What seemed like a match made in heaven, Hollywood and Metal Gear Solid, does not look like it was meant to be.
The stealth series, created by game designer Hideo Kojima, was known for its stealth game play and movie style cinematics. Metal Gear Solid looked, if not played, like a motion picture.
These cinematic stylings were no accident — designer Hideo Kojima has cited numerous movies that have influenced the MGS games. When it was announced that a movie version of Metal Gear Solid was in the works, it seemed like a perfect fit.
Initially there were rumours that Christian Bale would be snake, chatter that Snake voice actor and Hollywood scribe David Hayter wanted to do the script and word that Kurt Wimmer, whose directing credits include sci-fi action fodder like Equilibrium and Ultraviolet would be helming the project.
Producer Michael De Luca, whose credits range from the good (Boogie Nights) to the not-so-good (Little Nicky), was spearheading the Hollywood version of the flick. In a recent interview with Collider.com, De Luca describes how the entire project has stalled: "I don't think it's going to move forward because I got the sense that there may not be enough of a coordinated will at this point on the side of certain parties to see a movie get made."
According to De Luca, a movie can only hurt a franchise — not necessarily help. If the film is good, then it will sell games. If the film is a stinker, then it tarnishes the franchise's image. It becomes a black eye.
"Video game companies are very protective of their property and there are certain things a studio requires freedom-wise to market and distribute a movie effectively in a global marketplace and sometimes getting those two things to match up is really hard," says the producer. "And in the case of Metal Gear Solid, the agendas just…. not because the parties weren't amicable, it was just kind of impossible to get the agendas to match up."
In spring 2008, De Luca spoke at length about the "rich universe" Hideo Kojima created and how cinematic the series is. "Not mess with the DNA of the game but provide a movie that is an adaptation but that has its own cinematic identity so even if you don't play the game you know, you'll come out of that movie feeling like you did at the end of The Matrix or the end of Robocop," the producer said at the time.
Several sources close to the project have confirmed that the Metal Gear Solid movie isn't happening. The reason, however, seems to be an issue of money. Sony Pictures was willing to finance somewhere between $US40 million ~ $US80 million for the film; however, Kojima Productions and Konami balked, believing that the figure was not enough to create a proper cinematic version of the game.
By today's standard, the budget would have put Metal Gear Solid at the lower end of the production scale. For comparison's sake, Sony Pictures film Spider-Man 3 had a $US300 million budget.