Activision plan for ‘many years’ of Call of Duty movies

Activision Blizzard Studios are planning for potentially years of Call of Duty movies, drawing inspiration from the interwoven Marvel Cinematic Universe. Activision reckon that Call of Duty could carry a series, jumping between the first-person shooter’s sub-brands for different perspectives on war. Chinny reckon.

The idea of shared universes is the current hotness in Hollywood, a trend soon to give us exhumations of Universal’s monster movies, endless indistinguishable Marvels, and more DC Comics duds. (At least we’ve narrowly missed crossovers between G.I. Joe and Transformers and Men in Black and 21 Jump Street.) Activision want in.

The co-presidents of Activision Blizzard Studios, Stacey Sher and Nick van Dyk, talked recently about their plans with the Guardian. They explained they’re looking to start on CoD with one movie, starting filming perhaps as early as 2018. Then, if that goes well, Sher says they “have plotted out many years” of CoD movies.

“We put together this group of writers to talk about where we were going. There’ll be a film that feels more like Black Ops, the story behind the story. The Modern Warfare series looks at what it’s like to fight a war with the eyes of the world on you. And then maybe something that is more of a hybrid, where you are looking at private, covert operations, while a public operation is going on.”

Van Dyk added that they want to emulate how Marvel has “these individual universes that interconnect and a timeline that makes sense with consistent themes and Easter eggs.”

Call of Duty has brand recognition, which is more than original scripts start with, but not much else. As much as I do enjoy the spectacle of Call of Duty singleplayer campaigns, beyond recalling a few exciting set pieces I couldn’t tell you what happens, why, or with whom. You’ve got Soap MacTavish and Johnny Tache, the one-armed man, Jon Snow, Kevin Spacey, something about Russia, that kid who cussed your dad out after noscoping you, moonmen, and an excess of jingoism suitable only for B movies or critical dissections. It’s all tosh, and not why CoD is fun.

Though Transformers 5 is out in June so, you know, building on only brand recognition and explosions clearly doesn’t mean a movie will be a commercial failure.

The interview also talks about considering a CoD TV series looking at different historical conflicts, as well as maybe something Overwatch-y and a spot of StarCraft. It even raises the idea of eventually raiding the Activision archives for vibrant nostalgic brands like Pitfall, so in comparison CoD sounds a cracking idea.

Go on, do it. I’ll watch it on Netflix. I’ve seen Hasbro’s Ouija movie and two whole Transformerses. I’ve watched a Transmorphers and all. I’ll see Call of Duty and then The Asylum’s inevitable Duty Calls. I’ll engage with every brand, just you see.

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36 Comments

  1. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    Chinny reckon!

    I haven’t heard that phrase in decades, you’ve made my day.

    • yer taffin me says:

      Cool, I never heard the phrase until now (possibly ‘cos I’m not that old) but I know who Jimmy Hill (and his chin) was. I’ve also heard of The Man With the Long Chin, and have noticed a certain similarity between Alice’s writing and Paul Rose’s (Mr Biffo’s) work. That’s ok though, since I don’t see it as deliberate plagiarism. More of a compliment or happy coincidence, really. Or maybe they just went to the same schools or grew up in the same area. Or maybe Alice murdered Rose (yesterday) or is his (current) wife. Who NOSE (knows?), cheers!

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      DuncUK says:

      If you listen to Shaun Keaveny’s BBC 6 Music breakfast show on weekdays, you’ll hear it almost every morning.

    • SableKeech says:

      “You see that bit of flob over there? That’s your swimming pool that is.”

  2. svge says:

    This is such a comically misguided idea. Try one movie… maybe. Perhaps even write it with the intention to begin a franchise but announcing your decision and the process behind it being “Oh hey those Marvel movies are making a crap tonne of money, how do we cut a slice of that? People like these interconnected movies eh? Well why not our interconnected movies too?” Jesus.

    • Ghostwise says:

      Maybe it’s the new “we’re making a MMO”.

      • P.Funk says:

        Now we just need studios to make interconnected strings of endlessly released MMOs, each of them nothing but a bare reskin of the previous one, all stealing their music from each other until production costs are nil and the gamers are properly pulped into a mass of disgruntled impulsive drones… oh… maybe that last bit is already covered.

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      DuncUK says:

      Also, realistically the first movie will be a dud and then they won’t make any more.

  3. Aetylus says:

    Extra Credits had some nice ideas about a year or so back on how to make a good CoD movie… link to youtube.com

  4. Micky Nozawa says:

    I cannot wait to see this…

    fail spectacularly.

  5. Darth Gangrel says:

    I often find that movies can be bad in ways that games never get away with, so hopefully this is either good or the good kind of bad.

    I haven’t played a single CoD and doubt I’ll ever watch a CoD movie at the cinema, because ticket prices are really expensive and never goes on sale (kind of like CoD, but even worse). If it never comes on TV, I probably won’t watch it.

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      Seyda Neen says:

      “I often find that movies can be bad in ways that games never get away with”

      In what ways?

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        Got kicked out last time I tried shooting in the Cinema. 1/10

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        I’m glad you asked. Mainly, it’s the length of a movie versus a game, but also the lack of interactivity that makes movies easier to enjoy than games. Pacing is controlled by the movie and just sitting there waiting for more interesting stuff to happen is less tedious than to continue gaming.

