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While the critical and commercial success of Assassin's Creed probably wasn't what publisher Ubisoft was looking for, that's not slowing the studio down on their next video game to movie adaptation. Today Ubisoft announced that they've signed a writer and director to helm the film version of The Division. Stephen Gaghan, the Oscar-winning writer of Traffic and the writer and director of the upcoming film Gold will be handling both duties for The Division as well.
It's a solid signing for Ubisoft's next big movie. Stephen Gaghan has experience with gritty, street-level, storytelling. In addition to writing Traffic, he also wrote and directed Syriana which won George Clooney an acting Oscar. Both movies tell very dramatic stories which focus on character-driven narratives. It's an approach that most video game based films have not taken. Perhaps it's the solution to making video game based movies work.
Stephen Gaghan also has one thing that may help him cross the chasm between video games and film. He's written for games as well. Gaghan is credited as the writer for Call of Duty: Ghosts. While the Call of Duty series has its differences from a gameplay perspective, the storytelling isn't necessarily all that different. Perhaps Gaghan's experience in writing for gameplay will help him add that special something that will allow The Division movie to tell a compelling story while still holding on to its roots as a video game.
The Division is a fairly new franchise in the video game world, the first game is barely over a year old at this point. However, the title sold millions of copies upon release, so the audience is clearly there for a film adaptation. The Division tells the story of a New York City that has been ravaged by a global pandemic. Order is breaking down as a virus takes hold and ravages the population. The player plays one of a number of sleeper agents working for the U.S. government who get activated in order to try and restore order and discover the source of the virus.
While The Divison doesn't yet have a script, Ubisoft's film department was somehow still able to draw a pair of big stars to the movie. Both Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain are both signed to star in the film. Obviously, if the writer just came on board, there was literally no plan for who the two would be playing when they signed on. Certainly at least one, if not both, will be playing the sort of sleeper agents which are depicted in the game, though there are plenty of other characters who could be created for the film.
No release date has been set for The Division yet so we don't know when this one will arrive, but it certainly seems clear that it will. Are you excited for a movie version of The Division? Let us know in the comments.