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Today arrived with the first trailer for Duncan Jones’ epic Warcraft, which looks to break the curse of video game movies that just aren’t very good. That fact, however, has never stopped studios from making them, trying to cash in on their massive popularity, and another, The Witcher, is on its way to the big screen.
The Sean Daniel Company, which has produced the rebooted Mummy movies for Universal, will, according to Screen Rant, bring The Witcher to movie theaters everywhere in 2017. They’re teaming up with Platige Films for the medieval fantasy film, which follows the adventures of the protagonist Geralt of Rivia.
Geralt is one of the last remaining "witchers," a kind of super powered travelling monster hunter for hire. While the character and title are most widely known because of a trio of popular games, they actually have a more literary basis, as a series of books by Polish author Andrzej Sapowski served as the inspiration for the games. The Witcher movie will reportedly use two short stories from that realm, "The Witcher" and "Lesser Evil," as its source. Between all of the writings and the games, there is plenty more to mine for content if this is successful, and there is already talk of a TV tie in to go along with the movies.
Video game movies have, traditionally not been the greatest films, or the most profitable ones. Even hugely popular and cinematic games like Max Payne and Hitman have turned out crappy, crappy adaptations. That has the potential to change coming up, however, as a number of big names and interesting filmmakers are getting in on producing video game movies.
Michael Fassbender is going to star in an adaptation of Assassin’s Creed with Marion Coltillard, Tom Hardy is fronting Splinter Cell, The Kings of Summer director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is attached to Metal Gear Solid (though we’ll have to wait and see how that fits with his Kong: Skull Island duties), and Moon and Source Code director Duncan Jones will get the ball rolling next summer with Warcraft. And now there's that whole Call of Duty cinematic universe that's happening.
Instead of just relying on the name recognition, these upcoming productions appear to be putting more of an emphasis on things like story and character, making not just a movie based on a video game, but doing what they can to make a good movie based on a video game.
We still have quite a while to wait before we see how successful these new projects, including The Witcher turn out, but they certainly have the potential to take the expansive, detailed world of these video games and successfully translate them too movie screens. And as long as video games are hugely popular, you can bet Hollywood will continue to try to adapt them, for good or ill.