We’re still waiting for somebody to make the first truly good video game movie. There have been game adaptations that had some cool moments, but as a whole they’re like the socially awkward second cousin who keeps crashing your parties — you feel bad for the guy, but you’re still going to try and keep him alone in a dark corner so he can’t embarrass you. (It’s possible that I’m a terrible person.) Of all the contenders out there, the Assassin’s Creed movie is one of the few I’m pinning my hopes on. It’s got a rich, detailed fictional world, and actor Michael Fassbender was a great choice for the lead. Now the project has hired a pair of writers who know a thing or two about historical epics.
Deadline reports that screenwriters Adam Cooper and Bill Collage have been hired by New Regency and game developer Ubisoft to rewrite the current Assassin’s Creed script. Their first produced film credit was actually the 2004 Olsen twins flick New York Minute, but hey, everybody has to get their start somewhere. Their more recent credits are a lot more useful in evaluating whether this is good news or bad. The pair wrote the original draft of the screenplay for Ridley Scott’s Biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, starring Christian Bale as Moses. They’ve also worked on the in-development period pieces The General for Darren Aronofsky (“A gritty look at the life of George Washington”) and Marco Polo. Apparently they’ve got a knack for writing about different time periods, and that will definitely be key in making Assassin’s Creed work as a film.
For those not familiar with the games, Assassin’s Creed unfolds as two different interlocking stories. The “modern” version has bartender Desmond Miles kidnapped by Abstergo Industries, which is soon revealed to be a front for the Templar order that has been attempting to shape and control human society for centuries. They are forever battling against the order of the Assassins, who believe mankind must be free to choose their own fate. Abstergo plugs Desmond into a device called the Animus, which allows him to relive the memories of his ancestors. He’s got information Abstergo wants inside his head and doesn’t even realize it, but the more he learns about the mysterious corporation, the more he realizes they need to be stopped.
The other half of the Assassin’s Creed mythos is by far the most interesting: Desmond experiencing different historical periods and locations through the eyes of his ancestors. For the first game, which is being adapted into the movie, he donned the hood of Altaïr ibn-La’Ahad, an Assassin in the Holy Land during the Crusades. From there, Desmond’s proxy adventures have continued through Renaissance Italy and Constantinople, Revolutionary War-era America, and the 18th century in the Caribbean. The next installment of the game series, Assassin’s Creed: Unity was recently announced, and is set during the French Revolution. So, assuming the first movie goes well — and that’s a big assumption, granted — then a potential AC film series would have plenty of possibilities for the sequels.
Video game movies have a bad track record for sure, but if handled properly, Assassin’s Creed has the potential to derail that history. As Altair was fond of saying, “Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.”
The Assassin’s Creed film is currently slated for release on August 7, 2015. You can check out some of the game series’ gorgeous cinematic trailers below.