        With games, I want good controls, camera, non-annoying gameplay/mechanics/enemy encounters/other obstacles. Preferably good audio/level design as well. Bad (voice) acting is about the only area that I enjoy both in games and movies.

        A movie that is fast paced doesn’t allow me to get bored within its (usually quick) runtime. There are movies that are longer and feel longer, but I’m rarely bored enough to stop watching. Transformers still manages to be dull, because of the humans interfering and some non-action scenes feeling unnecessary. The Twilight movies and Green Lantern are the good kind of bad, because they’re so daft its laughable and thus enjoyable.

      • Kingseeker Camargo says:

        As with so many other things, Old Man Murray already made this point almost 20 years ago:

        Games, unlike movies, books, and many other forms of entertainment, cannot transcend a “bad scene.”

        In a movie, for instance, I can simply daydream about killing Salman Rushdie during any of the parts where Keanu Reeves is talking and then refocus my attention when the film starts up again.

        In a game, like Requiem, I have to stay alert and fully experience and navigate the inadequate parts, making bad design choices essentially unbearable.

  6. aircool says:

    Chinny reckon indeed! Beard on!

  7. Spuzzell says:

    I watched Battleship.

    They made a film of the board game Battleship, and then I watched it.

    Liam Neeson was in it. And Rihanna.

    None of these things should be true.

  8. Kingseeker Camargo says:

    They couldn’t sound more like your regular paint-by-numbers caricature of a soulless, greedy corporate ghoul salivating over the prospect of a pile of money if they put all their non-soul into the attempt.

    I wonder what a Christmas dinner is like with these types.

  9. CartonofMilk says:

    You know what game would make a good movie?

    None.

    I dont know why they keep insisting. As far as i know the only very profitable VG to film adaptation has been the Resident Evil series and yet the movies have pretty much nothing to do with the games. Not in mood or presentation. So wtf? I think it was just lucky to come out when the zombies craze started. They’re still terrible.

    • kud13 says:

      l think legacy of Kain series could make an ok movie. I mean, after the first Soul Reader the series is basically a drawn out cuts energy punctuated by corridor gameplay bits, that would work as action bits in a movie.

      Only, you know, make it an animated CGI movie, and keep the original voice acting.

    • skeletortoise says:

      I’ve been thinking about it lately, and I think the problem is that they’re simply doing it backwards. If it starts as a movie, it may well be fertile ground for a game. But no transition to movie from just games goes well. Best case scenario, it bears little enough relation to the game that it may as well not be related. Worst case scenario, “Cool, someone took my favorite game and removed all the non-cutscene parts!”

    • ansionnach says:

      Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis would make a much better film than Crystal Skull. It may even be the best Indy yarn out there.

      I think Prince of Persia grossed more than any Resident Evil but then it cost a lot more. Perhaps this kind of project needs a low budget? Prince of Persia is probably the best game-to-film adaptation I’ve seen and it’s nothing more than big dumb fun.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        For me “the best game-to-film adaptation I’ve seen” and “big dumb fun” is the Warcraft movie. Really entertaining(-ly bad).

        • ansionnach says:

          Haven’t seen that one. Wouldn’t have watched PoP either other than it was the least worst option on a flight. Maybe I’d like Mario Brothers – who knows? Life’s too short to find out the answer to everything!

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          MajorLag says:

          I actually didn’t think Warcraft was as bad as people seem to think it is, but I never really played Warcraft and know absolutely nothing about the lore, so that might have helped.

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      Don Reba says:

      Steins;Gate got a brilliant anime made after it.

    • P.Funk says:

      “You know what game would make a good movie?”

      Grim Fandango, obviously.

  10. Barberetti says:

    Can’t wait to see the hero get shot then stand behind a tree for 3 seconds and be fully healed.

    They should make the films interactive. 20 minutes in and Sergeant Shoutface turns to the audience and yells “QUICK, DO WE HEAD FOR THAT BUILDING THAT LOOKS AS THOUGH WAVES OF ZOMBIES WILL ATTACK AS SOON AS WE ENTER, OR JUMP INTO THE BACK OF THAT VEHICLE AND SHOOT DOWN 50 AIRCRAFT WHILST I DRIVE LIKE AN IDIOT!? HURRY OR WE’LL BE WIPED OUT!”

    Then the film pauses while the audience pull out their phones and vote on the scenario they want to see.

    The bonus with this approach will be that the films will be just as interactive as the games.

  11. skeletortoise says:

    The games and movie industry may try their best separately, but it’s only when they work together that they achieve their true potential for embarrassing themselves.

    Also, I have it on good authority that the GI Joe + Transformers comics are excellent. Though I guess a movie would be ruined by Michael Bay.

  12. ansionnach says:

    Is Terrence Malick attached to direct?

  13. P.Funk says:

    This is exactly what this culture needs, more jingoistic militarism as culture doing double duty as craven soulless consumerism.

    I’ve already seen enough Zero Dark Thirty and Act of Valor to know anything that’s worse than that, and game movies are always worse, will only rot young brains with disgusting pro western policy war porn heroism and insult us by having a group of actors we used to respect getting paid to front it. The only good news is that Matt Damon might be enough of an indignant crypto to actually pass on it despite being featured in everything else these days.

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    jssebastian says:

    I get it that the marvel universe is the new way to print money in the movie biz so everyone wants to ape that, but really is somebody dumb enough to fund this? This will fail spectacularly, if it ever gets off the ground.

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