The Gears of War movie seemed like a sure thing as recently as December, when producer Wyck Godfrey was talking up plans to make the film as an origin story, and director Len Wiseman's ideas for stepping into the director's chair. But a lot can change in four months, and The LA Times is reporting today that Wiseman is likely to leave the project, which might torpedo is entirely.

It's unclear exactly why Wiseman wants out, but it probably has something to do with significant budget cuts that's caused writers Chris Morgan (Wanted) and Billy Ray (State of Play) to scale things back from a sprawling, multi-generational epic to "a simple, straight-ahead invasion story." The Gears of War game follows a group of soldiers protecting a fictional planet from the vicious Locust Horde, and in December Godfrey was saying the movie would also include how the locusts came to take over to begin with. Now it seems all the back story, and likely all that character depth, will be ditched in favor of more cheap scares and special effects.

The project Wiseman may bail to do is Nocturne, another sci-fi project for the Underworld director about a group of survivors of the apocalypse. Given that there's yet to be a successful video game adaptation, and that Wiseman has earned the right to do pretty much whatever he wants, it makes sense to see him shift directions. But will Gears of War developers New Line be able to find someone else to take the challenge?

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