Video game film adaptions are the definition of hit or miss. For every Resident Evil, you’ll have a number of Super Mario Brothers, Max Payne, Need for Speed or any one directed by Uwe Boll that die a quick and painful death in the theaters. But shared universes are all the rage, and Activision Blizzard believes that’s the way to success for film based on its Call of Duty franchise.
The Guardian reports that the studio will be developing a “multi-layered, interconnected” approach to bringing the popular video game to the big screen. Marvel’s shared universe is the template the company will be using, with multiple films being developed based on all the various incarnations of the game.
The game franchise began in 2003 with a “first-person shooter” game called simply Call of Duty. The franchise released 12 more unique installments over the next 13 years, evolving in gameplay, setting and story content over the years. The various twist and turns the games took over the years can give us an idea of what the film franchise would look like.
The installments breakdown as follows:
- Call of Duty (2003), Call of Duty 2 (2005), Call of Duty 3 (2006) and Call of Duty World at War (2008) were all set during World War II. The first three were more simplistic war games, with the latter being a more mature game that set the stage for its “Black Ops” off-shoot.
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009), and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011) move the action to the modern day and deal with the repercussions of a fictional Russian civil war.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010) is set in the 1960s in the run-up to and the fight in the Vietnam War, Call of Duty: Black Ops II (2012) takes place during the Cold War of the 1980s and a new one in the 2020’s, and Call of Duty: Black Ops III (2015) advances the plot further into the future, to the 2060s. All in the series place more of a emphasis on covert military operations.
- Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013) deals with an alternate Earth where the Middle East is destroyed in a nuclear holocaust and the oil-producing lands in South America become a new world power.
- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014) is also set in the future and deals with a corrupt military weapons supplier (portrayed in the game by Kevin Spacey) who flames global conflict to improve business and create anarchy.
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (2016) moves the franchise into the far future and space as it deals with battles between a global organization devoted to space colonization called United Nations Space Alliance and a group rebelling against it called the Settlement Defense Front.
- In addition, many of the games had special content where players could face off against zombies, so that is a road they can go down if they choose.
Activison Blizzard Studios is being led by two Hollywood veterans, Stacy Sher, who has produced a number of film for Quentin Tarantino, and Nick van Dyk, who was a senior executive at Disney. The pair states than they have already been taking in multiple scripts for burgeoning franchise, with the first installment possibly arriving as soon as 2018.
On the surface, even though the games shared a number of characters through out its branches, it seems like it would be hard to unite all the different games into a coherent movie universe.
More on this as it develops.