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Ubisoft Launches Movie Studio To Make Movies of Its Games 114

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-wait-for-the-drm dept.
Variety reports that Ubisoft, the game studio behind Assassin's Creed, the Tom Clancy games and the recent Prince of Persia titles, has launched Ubisoft Motion Pictures for the purpose of turning its game franchises into TV and movie franchises. "Ubisoft's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was brought to the bigscreen by Jerry Bruckheimer, with Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead. The 2010 pic grossed about $335 million worldwide. The publisher started expanding its reach in 2007, when it launched Ubisoft Digital Arts, a computer animation studio, which created Avatar's ground-breaking 3D vidgame. A year later, it acquired Montreal-based visual effects house Hybride Technologies."
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Ubisoft Launches Movie Studio To Make Movies of Its Games

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  • It seems almost obvious really -- why would anyone trust their game>movie experience to an outside group? Having the game makers and designers working on it can only improve what has been, for quite some time, a really awful form of movie. At the same time though, I'm reminded of the mario bros. movie, which I actually like. There was no way they could translate mario into a sane movie, and It was a bad and obvious choice. I fear we may see much more of this, since the differences between the mediums ar
    • by exomondo (1725132)

      Having the game makers and designers working on it can only improve what has been, for quite some time, a really awful form of movie.

      Mainly because of Uwe Bol.

      • by aronzak (1203098)

        Mainly because of Uwe Bol.

        Don't get your hopes up; this is Ubisoft we're talking about

      • It's Ubi we're talking here. They might just hire him as their creative director.

        • Huh. I somehow had managed to completely blank what sort of games Ubisoft did out of my mind. Now I remember. And I was having such a nice day too.
      • Making big, dumb Bruckheimer movies isn't really an improvement.

        • by Zeek40 (1017978)
          Bruckheimer has mostly stuck to TV in the past decade. If you're gonna complain about terrible big budget films, complain about Michael Bay. He seems to shit out three or four awful, plot-free, explosion-laden films a year.
      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        At least Uwe Bol movies have a self-awareness of their own silliness. Michael Bay, on the other hand....

      • You do realize that Uwe Bole is basically an in-real-life troll, right? I'm sure nothing makes him more happy than seeing the nerd rage that happens whenever his name is mentioned or he makes a new movie that shits on some nerds favorite video game.

      • Anyone see Postal? I love that movie. Aside from that Uwe Bol shouldnt be allowed to touch any video game movie.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      I read the headline and face palmed myself so hard I passed out.

      • Re:A good sign? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sulphur (1548251) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @02:00AM (#36007600)

        I read the headline and face palmed myself so hard I passed out.

        Had you used face palm oil, then your hand would have slid off harmlessly.

        • Great advice, gee, thanks. Now I hit the head on my table and woke my boss. And now I sit here in the office with some slick stuff on my palms, a dizzy look on my face and you better have some idea how to explain THAT to him!

          • by Sulphur (1548251)

            Great advice, gee, thanks. Now I hit the head on my table and woke my boss. And now I sit here in the office with some slick stuff on my palms, a dizzy look on my face and you better have some idea how to explain THAT to him!

            Next time swing hand toward face, and not face toward hand. I hope this helps.

    • Having the game makers and designers working on it can only improve what has been, for quite some time, a really awful form of movie.

      Game development and movie development are different skills, one is long duration interactive entertainment and the other is short duration passive entertainment. You seem to be making a very common mistake, assuming great talent in one area translates to great talent in another area. Whatever comes second, the movie adapted from the game or the game adapted from the movie, is usually inferior because of the budgeting and scheduling. Ie the constraints imposed on the development team and not necessarily the

      • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @02:09AM (#36007626) Homepage

        Game development and movie development are different skills, one is long duration interactive entertainment and the other is short duration passive entertainment.

        True. However, the game-to-movie direction today has more promise than the movie-to-game direction. Games made from movie franchises tend to be track rides - you will follow the plot. On the other hand, a free-play game provides known characters and settings on which a screenwriter can build a plot - even when the game barely has one. ("Prince of Persia" comes to mind.)

        • The original, not the movie tie in, and it's got an extensive plot and characterizations that play out as you play through the game. I guess you might mean the original game, but the movie isn't based off the original game...
        • by jd2112 (1535857)
          Then why didn't the Prince of Persia screenwriters build a plot? (I was so disapointed that I thought about sending Disney a bill for the time I spent watching it...)
      • I think they'll have a lot of talent at being able to use tools for all the previs work. Every bit could be blocked out in a game engine and tested over and over. If they get a director sitting over someone's shoulder and allow the DP to do his job I think they could get some good work done.
        It will still be shite as stories from games just don't need telling, they need playing!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I agree - it's what Marvel have done with their movies. They made a movie company, because every time they tried to make a movie based on their comics, they'd either get massively ripped off, or the movie would be horrible, or both. They usually end up partnering with a major studio for distribution, but that's usually past the post.

