You all remember the Hitman and the Tomb Raider movies. It is an unfortunate but true reality that game-to-film adaptations tend to fall painfully short of expectations and lose the voice and virtue of the original in translation. Now that Ubisoft has signed a deal with Sony Pictures to get the ball rolling on the Assassin’s Creed movie, the company has taken meticulous steps — or as some see it, anal-retentive steps — to ensure that their movie will not suffer the same unappreciated fate. Ubisoft has done this by securing approval rights over every aspect of the film, asserting that their Big Brother-like presence will ensure that the film does the game absolute justice. It is this deal, however, that may ironically sabotage the entire thing before so much as a script can get underway.
Movie blog Vulture writes that this kind of control is unheard of, and that in the long run it may make the film impossible to finish. “As a director, even Steven Spielberg cannot get this kind of deal,” an insider reported. Another unnamed source mourned, “The whole Ubisoft/Sony deal is a waste of ink, paper and time. The level of control Sony gave up means, effectively, that Assassin’s Creed will never — and I mean never — get made.”
Once upon a time Ubisoft had offered rights to Dreamworks, Universal, and Warner Bros, all of which ran away screaming and gnashing their teeth at the developer’s demands. After so many pass-overs of an Assassin’s Creed movie and all the glory that could potentially come with, some think that Ubisoft is grossly overstepping its boundaries.
Will Assassin’s Creed go the way of the Uncharted and Halo movies? “It’s [Ubisoft’s] billion-dollar brand, so I get that they’re protective,” wrote a studio executive close to the project. “But [those at Ubisoft are] not moviemakers, and the only way to make sure it’s a bad movie is to undervalue what movie studios do — and this is a deal that totally undervalues what movie studios do.”