Hollywood and video games rarely work out in the end, but that hasn't stopped two juggernauts from both industries from combining their creative forces to possibly put out one of the most asked about video game adaptations of all time.
"Star Trek" and "Star Wars Episode VII" director J.J. Abrams and Valve founder Gabe Newell announced Wednesday their intentions to adapt the latter's most famous game, "Half-Life" into a major motion picture. They dropped the bombshell as part of the keynote address for this year's DICE Summit in Las Vegas.
"We're going to figure out if we can make a 'Portal' movie or 'Half-Life' movie together," Newell said.
The project is at the very basic beginning, without even a story outline put together for a possible script treatment. There's no studio backing, financial support or talent on board other than the two creative heads, who are still mulling the ideas. It sounds like a great idea, but will it be possible to put together in the end?
Hundreds of scripts are commissioned each year by Hollywood and international studios. Most of them never see the light of day due to budgeting concerns, talent carousels or simply failing to capture that creative spark. Video game adaptations are no exception. In the last three years there have been numerous video game movies announced, including: "Mass Effect," "Assassin's Creed," "Splinter Cell," "Bioshock," "Need for Speed," "Dead Island" and "Deus Ex: Human Revolution." Microsoft's juggernaut, "Halo" was once poised to hit the big screen in 2008, but financial and creative differences between the software giant and 20th Century Fox and Universal -- the studios co-financing the endeavor -- killed the project before it got off the ground.
Even if a studio was to come on board and the pieces fell into place to make these movies happen, there's no guarantee they would be good. Both games feature silent protagonists, which would simply not work in a movie format. So either Gordon Freeman and Chell are going to have to talk, or those characters will have to be replaced, and the movie will take place in the "universe" of each title. At that point, what would be the point?
Still, there is great potential here for success. Newell has commented in the past he wouldn't want a "Half-Life" movie done unless it's done properly. Abrams is riding a massive wave of geek credibility with his reboot of the "Star Trek" movie franchise and his tackling of the "Star Wars" franchise. But with those two massive universes in his back pocket, he will be busy for quite some time.