      • They made a movie company, because every time they tried to make a movie based on their comics, they'd either get massively ripped off, or the movie would be horrible, or both.

        So basically they no longer get ripped off by they can still make shitty movie [wikipedia.org].

    • What sucks is you'll have to have an online constant connection in the theater to actually see any movie they put out.

      • by delinear (991444)
        I could live with that, but when I tried to use my legitimately purchased ticket to get in, they didn't like some of the other tickets I happened to have in my wallet at the time and refused me entry.
    • Have you seen the quality of stories / writing that comes out of games? Publishers aren't exactly capable of filtering out shit.
    • "Having the game makers and designers working on it can only improve what has been, for quite some time, a really awful form of movie."

      Yes, perhaps we'll have more pieces of high art like the Wing Commander movie if the creator's of the game are involved.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Please please don't hire Uwe Boll!

  • Vidgame? Is that a thing? Or just that "kids today can't be bothered to call something by a name longer than two syllables" way that marketeers rename TV shows and movies...?

    • by ischorr (657205)

      "Tonight, on a special episode of HowMom..."

      • by Zider (211890)

        Episode has three syllables, it would probably be shortened to "e-sode" or just "epi"

    • Yes, because this is the first generation ever to use contractions

    • Not just that, but I don't remember it being ground-breaking at all. It was a bit boring.
    • That's just the way they roll at Variety. They're famous for having their own slang and abbreviations they use in their headlines and stories. The most commonly cited reference is the headline "Hicks nix stix pics," which means that movie viewers in the mid-west don't go to movies set in the mid-west. They even keep a glossary [variety.com] on their website.
  • by fox171171 (1425329) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @01:51AM (#36007558)
    When you go to the theater you have to get RFID chipped, and if the scanners lose the internet connection, the movie won't play.
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      You also need a constant internet connection plugged into your skull.

      *Bathroom use is extra at theaters showing ubisoft productions.

    • This isn't funny, it's [gizmodo.com] insightful [torrentfreak.com].
    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      Will that be before signing up for an online account or after the online registration? I'm assuming it can't be done until you've purchased your popcorn, soda, and candy.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not to mention movies made out of video games tend to not fare well anyway.

  • I hope the CEO of Blizzard reads this news and says: "We're going to create our own movie studio!". Hell, it's about time.
    • by Kalriath (849904)

      So long as they drop that dumbass idea to do live action, and just have their cinematic animators do it.

  • by Frans Faase (648933) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @02:35AM (#36007726) Homepage
    A 'Myst' movie is already in the works. It will not be primarily be based on one of the games, but one of the novels, and its provisory title is "Myst: The Book of Ti’ana". For more information, see mystmovie.com [mystmovie.com].
  • by Guspaz (556486) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @02:40AM (#36007750)

    How convenient, Ubisoft's largest studio happens to be in a city equipped for major motion picture production, Montreal. A city that can fill in both for European and American cities, with major sound stages and VFX companies.

  • by rally2xs (1093023) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @03:00AM (#36007814)

    As a moviegoer that "sees everything that is not too dumb for words" I avoid movies that have anything to do with videogames because, so far, they universally suck. There's nothing remotely believable about the movies, the are all computer video effects and no real story that makes much of any sense. Everything is simply game-play on the screen, and I don't get to have any fun with it.

    Coming in a close second is "movies having anything to do with existent toys", which would mean things like the transformer series. Saw a trailer for the upcoming transformers movie last night. Nope, gonna miss that one, too.

    Wanna sell me a movie ticket? Tell me a story, preferably with MOVIE STARS in it, not some bozo I've never heard of before that, incidentally, doesn't know squat about acting. Last night's movie for me was Fast Five. At least we have a star or 2, and some fun car chases. Yeah, its terminally stupid, too, but at least fun to look at.

    Best movie in the theater at the moment? The Conspirator. Now, THAT tells a story. Water for Elephants, 2nd best, and ditto, tells a story.

    Surprisingly, the comic book series have proved very entertaining, although any new movie having anything to do with anything from DC comics is getting a pass as long as the writers think that Superman should somehow be ashamed of being a US citizen, and wishes to renounce that citizenship. They can all go pound sand...

    • Yes thats really weird, the cutscenes of the games usually are better movies than the movies based on video games. I guess this is due to the fact that the game creators care about the stories they want to tell while Hollywood only cares about cashing in on a name and thinks they can shove everything down the throat to their supposed 12 year old target audience. Hollywood has not gotten the clue that the majority of the people who play those games are in between 20 and 35.
      I have not even remotely cared abou

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        I agree, many of the game cutscenes have been more entertaining as of late than what Hollywood has been cranking out. If I were looking to make a game movie the C&C Kane storylines would be a good place to start. here you have a mysterious alien rock eating the planet but that can also be used as a power source, a MIC that guards the last green zones for the rich elite, and the enemy commander may or may not be the Cain cast out by God.

