Video-game fans live in hope that some day — some day — we may actually get a really awesome video-game movie. For a while there both Halo and Bioshock were bristling with promise, but for every glimmer of hope, there are 10 incidents along the lines of the thankfully short-lived “Mark Wahlberg as Uncharted’s Nathan Drake nightmare. Now we’ve got an Assassin’s Creed movie in the works, with the talented Michael Fassbender slated to play the lead, and it has perhaps inched slightly closer to reality by finding a studio to finance and distribute it.
The studio in question is New Regency, which will partner with the motion pictures division of Ubisoft, the company behind the mega-hit series. So what is it about Assassin’s Creed that convinced New Regency to sign on the line that is dotted? Here’s what New Regency CEO Brad Weston had to say:
This is the perfect intersection of what we have been trying to do, and that is to work with top quality talent like Michael Fassbender.We see this as our first big commercial action franchise property. Fassbender just did 12 Years a Slave with us, and he is as good an actor as there is right now. The storyline we are pursuing has a great narrative and because Ubisoft’s games are so character- and story-driven, Assassin’s Creed lends itself perfectly to our goal to re-brand Regency as a filmmaker-driven company.
That all sounds very nice and promising and generic, but as a big fan of the game franchise, I’ll happy to salute Weston and his pocketbook because right now this would-be Assassin’s Creed flick is probably the front-runner in the race for actually getting a top-notch video-game movie made. Fassbender is a great pick for the lead, and this is one step closer, so now all they have to do is avoid all the thousands of other ways this could derail on the road to the big screen.
If you’re not familiar with the Assassin’s Creed games, they’re a mixture of historical fiction and science fiction, focusing on a centuries-long war between the Templars (“Humans suck and need to be controlled for their own good.”) and the Assassins (“Yay free will!”). We learn about this conflict between the two groups through the eyes of Desmond Miles, a hapless bartender whose parents were members of the assassin order. The historical component of the games comes via the Animus, a machine that allows Desmond and others to experience the lives of their ancestors, which allows both factions to hunt for mysterious artifacts left behind by massively advanced precursor civilization to our own “known history.”
Will we actually get a good Assassin’s Creed movie? It’d be nice. But even if not, the games are pretty damned entertaining whether we eventually get to see Fassbender parkour-leaping across the rooftops of Crusade-era Jerusalem or not.