Videogame adaptations have been historically crap, but all that looks set to change if Assassin's Creed becomes the beacon we hope it'll be.
The gaming franchise, which has been going since 2007, has now had nine videogames since then and become a international bestseller for Ubisoft, the studio behind it. Using an 'Animus' to access genetic information, the player - though set in our time - travels through ancient Arabia all the way up to colonial America through this device.
It's a bit complicated and, to be quite honest, doesn't easily lend itself to a film adaptation. Yet, Ubisoft are supremely confident they can pull it off. In a recent interview, Ubisoft's CEO Jean-Julien Barrett discussed both how the film is being financed and how they managed to snag Michael Fassbender as both an actor an exec-producer, stating that he "accepted very quickly."
"And it was the only actor which we thought was obvious. So we started with the actor, which is incongruous. Even more incongruous, he engaged us with nothing. There was no script, no studio or anything. We told him we were going to build the project together, we have a huge brand and we want to make a make a film with references to feature films like Batman Begins and Blade Runner."
That's setting a pretty high bar for a film based on a videogame, but if any director's capable of doing it, it's Justin Kurzel. Fassbender pushed for Kurzel on the strength of working together on Macbeth, the latest and super-violent adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy.
Barrett and, by extension, Fassbender have said that they're in complete control of the project and are moving a snail's pace because it suits them. Although Brendan Gleeson and Jeremy Irons were announced as joining the cast some time ago, there's been little in the way of news from the set since - even though the film's production has been underway for a month now.
"Our approach is to remain in control of the development, so to finance it 100%. We choose writers who are not necessarily stars but people who have understood the universe. And as long as the script is not level, it will not launch."
As for those writers, Ubisoft hired Michael Lesslie, who also worked on Macbeth, and Adam Cooper & Bill Collage to write the script. Cooper & Collage previously worked on Exodus: Gods And Kings and Tower Heist.
The level of creative control that's been given to Fassbender really is unprecedented. The nearest comparison would be something like Robert Downey Jr. and Marvel. Like that arrangement, both Downey Jr. and Fassbender are in it for the long haul. The question remains - will it all work?