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Writer of Traffic and Syriana to film The Division

The darkest of zones

“Do not march on Moscow,” said Field Marshal Montgomery, “and do not make a videogame movie.” Wise words that continue to be ignored by the titans of this ridiculous industry. Ubisoft, as you might have heard, aren’t marching on the Kremlin but they are making another videogame movie, this time based on Tom Clancy’s The Division [official site]. Today they announced that Stephen Gaghan, screenplay writer of Traffic and director-writer of Syriana, will be writing and directing this too.

“The game has been an enormous success," said Gaghan in a press release, "in large part due to the visual landscape they [Ubisoft] created, their vision of a mid-apocalyptic Manhattan. It’s immersive, wonderfully strange, and yet familiar, filled with possibilities."

Actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain are already on board to star in the crumbling apocalypse of New York City. Things they may do in the film include dying in the cold because their temperature meter dropped too low, or getting murdered by hackers in the Dark Zone as they try to extract loot.

Ubisoft are confident that hiring an Academy Award-winning director is a strong move. Previous acclaimed directors involved with videogame films include Duncan Jones of sci-fi hit Moon. He did Warcraft. Ubisoft themselves have made other movies based on their franchises, including Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which was badly received, and more recently, Assassin’s Creed starring Michael Fassbender, which was also badly received. Here’s a further list of movies based on videogames, all of which were badly received.

I'll wish some good luck to Mr Gaghan and co, because it would be nice to finally have a black swan to point at whenever videogame movies get mentioned. But I'll also say that I'm baffled by Ubi's insistence on chasing the Hollywood scene, after so many obvious failures. Hasn't anyone ever brought this up? I can think of at least one person at Ubisoft who can tell them the definition of insanity.

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