We all know the cursed reputation associated with video game movies. The 2016 Assassin’s Creed film is no exception to the video game movie curse, but the world renowned action and adventure stealth game is getting something that most franchises never get: a second chance.
Earlier today, Netflix announced that a live action Assassin’s Creed series is now in development. With video game movies flopping left, right and centre, television series’ seem to be the next big attempt to transfer gaming worlds onto the screen. With a Resident Evil series also announced with Netflix, a series based on The Last of Us by HBO and now this Assassin’s Creed announcement (I’m not counting The Witcher Netflix show as it is based on the books rather than the games); there is no denying that a series seems to be what producers are grasping hold of. I can see how this is an appealing idea.
A television series is a great method of storytelling due to how far writers are able to dive into their narratives and characters thanks to the series format having a much longer length. With a film, you get two hours tops to truly engage an audience. Only special cases like The Lord of the Rings trilogy can stretch that out to a three hour film (totalling an eleven hour trilogy if you watch the extended versions). That’s two hours to develop your story and character, create a convincing character arc, throw in some engaging drama, conflict and resolution and wrap it up neatly. This is hard enough with original films but with an adapted piece, it can be even more challenging. With something like a video game adaptation, you need to be able to entice a general audience as well as audience who are already familiar with the source material. Pile on the story structure and character development on top of that and it becomes a little clearer as to why video game movies aren’t always well received. It’s a tough nut to crack. Even the films considered the best video game movies- like Warcraft, Sonic the Hedgehog and the recent Tomb Raider reboot- aren’t particularly ground-breaking. They are pretty average but are considered the best from a bad bunch. So of course, television seems like the next step to try and take for video game adaptations.
Assassin’s Creed could definitely work as a television series. The games themselves have a significant amount of lore (though it is not always executed in the best way) so there is a lot of source material that can be plundered. There is also the fact that they could set the game in any time period they want to and it would still make sense. There are a lot of possibilities and a fair amount of room for creativity when it comes to an Assassin’s Creed show. I personally think it has the ability to be far less linear than the Resident Evil or The Last of Us shows, so I have my fingers crossed that they hire a team who know and enjoy the game series enough to do it some justice.
Netflix + Assassin’s Creed pic.twitter.com/yI2sItnMgi— NX (@NXOnNetflix) October 27, 2020