We Happy Few is getting a movie adaptation

Pill-popping survival game We Happy Few [official site] is getting adapted for the big screen, reports Variety, in further proof that the film industry has not abandoned their ill-fated quest for a good videogame movie. Producers dj2 are working on the project, a company who’ve got their fingers in many similar pies, including a TV series based on Life Is Strange and films for Sleeping Dogs and Sonic the Hedgehog. Definitely chasing that dream, then.

There aren’t many other details, apart from that Gold Circle Films is also involved – the crowd who produced the Pitch Perfect movies – and that they are currently “seeking writers”.

On paper the dystopian survivalism of We Happy Few feels suited to the big screen, with all its creepy masks and distinct visual style. It might actually work better this way, as both Alec and Adam found the setting interesting but the necessity to eat food every five minutes, as per the rules of survival games, rather drab and repetitive. Here’s what Alec had to say about its many influences.

BioShock, Dishonored, Minecraft, STALKER, Brazil, The Prisoner, 1984. Fine touchstones, thematically speaking, and combined into a half-bleak, half-lurid world of danger and oppression. What a wonderful, darkly beautiful setting – and then of course it goes and gets a crafting game nailed onto it.

So maybe without that crafting game, the story can be set free. Whatever the case, no amount of unenthusiastic reviews seem to be deterring the film industry from trying to make history with a good videogame adaptation. Footage of previous Hollywood executives succumbing to the allure of this promise can be seen here.

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23 Comments

  1. keefybabe says:

    They should make a film of Stalker, then it can be a film of a game of a film of a book.

  2. Shinard says:

    Great and all, but Sleeping Dogs movie! Now that’s a game that could make a great, if unoriginal film.

    • Josh W says:

      Or a miniseries, with a broad supporting cast, and long, well written conversations on car journeys with awkward silences at the end.

      • Shinard says:

        I do think Sleeping Dogs would make an awesome TV miniseries. A lot of the best narrative beats in the game are about the conflict of Wei, his internal turmoil as he falls deeper into the world of HK crime and gradually realises how ruthless the police can be. The impact tends to be diluted in the game though – it’s hard to sympathise with Wei’s PTSD after shooting a guy when every other mission from then on involves shooting a small army. And it is clearly an unfinished game, which leads to great ideas being forgotten right after the scene’s finished – like when his supervisor makes him complicit in framing a small time gangster for murder, and that’s never really brought up again until the end. A TV series allowing the characters to properly develop and avoiding the ludonarrative dissonance (I know, I know) could be amazing.

    • Janichsan says:

      Coming 2018 with Donnie Yen. link to imdb.com

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      goodpoints says:

      But…why? There’s plenty of great HK crime films and Sleeping Dogs is pretty much a love letter to HK crime films. While I applaud the amount of on-site research and consulting they did, most of the devs (esp. the writers) weren’t from HK. It’s a superficially superb visual miniaturization of HK, but it feels quite hollow. Just watch some movies like Election(!!), A Better Tomorrow, The Mission, Internal Affairs, and Made in Hong Kong.

      • Shinard says:

        An unoriginal film can still be good, if not a masterpiece, and I just want to see one good video game adaptation. And thanks for the recommendations, I’ll check them out.

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        Waltorious says:

        I believe you meant Infernal Affairs, which is excellent (was later remade in American as The Departed). I can confirm that Election and A Better Tomorrow are fantastic. Haven’t seen the others, I’ll check them out!

      • Kushiel says:

        Exiled is another Johnnie To film worth checking out. It’s got a much lighter tone than his serious Triad stuff, and as a result, works really well as a companion piece. It’s also quite a bit more action-focused, going for more of an early John Woo vibe than the other To films I’ve seen.

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          Waltorious says:

          Yeah, Exiled is cool. It’s sort of like a Hong Kong Triad Western.

  3. phreddo says:

    Wow, for an Early Access game? Does that mean the movie will be incomplete when it premiers?

    • tomimt says:

      If you buy an early access movie ticket you can see an updated version of the movie a couple of times a year until it’s done.

      • gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

        I forgot I’d bought this game. And I wonder when it will be playable end-to-end with the story. And then I figure never.

  4. Shazbut says:

    The world needs you once again, Uwe Boll

  5. Cvnk says:

    Someone call Terry Gilliam.

    Wait, don’t. I don’t think I want his name associated with a video game movie.

  6. skeletortoise says:

    This seems… baffling. It seems to me the primary reason these adaptations get made is to capitalize on the fan base or hype surrounding the game(s) in the hopes of making a more popular movie. I’m sure this game does all right, but I’ve honestly seen nothing to indicate this game has that sort of following at all. Minimal coverage on RPS and a few other game sites, but I don’t think I’ve seen/heard a single person outside of the games industry say a word about it. Without that benefit it seems to me the game association could only serve to drag it down at worst, do nothing for it at best.

    • brucethemoose says:

      Games already have a developed visual style and plot. Unlike a making something from scratch, you get a good idea if it works or not. In other words, the game is like an early test of some of the movie’s elements.

      Still… I agree. Maybe someone at the studio has a love of games or something. They would have to to pick an EA title like that out of the blue.

    • manny says:

      Actually this game has “we made this game so we could get a movie made from it’ written all over it. This makes alot of sense, since indie games are mostly unprofitable. But as an immersive medium games remain unmatched, able to portray a world digitally that could never be done in a film short. So one way that indie games can now operate is attempt to get a film made on a game. This would also help lift the video game movie curse, where all movies based on games have sucked the exception being mortal kombat and arguably silent hill. (resident evil departed too much from source material.

  7. Seafoam says:

    Maybe this might work, because the story is the only interesting thing about the game.
    But why not make your own brave-new-world 1984 dystopia huh? I mean like this just seems unnecessary and reduntant.

  8. FrumiousBandersnatch says:

    What i really would like to watch is a series of movies based on Kentucky Route Zero. But they would need to be as arthouse/niche as the game itself, instead of being made in the „hollywood“ style the dj2 projects seem to bo going for.

    • Seafoam says:

      Well yeah there’s your problem.
      If it should be creative and arthouse then it doesn’t make much sense for it to be a videogame adaptation, that constricts creativity, or the makers are given free reign and the result is something as different from the source like the super mario bros movie.

    • poliovaccine says:

      Just watch some David Lynch, since he’s so clearly an inspiration. Dig his animated shorts for some truly proto-KR0 white and black line drawings…