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Commercial director Simon McQuoid will probably direct the next Mortal Kombat movie

Itobandito-RetrowareTVMortalKombatRetrospectiveSeason1Episode6541Kevin Tancharoen directed two feature-length webseries based on the Mortal Kombat saga for Warner Bros. (2011’s Mortal Kombat: Legacy and 2013’s Mortal Kombat: Legacy II), but the studio has also spent the last five years trying to produce a third theatrical adaptation of the fighting franchise. And after all that time, it looks like they may have finally found their director.

According to Variety, Simon McQuoid is in discussions to direct the next Mortal Kombat movie, with Saw‘s James Wan serving as a producer. Lawrence Kasanoff, one of the driving forces behind 1995’s Mortal Kombat and 1997’s Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (and the upcoming Tetris movie), has signed on as an Executive Producer. No actors are currently connected to the third Mortal Kombat film, but Warner Bros. confirmed the film’s script will be written by rookie screenwriter Greg Russo.

Even if you’re a serious film buff, McQuoid’s name is probably something of a question mark. Until now, the filmmaker has worked exclusively in advertising, though Variety notes that his commercials have won multiple awards including a Grand Clio, a D&AD Pencil, and a GRANDY Award.

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Nintendo is taking a Legend of Zelda Escape Room on tour in 2017

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It looks like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild won’t be the only new Hyrulian adventure that Nintendo has planned for 2017. The consolemaker has teamed up with Scrap, the winner of USA Today’s “Best Escape Room of 2016” award, to create a Zelda-themed live puzzle experience known as Defenders of the Triforce:

While the words “escape room” might come to mind when describing this new experience, Defenders of the Triforce is so much more than that. Instead of escaping from a locked room, participants work in teams of six to solve a mystery in a huge area, all within a set time limit. The experience will let guests interact with classic items and characters seen in The Legend of Zelda series like the Goron, Zora, and Kokiri tribes. Discovered items can be used to solve puzzles and move forward into other areas, just like in The Legend of Zelda games.

The Defenders of the Triforce Puzzle Tour is currently scheduled to hit eight cities next year, and tickets can be purchased at ScrapZelda.com:

Defenders of the Triforce Puzzle Tour

  • San Francisco: January 31 – February 5
  • Los Angeles: February 10-12
  • San Diego: February 24-25
  • Seattle: TBA
  • Phoenix: TBA
  • Houston: TBA
  • Chicago: TBA
  • New York: TBA

Hopefully, more dates will be added to the Defenders of the Triforce Puzzle Tour soon.

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The Uncharted movie will start filming in late Spring/early Summer 2017

uncharted drakes fortuneIt’s been a long journey for the Uncharted movie, but director Shawn Levy recently told Collider that filming will begin on the cinematic adaptation next year in the late Spring or early Summer. During a special IMAX screening of Real Steel, Levy’s 2011 robot boxing movie that starred Hugh Jackman, the director laid out his vision for the Uncharted film:

I’ve been interested in this project for years. I’ve played and loved every iteration of the game. I think it’s largely a popularly accepted notion that it’s as cinematic a game as we’ve had, maybe ever, certainly of late. And it’s cinematic in that it’s not only wildly visual, but it’s really rooted in character and a very specific tone and a sense of fun, right? When is the last great, fun, fucking action-dynamic, treasure-hunting movie? Right? It’s not Indiana Jones, it’s not National Treasure; it’s very specific, it’s all kind of anchored in Nathan’s tone.

So I’ve been interested in it, and I’ve just been quietly letting people know I’ve been interested in it, but other people have been involved, I’ve been busy, and a moment finally appeared recently where I was like, “Me! Okay, me!” Sony and the producers involved were like, “Yeah, that actually makes perfect sense.” I’m like, “Yeah! That’s what I’ve been saying for a little while.”

I am unabashedly thrilled to be making that next year.

Levy’s lengthy talk also touched on Joe Carnahan’s script (the A-Team director is still working on it), Indiana Jones versus Nathan Drake (Drake is “much grittier, more naturalistic, real-world, contemporary”), and which actors might be up for the role of Drake (“It’s every actor who is ruggedly handsome, which is to say every movie star, and who looks anything like the square-jawed, chiseled-featured Drake”).

The entire article is worth a read, but Levy isn’t the first director to take a crack at an Uncharted adaptation. Development on the film began in early 2008 and passed through multiple directors and writers (including David O. Russell, Neil Burger, and Seth Gordon) before landing on Levy last month.

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Gears of War movie adaptation announced on the eve of Gears of War 4’s launch

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Epic Games tried to bring a Gears of War movie to the big screen nearly a decade ago, but as things often do in Hollywood, things fell apart and the adaptation was ultimately canceled. But it looks like Microsoft wants to take another chainsaw stab at the idea…

Announced yesterday during a massive Gears livestream, The Coalition’s Rod Fergusson said that Microsoft is teaming up with Universal to distribute the film. Production will be handled by Scott Stuber and Dylan Clark of Bluegrass Films, who have previously worked on dozens of films including Ted and the upcoming Patriots Day.

