trained assassins in his family history. He then uses a device called the Animus to retrieve historical events experienced by his ancestors, hoping to learn more about the long war between the Assassins and the Templars. We can all thank our lucky stars no one is calling it “Bill and Ted meets Parkour,” although that certainly sounds enjoyable.