        I'd add the original Bioshock but frankly I'd have no clue how you c

    • by Andy Smith (55346)

      "I avoid movies that have anything to do with videogames because, so far, they universally suck"

      Silent Hill.

      • by rally2xs (1093023)

        Silent Hill? I never saw that come thru my local movie theater. I've seen lots of titles in these replies of movies I never saw on the marquee at my local theater. Maybe they came thru during late '07 - early '08, when I was in Iraq? OBTW, I mostly only look at new movies that come thru theaters. Don't rent movies, don't steal 'em off the net either, and mostly can't stand watching anything on commercial TV 'cuz of, well, the commercials. Even on DVR, its generally not worth the annoyance of having

    • by Fri13 (963421)

      You want a story? Then forget the movies, they are just too short. Grab a great TV series and you get great story and lots of fun. Series like Babylon 5, Quantum Leap, Jericho, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly....

      Oh, most of those have had actors who "no one know". Not big Movie Stars like Vin Diesel etc....
      There are lots of great actors who are better than most of big movie stars are, but they have never got or went to movie business.

      The same thing applies to TV series as for books and comic books. They are l

      • I almost agree. But the ones you've stated do tend follow a set formula for their 33min of screen time. When you watch them back to back you can start tell how far you've watched by plot points they've reached. I always think of it like some xml format for plot telling.
        The first dexter didn't do this so obviously and I would say its a prime example of a full story in a TV series. No pointless filler episodes either.

        Firefly will always be shiny.
        • I always think of it like some xml format for plot telling.

          I really need to find a torrent of that xml template before November, then...

    • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @06:20AM (#36008602)

      Wanna sell me a movie ticket? Tell me a story, preferably with MOVIE STARS in it, not some bozo I've never heard of before that, incidentally, doesn't know squat about acting.

      One of the last few movies that Ive seen for the first time recently had absolutely no one I had ever heard of, and it was probably one of the best movies I have ever seen. The movie was Winter's Bone. It shows that having a big name star in a movie does not make the movie good; in many cases, the big name actor either overshadows everything else, or simply plays every character exactly the same, without even subtle changes from film to film.

      • by rally2xs (1093023)

        Yeah, the starless good movie is always a possibility, too. See "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," which is Swedish with subtitles and everything, unless you get the DVD with the English dub on it, and... it is fantastically engrossing, an excellent story. It is also really, really RAW, with 2 rape scenes and a severe sexual abuse scene in it, as well as other violence, attempted violence, and just plain serious conflict. I loved it, and never had a clue of these actors before.

    • by glwtta (532858)
      Water for Elephants, 2nd best, and ditto, tells a story.

      Ah, I see, you don't mind if a movie is shit, as long as it's pretentious.
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      The thing is, videogames and movies serve two different purposes. A videogame serves to entertain, either solo or alone.

      A movie's purpose is NOT to entertain. Instead, it's purpose is to put asses in seats.

      Those two differences in purpose, while not typically mutually exclusive, do come to be at odds very often. If it's a game, typically the one that leads to more entertainment wins. If it's a movie, though, the result that will put more asses in seats will generally win out.

      After all, we have summer blockb

    • Of course there are going to be bad video game movies. There's enough bad normal movies to provide an expectable base % of required good movies to make a genre worthwhile.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_based_on_video_games#International [wikipedia.org]

      You can see that there are a good selection of bad movies in there, but there are a few that scored surprisingly high on rotten tomatoes despite being a very narrow genre, where I'd consider anything with close to 30% or above to have a 'critical acclaim' mark if

  • ...the cut scene frenzy and extreme linearity of playing Assassin's Creed makes it very much like watching a movie, so it makes sense they may just as well make them full-fledged ones. Not much point in interacting anyway, when all you're doing is helping to drive a plot forward.

  • and I thought the matrix was bad...

  • ... what could go wrong?

  • can be blamed entirely on the studios not hiring talent (directors) who share the passion that video game enthusiasts have. I heard from the writer of the first Tomb Raider movie that the director Simon West stated on set that he, "hates video games and doesn't understand why people play them." And then people wonder why the movie sucked so badly. I hope Ubisoft does a great job with their studio. Too many great video games with really great plots have been destroyed by terrible movies.
    • by delinear (991444)
      If we're ever going to see good movie games, we can't rely on existing directors who have no passion for, and often little knowledge of, the medium. However, now gaming has gone much more mainstream, we'll start to see more geeky directors who might actually be capable of making a movie of a game that doesn't suck (think along the lines of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright).
  • Hopefully this is the nail in the coffin of the film franchise rapist Uwe Boll.

