'Gears Of War' Movie Still Churning Through Development, Now With Writer Of 'xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage'

It's been over ten years since Hollywood announced a Gears of War movie based on the popular video game. Since then, the project has shifted between two studios and through the hands of several notable writers, directors, and producers. But years later, the game franchise is still going strong – which means Hollywood is taking another shot at adapting it for the big screen.

Now the film has a new writer: F. Scott Frazier, who wrote xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.

The Wrap reports that Frazier is the latest to take a crack at bringing Gears of War to theaters. Here's the synopsis of the game:

Gears of War follows the soldiers of Delta Squad as they fight to save the human inhabitants of the fictional planet Sera from a relentless subterranean enemy known as The Locust Horde. The player assumes the role of Marcus Fenix, a former prisoner and war-hardened soldier. In cooperative play, the second player plays as Fenix's friend and fellow soldier, Dominic Santiago (Dom). The two soldiers join up with Delta Squad and battle the Locust Horde through the course of an action-packed campaign.

The video game series launched in 2006 for Xbox 360, starting off as sort of a more violent and extreme riff on Halo, with a heavy emphasis on cover-based combat. It was a huge success for Epic Games, who eventually sold the rights to Microsoft in 2014 after making multiple sequels. A fifth game, Gears 5, is slated for release in 2019.

In 2007, New Line Cinema decided to make the movie with Collateral and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl screenwriter Stuart Beattie, who wrote a script after turning in a 21-page treatment. Live Free or Die Hard helmer Len Wiseman was hired to direct, and worked on the script with Wanted scribe Chris Morgan for a year, before moving on after having the budget sliced in half. Reports at the time suggested they were trying to decide if the film should take place in the time period of the games — in a war-torn post-Emergence Day world — or if they should start the movie earlier and depict a peaceful time that is shattered by Locust Horde invasion.

Billy Ray (Captain Phillips, The Hunger Games) wrote a draft of the script, and in 2012, New Line Cinema dropped the project altogether. In 2016, the film got new life at Universal Pictures with producer Dylan Clark (Planet of the Apes trilogy), who remains on board as a producer with Scott Stuber (Ted, The Kingdom) executive producing.

Frazier earned some goodwill with his screenplay for xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, which was ludicrous but kinda perfect for that over-the-top franchise. But he also wrote Collide, the 2016 Nicholas Hoult chase movie that landed with a thud. Will he be the writer to finally bring this long-awaited movie across the finish line?

Note: A previous version of this article mentioned another writer who was reportedly attached to write a draft of the screenplay last year, but that has been removed because that writer ultimately chose not to pursue the project.