With all the talk lately about how video game movies may become the next genre to sweep the industry- similar to how comic book movies have been all the rage for the last several years- one popular franchise has been left out of the conversation. And that’s not by accident. Fallout, one of the most popular Role Playing Game (RPG) franchises around, has a premise that would provide very fertile ground for a film series. But developer Bethesda says that Fallout, as well as its other prized properties Elder Scrolls and Wolfenstein, are unlikely to ever become feature films.
Bethesda Softworks vice-president Pete Hines spoke very candidly, during an interview with Finder, about why he thinks the developer’s titles are going to stay strictly gaming properties. The question arose because everyone is talking about how ASSASSIN’S CREED is expected to be a- pardon the pun- total game changer for game-to-film adaptations. We know that a POKEMON film is in the works, that Nintendo is looking to dip its toe into filmmaking, and that even Steven Spielberg is going to make a film about gaming called READY PLAYER ONE.
Here’s what Hines told Finder about a Fallout movie:
“We get asked to all the time, but the short version is; we make games. Thatâ€™s what we are known for. And this conversation usually falls into the camp of; are we going to let some other person do their own interpretation of what Fallout is, or Elder Scrolls is, or Dishonored is? Or are we going to hold onto it and let the developers be the only ones that are able to say, â€˜this is what Fallout is, or Elder Scrolls, or Wolfenstein, or whatever?'”
Hines then echoed one of the primary concerns that Nintendo used to have, which is creative control. Before the Big N recently had a change of heart, they used to claim that the reason they’re hesitant to bring properties like The Legend of Zelda and Star Fox to the big screen was because of the lack of control they’d have. Remember the nightmare that was the SUPER MARIO BROS. movie from 1993?
Bethesda has similar reservations:
“Even when they say, ‘Oh no, you will have total control.’ Well, I donâ€™t know anybody who actually has total control over the film adaptation of their video game. If you did, why would you not just make it yourself? Of course the film studio and the scriptwriter and the director are going to have a tonne of say. They will have their own vision. So we get asked all the time, but we see it as a distraction. Weâ€™re a video games company; letâ€™s do what we know.”
For what it’s worth, when I visited the ASSASSIN’S CREED set, they made a lot of the fact that developer Ubisoft has its fingerprints all over that film’s production. They engineered a deal where they seemingly have the power to approve/veto practically everything about the movie. It probably helps that Ubisoft has a smart approach where they prepare film adaptations into neat little packages before “shopping them” to the studios. So rather than wait for a movie studio to contact them about film rights, they actually do the legwork and create the foundations for their movies. It makes it so that the film is their film, and the studio just has to give them the resources to make it. Such is the case with THE DIVISION, which Ubisoft has already lined up Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain to star in.
So what would it take for Bethesda to change its current stance? Hines says that if the right filmmaker came along and made a pitch, they’d be happy to hear them out. He name-dropped a significant director; One who was once working on getting a HALO movie off the ground:
“I think if Peter Jackson turned up at Todd Howardâ€™s office and said, ‘I want to do Elder Scrolls,’ well, that would be a pretty serious conversation you would have to listen to. But I think Peter is probably pretty busy (laughs).”
Fairly lofty ambitions there.
Does it bum you out that we’re unlikely to ever see a FALLOUT movie, with all of its retro-cool post-apocalyptic trappings? Do you think Bethesda will ever have a Nintendo-style change of heart? Do you think there’ll be a video game movie boom that rivals what’s been done with comic book movies? Sound off below!