Video game movies, or movies based on video games, don't have the best reputations. Sure, there are a couple out there that are liked by some - Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter the Movie are in that "so bad, they're good" category - but it's less about their overall quality, and more about how terrible they're not - which does go a long way.
Despite some interesting examples, however, there has yet to be a definitive 'good' video game movie, even though many could be done quite easily. Take the success of the Fast & Furious movies, for example, but apply that to a Need for Speed movie. That's probably the movie we got in some alternate universe but, unfortunately, we all know of the one that ultimately came out.
Regardless, there's still hope that some day some studio out there will manage to pull it off. It just takes the right game, and the right kind of adaptation. BBC Two may be the company that does so, and with Grand Theft Auto no less. To make the movie sound even more plausible, BBC confirmed two of its lead actors today: Daniel Radcliffe and Bill Paxton as Rockstar co-founder Sam Houser and once-lawyer Jack Thompson.
The upcoming movie isn't called "Grand Theft Auto," at least, not yet, and is currently using the working title "Game Changer." In development as a 90-minute factual drama, Game Changer is being "conceived for an adult audience," and will tell the story of the game and the controversy that came as a result of its existence.
That could prove to be the key to cracking the video game nut, first and foremost - using game development as the basis for compelling drama instead of straight adaptation. At the very least, the GTA name should help generate enough interested in the BBC drama.
As the press release for the movie explains:
"Its triumph was down to a bunch of British gaming geniuses who had known each other since their school days, and at the heart of it all was GTA’s creative mastermind, Sam Houser.
"But the violent gameplay coupled with its outstanding commercial success leads to fierce opposition: from parents worried about children immersing themselves in such a violent world; from politicians, alarmed at the values they say it encourages; and above all from moral campaigners, who fight passionately to ban it. At the vanguard of this crusade is the formidable campaigning lawyer Jack Thompson, a man determined to do whatever he can to stop the relentless rise of Grand Theft Auto."
Game Changer doesn't have a release date yet, but VG247 reports that it'll start shooting in South Africa very soon.
Grand Theft Auto 5, meanwhile, just saw it's release on the PC. Alongside a recent patch, PC players can also enjoy new mods that bring snow and super powers. It's unlikely the movie will include anything similar, unfortunately.