As we hope that some upcoming video game movies will break the mold of underwhelming adaptations that has defined video game films since the 90s, one more has been tossed on to the growing pile of forthcoming video game-based projects.
Today, Lionsgate has announced that they’re developing a Borderlands movie. It’s based on the RPG/first-person shooter combo game that follows a group of stranded colonists on an alien planet that has been left for dead, and is slowly moving closer to the sun, sparking the rise of horrifying creatures to wreak havoc on those left behind.
Spider-Man franchise producer Avi Arad and his son Ari Arad are producing the Borderlands movie, adding to Arad’s flood of video game movies in the works that also include Metal Gear Solid, Uncharted and Mass Effect. Since this is just an announcement of development, there’s no guarantee that this project won’t be stuck for a while just like the other video game adaptations, but fans will likely be excited to hear that a movie is in the works.
For those who aren’t familiar with the game, here’s the official description of the story:
In a distant future, the planets at the outer edges of the galaxy have become a beacon to fortune seekers and those yearning for a better life off world. But there are no guarantees in deep space. Pandora, one of these distant planets, was reported to be rich in untapped mineral wealth, and so drew many hoping to get rich quick, but in the end little was found beyond the scattered ruins of a past alien civilization. With nothing to gain, any who could soon abandoned Pandora, leaving those who remained to deal with the lawlessness of a world gone bust, and the mystery of the long-dead alien civilization. But as chaotic as these times were, there were worse days yet to come. After several years the planet’s huge orbit slowly brought it near to its sun and once unknown and horrifying creatures sprang from their long hibernation to terrify the stranded colonists. The only hope of the colonists seems to be a vault discovered in the side of a mountainside, rumored to contain alien technology and secrets about Pandora.
The game is made to be played ideally as a co-op multiplayer experience with characters leveling up, obtaining thousands of weapons and driving cool vehicles across the harsh landscape. The 2009 game spawned a sequel in 2012 and also something called a pre-sequel in 2014, not to mention several expansion packs, and it’s one of the more beloved games of the previous generation of game systems.
Here’s a trailer for the first game so you can get an idea of what this is like:
While the premise sounds like it would make a great sci-fi movie, this also seems like the kind of game that has so much customization and personal investment with your own character that creating a movie may not be the most satisfying experience with fans of the game. You can only have so many characters and so many weapons from the game make their way into the movie.
But Lionsgate seems to think they can make it work as their Motion Picture Group Co-Chairs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger say:
“We believe that we’ve brought together the right partners, the ideal creative team and the perfect property to launch a new motion picture tent-pole for a global audience. Part of our strategy in entering the game space under Peter Levin has been to source new brands with built-in audiences that will translate into great films and television shows. The ‘Borderlands’ games don’t pull any punches, and we’ll make the movie with the same in-your-face attitude that has made the series a blockbuster mega-franchise.”
Does that mean we could get an R-rated Borderlands movie? After all the game is rated M for Mature, so it would stand to reason that the best way to bring that spirit to the big screen is with an R-rated movie. But since this project just began development, we’ll just have to wait and see how it develops.
(There were quite a few people earlier this year who, not knowing history and context, assumed Mad Max: Fury Road was ripped off from Borderlands. Just search Twitter for comments featuring both titles and you’ll see loads of assumptions.)
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