Movie-Goers Don't Deserve An Uncharted Movie

There was a time when video game developers seemed to be seeking approval from a wider, more mainstream audience.

Games were child's play, or so non-gamers seemed to think. I believe that's one of the reasons, maybe even right behind money, that so many developers seemed interested in having their games turned into movies. It was the ultimate form of acceptance by a global audience.

But games have far outgrown that need for acceptance, as have the people who make them. Movies based on games, though, seem to keep coming.

After watching a particularly spectacular session of people playing a bit of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, I sat down with one of the Playstation 3 game's lead designers to talk about his games.

I am an unabashed fan of Naughty Dog's work on the Uncharted games. They are spectacular, I told Richard Lemarchand. They're so wonderful, so character-driven in such a unique way, they shouldn't become movies, I said.

Make people come to gaming to enjoy this experience, I told Lemarchand. If they don't want to play games, they don't deserve to experience Uncharted.

Of course, that's not happening. Director David O. Russell, the man behind Three Kings, Flirting With Disaster and I ♥ Huckabees, has already signed on to direct the Columbia Pictures flick with Mark "Say hello to your mother for me" Wahlberg portraying lead Nathan Drake.

And Lemarchand seems OK with it.

"We are at an exciting time in terms of the history of play as culture and story-telling," he said. "We really are right now in the middle of the transmedia age."

Transmedia storytelling involves telling stories across a number of different mediums. You can, for instance, extend the fiction of a game through comic books, alternate reality gameplay, marketing and, of course, movies.

That's what's happening here, Lemarchand said. The movie won't be a retelling of the events of any or all of the video games, it will be its own story. A story that will still have some connections between the movie and the video games, he said.

But in the end, it will be Russell's story to tell.

"We know," Lemarchand said. "David is keen to make a film that carries his voice."


Comments

    Heres an idea. Why not get the game studio to write and produce the film like they do with the games with the aid of an experienced movie director. That way the style and story can remain consistent.
    I guess Hollywood knows better hence why you can almost guarantee the movie will resemble the game in character names only and the rest will be an interpretation by people who only know the game in reputation only. It will probably end up as a generic Indiana Jones-esk movie.

    “David is keen to make a film that carries his voice.”

    Lemarchand is very smart to distance himself and Naughty Dog from the movie with diplomatic little quotes like this. If it bombs, they didn't have a say in how the movie turned out. If it booms, more people buy the game and praise the original franchise. Genius.

      Columbia Pictures is part of Sony Pictures Entertainment. THE PS3 is of course part of Sony's many subsidiaries. If Naughty Dog was to come out and piss on David O. Russell's ideas, by showing how they really feel, they'd be slicing their own throat with Sony. The only way fans can get what they want is by demanding it and until the fans become apart of the Sony Pictures Entertainments executives nightmares, by harrassing the crap out of them, David O. Russel wins. If someone took any of your ideas as a whole and changed it none of you would be happy, so don't act like you would. I'm sick of hearing people say, "Give Russell a chance." He's arrogant, cocky, and a control freak. Sounds like me, but the difference is; I know when to collaborate and he thinks an Oscar nomination gives him the right to do what ever the hell he wants. And for those of you who think his idea of Uncharted is fine go look up the definition of what uncharted means, because the crap that's coming out of his mouth has nothing to with Uncharted.

        Indeed. It reeks of when ID got screwed over with Doom. As Carmack said, it was taken from him and essentially written by committee. To be honest this is how this sounds. Wahlberg as the hero? Bankable star. Deniro the classy actor for some marketable credibility to justify the budget and Pesci as the wisecrackin' uncle. Should be a barrel of monkeys...wait, they'll insist it's now a barrel of Biebers.

    Yep it's the reversal of the license-slapping trend where a popular movie license would be tacked onto a game that was already in development. O. Russel obviously had a movie ready to go and he just wanted a bandwagon to jump on to improve its box office chances.

    I love how every time O.Russell's name pops up, Kotaku almost always fails to mention that he also directed the academy award winning, 'The Fighter'.

    Hate the game, Kotaku, not the Player.

    Just because you don't want there to be an Uncharted movie is understandable, but let's try not to take away from the man's accomplishments just so you can feel a little better about why this movie shouldn't exist.

    Your arguments are moronic and way past emotional. First of all, look at the quality of O.Russell's movies, they are great, and they are critical acclaimed... and you wonder why some people are willing to give him a chance.

    Second of all, the Oscars are the most prestigious awards ceremony in cinema, there to celebrate the filmakers who have shown excellence in what they do. So yeah, I do see how he's earned himself a chance to make this film. You're arrogant, cocky, and a control freak? Yeah, I'd say so too, add obnoxious to the list.

    I want the Uncharted for there to be no Uncharted movie simply because I don't want for the stories in the games -- already cinema enough as they are -- to make the jump to live action. But having actually seen The Fighter, I'm willing to take that chance at the director's take on the story.

