Well, it looks like Sony has picked up the rights to what might be a series of films based on Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise. No one quite knows what the narrative will be based on, but the universe is thick enough that whatever story thread they chase should be full of meat. Before Sony locked it down, there had been a bidding war over the property, but I honestly don’t understand why the majors are diving for a property like this.
Of course, that’s nothing against Assassin’s Creed. I played through the original game, which was no doubt probably the weakest title of the series, and then never finished its superior sequel (Kelly has a fondness for it, though). Assassin’s Creed is Ubisoft’s premier franchise at the moment, something it inherited this generation from the Tom Clancy games that were all the rage last year. The problem with an arrangement like this is that, as we all know, virtually all films based on video games are poison. Even if you manage to throw a ton of money at it, decent stars, a screenplay by the original creator, and a blockbuster producer, you still wind up with something like last year’s Prince of Persia, which is another formerly glorious Ubisoft franchise.
If this takes off, Ubisoft wants to continue with further film extensions with properties like Splinter Cell – which was actually locked down by Dreamworks for a film adaptation half a decade ago but entered development hell. Sony may win on lowered expectations alone, but that doesn’t mean they can skimp on the budget.