Video game-based movies are like cockroaches; no matter how many times critics and audiences step on them, they won’t die off. Less than a year ago, 20th Century Fox’s Hitman reboot was an explosion-packed slap in the face to fans of the stealth-based series. Not to mention the fact that it was a colossal financial failure as well. Fortunately, with the mostly positive buzz behind this year’s Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed movies, there may still be hope for Hollywood to give us a good video game movie. There are even more video game movies planned as well, including one based on a franchise many thought was past its prime.
Los Angeles production company Straight Up Films recently announced the acquisition of the film rights to the Thief games. They also announced that they are in the planning stages of a feature-length film based on the games. Film writing duo Adam Mason and Simon Boyes are set to write and direct with Straight Up Films’ production president Sandra Condito serving as executive producer.
First published in 1998 by Eidos, Thief: The Dark Project was the first stealth-based game to involve a first-person perspective. Most first-person games at the time were action shooters that involved running around as a macho protagonist and blowing up everything that moves. However, the first Thief game abandoned the first-person shooter sub-genre in favor of inventing a new one: the first-person sneaker. It would later inspire Eidos’ Hitman series, which went on to achieve more mainstream fame than the Thief games. There were even movies (albiet not very good ones) based on Hitman, while the Thief series never even got one film…until now that is.
While fans of the game series may find the film’s announcement exciting on paper, there are still a few problematic factors that could hurt the project. First of all, Straight Up Films isn’t exactly a successful production company. Their biggest theatrical releases were Johnny Depp’s Transcendence and Natalie Portman’s Jane Got a Gun, both of which absolutely tanked at the box office. Moreover, the latest game in the Thief series received mixed reviews and a disappointing reception from fans, so the hype for a film may have cooled down considerably.
However, there’s always a chance that a Thief movie could succeed and finally give audiences a faithful adaptation to a stealth-based game series. They just need to leave out the pandering explosions and gun fights and stick to the source material. If Straight Up Films can pull off a good movie, then we could be on the verge of an all-out video-game-movie-revolution.