    Oh by the way, 'Uncharted' means "not yet surveyed or investigated", not "A series of Sony Computer Entertainment America games not directed by an Oscar Winning film director".

      *In response to Jonny Karlyle

        You're funny Kazoo, I mean Kizaru. Oh, and, "The Fighter," only won Oscars for best supporting actor and best supporting actress. Russell did not win for best director nor did, "The Fighter," win for best picture. "The King's Speech," took home the Oscar for best director and best picture along with two other Oscars.

    "There was a time when video game developers seemed to be seeking approval from a wider, more mainstream audience.

    Games were child’s play, or so non-gamers seemed to think. I believe that’s one of the reasons, maybe even right behind money, that so many developers seemed interested in having their games turned into movies. It was the ultimate form of acceptance by a global audience.

    But games have far outgrown that need for acceptance, as have the people who make them. Movies based on games, though, seem to keep coming."

    I agree, although I have caveats.

    Primarily, I don't think that its true that somehow the gaming community has "outgrown" that need for acceptance. Its pretty obvious that gaming still is socially stigmatized (the moral panic over violent games). But games themselves have MADE themselves more mainstream in order to reach a wider market. Complex mechanics get streamlined, slow paced games get sped up, multiplayer is added on even when there's no reason to. None of this is NECESSARILY bad, but it shows a continued desire to push into the mainstream.

    The stereotype of the nerdy gamer? Well, now our games valorize the most utterly traditional kind of heroism (in games like Gears of War) and don't even question it (whereas movies and literature often do question that model of heroism) (to be fair, Gears does have one heroic intelligent character; Baird).

    The stereotype of the antisocial gamer? Bring on the social games, the MMO's, the multiplayer in games that are more suited to single player, etc.

    In other words, if gaming has 'grown out' of its desire for acceptance, why the hell are games apparently being designed to appeal to people OTHER than the stereotypical gaming constituency? The obvious answer is commercial reasons which is a valid argument, but it still shows gaming wants to be accepted (if only commercially... but it goes both ways; gaming's commercial acceptance requires its cultural acceptance).

    The debate over video game censorship seems to have, at some level, a subtext about being culturally accepted (i.e. "if we can get a society's pre-existing legal institutions to accept gaming by treating gaming as just another form of media, then we have become culturally accepted). However, government is a lagging indicator of social attitudes; governments are typically risk-averse since they want to get re-elected and as such they'll GENERALLY only do things when there's a very clear majority support amongst their constituencies.

    None of this disproves the case for R18+ (a cause I agree with). However, the desire for cultural acceptance still manifests in that argument. It could also explain (to some degree) why the vast majority of arguments made BY GAMERS for R18+ are those that accept the terms of "we must protect the children" as opposed to an argument on the basis of "individual adults have an absolutely inviolable right to access any material they wish to see, provided said material wasn't produced by the violation of another individual's rights (for instance, child pornography)." Apparently, adult gamers themselves don't want to admit they might find pleasure in virtual violence, because that would get called 'immature' by the other side (because yes, violence doesn't exist in literature, movies or television [/sarcasm]).

    I wish games could outgrow their need for acceptance. But it simply hasn't happened and it won't until games already GET accepted (which is only a matter of time). Indeed, commercial pressures seem to make it impossible for gaming to ever 'outgrow' their need for acceptance.

    As for Hollywood, they're extremely unlikely to take games seriously. Games are a competing medium with massive pull over their "teens and young male" "summer blockbuster" demographic so naturally they see the medium as a threat and have a vested commercial interest in perpetuating the idea that games aren't and can never be genuinely good artistically speaking.

    Hollywood did the same to comic books. Look at the original X-Men film. David Hayter (screenwriter) said that on the set, people were asking him "why is this film so serious?! Its comics! It should be colorful and lighthearted!" Thankfully Hayter managed to push against this pressure, but the point still stands. People have been making films out of IP's from comics for a long time, but it took a long time for genuinely good ones to be made (the first 2 X-Men films, the first Iron Man film, and The Dark Knight are the good ones with the latter two being the best).

    Additionally, and I must say this with regret, as a form of media becomes more culturally accepted, it always loses the countercultural values and ideas it had during its earlier days. This is because in order to become accepted, the new form of media must accultrate to its environment and give 'the normals' what THEY want. Hence the trend I pointed at earlier; games having painfully traditional narratives and/or games becoming more simplified and/or games trying to be as 'social' as possible to avoid being tarred with the 'eww, this is a game for loners!' brush.

    In short, the mainstream hasn't come around to gaming. Gaming began changing in order to come around to the mainstream.

    Thankfully, there are niche markets so people that want deep, complex single player with stimulating plots will still be catered for from time to time. But the idea somehow that "gaming" as a hobby (or, more correctly, many individual gamers) has shedded its desire to be accepted by the mainstream is at the very least quite questionable.

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