    Can't wait to see which eyeball-injected DRM solution they require to watch their movies, though! Always-on 3G internet connection by rectal probe?
    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      eyeball-injected DRM solution

      I'd wait until the second patch is out before seeing it if they are going to put you through all of that.

  • Will they require a constant internet connection to watch their movies? And will you have to restart watching from the beginning if your connection drops?

    • A dropped connection is clear evidence of attempts to circumvent DRM. The right to play the movie will be remotely revoked, but users will be invited to purchase a replacement at 20% off the recommended retail price. The CEO of Ubisoft will personally shit in to an envelope and post it to anyone purchasing Ubisoft movies.

  • There are few things what I would wish for every PC game developer would include

    1] Co-Op and not just deatchmatch or capture the flag
    2] Video recording by game engine

    The 2] means that the game can be recorded by game engine so even if you play few hours, you get recording what is size of few tens of megabytes and not gigabytes.
    And later after recording, player could share the recording to anyone else if wanted. Or edit it (and then share) and even export it to wanted format.

    And it should not be just so easy

  • How can they hope to live up to the masters of the genre, like the great Uwe Boll?

  • ...from Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Super Mario Bros, Alone in the Dark... well, ok so these are particularly atrocious examples but with the exception of Prince of Persia (which i quite liked, but mostly due to Jake Gyllenhaal) all other VG based movies have been mediocre at best. Question: have any game-based movie made any money? (really, have they?)
    • by RogueyWon (735973) *

      Sadly, yes. The Resident Evil series has been an absolute cash-cow (though I suspect it's a bit milked-out now) - they may be dreadful movies, but they've been effectively pitched and marketed.

      The Silent Hill movie also did ok, grossing $97m worldwide on a $50m budget (according to wikipedia). That said, Silent Hill was, while by no means great, at the better end of the scale for a video game adaptation - and here in the UK, it was marketed more as a "normal" horror film than as a video game adaptation. I c

      • by sgtrock (191182)

        Having never played the games I have no idea how closely (if at all) they follow the game plot(s). My guess is, not closely at all? Still, the Resident Evil movies weren't THAT bad if you took them as a pretty typical zombie flick franchise.

        I like 'em better than the Romero originals if only because RE movies actually have more sympathetic characters. I never did like Romero's automatic assumption that people would always turn on each other rather than band together to deal with disaster.

        • by delinear (991444)
          I only played the first Res (and a very little bit of Res 2, which I abandoned early on as it seemed they were going for all out zombie apocalypse instead of claustrophobic survival horror) but I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie. Maybe it's because my expectations were so ridiculously low to begin with, but I thought they did a reasonable job of fitting the storyline of the movie around the storyline of the game without encroaching too much (or trying to do a straight retelling of the
  • Load an existing script from the same genre into a word processor (or just use an Alien script)
    Search and replace character names
    Refine a bit
    Film the movie
    Wonder why it failed

  • Wow, this is the first I've seen the Avatar games described as "ground-breaking".

    They are aweful, scoring from 50 to 60 on metacritic. We're talking about a real revolution there!

    • by 91degrees (207121)
      It's probably more or less rehashed from a press release that described it that way. Variety writers aren't necessarily all that up to speed on video games and the readers aren't that interested so they'll just repeat what they're told be the marketing people.
    • by delinear (991444)
      The game itself was pretty substandard, but it broke new ground in creating the awkward contraction "vidgame" to describe what was traditionally called a video game.
  • If Uwe Boll is blackballed from the process before it even begins, I shall take this as a good sign.
  • I think it would be quite amazing to see the Assassin's Creed games turned into a movie series. The game is already in and of itself movie quality and pulls you in. If they can do this with games, just think of the possibilities of porting the game to a movie. Not to mention the Las Vegas 2 ... that would make a great movie, too!
  • As long as they make a movie about Raving Rabbids. [wikipedia.org]

    Those little bunnies are hilarious!
    • I'd have to agree with that. My first thoughts when reading the title were "I hope to god they make something to do with the Rabbids". Even better if Ancel oversees the creation of a Rabbids movie/series. Failing that, a Beyond Good and Evil movie would be fantastic, too.
  • ...better be Raving Rabbids!
  • *large square on screen after the credits* - *hold phone up and push button* - Your friend asks, "What was that for?" - You reply, "All Ubisoft movies let you access downloadable content not seen in the film for $5." - "What did you get?" - *looking at phone*, "A plot."
  • If you're looking to make bad video game movies, there's only one man for the job.
  • That instead of being positive about this, all I can think about is how this group will inevitably be shut down? It doesn't seem like this would be somewhere I would want to work if job security was important to me.
  • I can't wait to see what they can do with Chessmaster!

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