Ubisoft is teaming up with Sony Pictures and New Regency to make a film based on its Watch Dogs video game.
The deal shows that Ubisoft has big confidence in the new action-adventure intellectual property, which makes its debut on a variety of game consoles in November. It’s certainly another sign that movie-game transmedia is making a comeback.
The announcement isn’t surprising because Watch Dogs has an original story, with cinematic scenes and interesting characters. That’s just the sort of stuff that fits well with a movie.
In Watch Dogs, a hacker named Aidan Pearce disrupts Chicago by hacking into its central operating system and turning all of its computer-controlled assets to his own purposes. He can cause car accidents by changing traffic lights and steal money from smartphones and automated teller machines. He becomes a vigilante, intent on seeking revenge for wrongs.
Ubisoft Motion Pictures, is collaborating with Sony Pictures Entertainment and New Regency on development of the feature film.
“Since both Sony and Ubisoft have movie and video game branches, this deal creates exceptional opportunities for us to merge the realms of the story-based cinematic experience with the interaction of the video game,” said Jean-Julien Baronnet, the chief executive officer of Ubisoft Motion Pictures. “In addition, Sony Pictures and New Regency have deep production expertise and are letting us maintain a strong creative voice in the film’s development. Together, we’re confident we can deliver a movie that builds upon the excitement that the game is already generating.”
Hannah Minghella, the president of production for Columbia Pictures, said in a statement, “The themes and open gameplay of Watch Dogs lends itself perfectly to the big screen. The game has intense action and adventure, but the story focuses on information and the control of information, which we think will lead to an exciting thriller. It has tremendous potential as a motion picture, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work closely with Ubisoft’s internal creative team on the development of the project.”
The project will be overseen at Ubisoft by Ubisoft Motion Pictures, which is also making the Assassin’s Creed movie based on Ubisoft’s games. At Columbia, Minghella and Sam Dickerman will oversee development while Alexandra Milchan and Andrew Calof will work on the film for New Regency.