While it was too early to speculate about who would play Marcus Fenix, Fergusson did say that the film won’t necessarily be based on the storyline from the games:

When you do a movie like this, you have to… realize that it’s a different medium with a different audience. I think if you were to go in and say, like, “OK, it’s got to be completely 100% faithful to the game canon,” or the story of the game, like, what’s going to end up happening is… it’s not going to be the best movie. The big thing we’re really trying to focus on is making the best Gears movie possible, as opposed to the one that’s the most closest to the game.

The developer later expanded on his plan to create a great movie that’s not wedded to the game’s plot in an interview with Variety:

“I think you have to let the movies be the movies,” Fergusson said. “They’re two different mediums, and two different audiences in some cases, and I think some video game movies in the past have failed because they tried to make a movie for gamers. If you have this great IP with a deep backstory and lots of lore that you can make interesting stories out of it’s great, but if you just go after the gaming audience then it isn’t going to be a successful movie.”

We don’t know when Gears of War will hit theaters, but Gears of War 4 will be available for the PC and Xbox One on October 11 (or four days earlier if you sprung for the Ultimate Edition).

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Jonathan Nolan also looked to Skyrim and the fact that “life is beginning to resemble a game” for Westworld

Jonathan Nolan, brother of Christopher and co-writer of The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, and Interstellar, has previously discussed how he used video games as an inspiration for HBO’s reboot of Westworld. Previously, Nolan cited Red Dead Redemption and BioShock as two games that helped shape his vision for Westworld. But speaking to Vice, the showrunner revealed he was also fascinated by the independent lives that Bethesda created for NPCs in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

I was fascinated by the concept of writing a story in which the protagonists’ actions aren’t part of the story. In games like The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption, or the sandbox games that BioWare make, morality is a variable. How do you write a story in which the hero’s moral component exists on a spectrum? That’s a fascinating challenge.

I’m also fascinated by how non-player-characters in video games have their own lives. In Skyrim, when you walk into a village, you aren’t necessarily the most important person there. The NPCs have lives that happen whether you’re there or not. I was listening to directors’ commentary from Ken Levine about building BioShock Infinite and the affection that game developers and designers develop for their characters. It’s a qualitatively different relationship than the one screenwriters have with their characters, because video game characters don’t just recite dialogue—they do shit, and the players interact with them.

Nolan expanded on this theme in a separate interview with IGN, where he said that “life [is] ever more beginning to resemble a game” and that some people have started to live their lives according to the rules of a fantasy universe:

For me, the jumping off point of starting with the Host… Everyone’s favorite party conversation brainteaser these days is “Are we living in a simulation?” I get tired of that question fairly easily because in a sufficiently robust simulation there’d be no way of answering of course. But the idea that our lives could be programmatic, that there could be rules at play that we’re not familiar with, that we don’t understand, is something I’ve long been fascinated by – and so is the idea of fate and the idea of an unseen hand that’s guiding events. Here, it’s a very literal thing.

Before we had children, I was a gamer back in the day, and I think that was the other aspect of what drew me to the original concept, was the idea of life ever more beginning to resemble a game. That with enough wealth and sufficient technological advancement that you could get to a point where you live, as a lot of people do, a significant portion of your life in a fantasy universe, whether it’s World of Warcraft or the new VR games that are just coming out.

You really dissolve into that experience and live your life inside – not a real world but a curated world. One that’s distinct from the real world because there’s intention there, there are rules. There is a narrative. Life, real life, resists narrative through lines. There aren’t hidden levels. There’s just f**king chaos. But in the game universe there are always deeper levels of meaning. So for us it was like a candy store. There were all these ideas that we wanted to play with in one series.

New episodes of Westworld will premiere every Sunday on HBO. Have you noticed the show’s parallels to video games? Let us know in the comments.

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J.J. Abrams confirms Portal and Half-Life films are still in development

Way back in 2013, film director J.J. Abrams and Valve CEO Gabe Newell told the world that movies based on Half-Life and Portal were in the works at Abrams’s Bat Robot Productions. Last night, during HBO’s gala premiere for the premiere episode of Westworld, Abrams reconfirmed that both adaptations are still on track.

Speaking to IGN, Abrams revealed that he actually has a meeting with Valve next week, and that he’s hoping to make an announcement concerning Portal “fairly soon.” While the cagey director wouldn’t elaborate further on the agenda for that meeting, he did say that they’re very close to finding a screenwriter:

“We are having some really interesting discussions with writers, many of whom…once you said you’re doing a movie or show about a specific thing that is a known quantity you start to find people who are rabid about these things. As someone who loves playing Half Life and Portal, what’s the movie of this, it’s incredible when you talk to someone who just ‘gets’ it, it’s like, oh my god, it’s really the seed for this incredible tree you’re growing.”

And in case you were wondering, Abrams had a hearty laugh at the mere mention of Half-Life 3. So… Half-Life 3 is probably going launch on May 7, 2017… because as we all know, that’s World Laughter Day.

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Developer Campo Santo will produce a Firewatch movie adaptation with Good Universe

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The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Campo Santo has teamed up with Good Universe, a film production company responsible for Neighbors, Don’t Breathe, and The Night Before, to create a film adaptation of Firewatch.

Released earlier this year for the PC and PS4 (and earlier this month for the Xbox One), Firewatch is a first-person exploration game that takes place in the Wyoming wilderness in the 1980s. Armed only with a two-way radio, players must solve a mystery involving “mysterious occurrences and a shadowy figure” with the help of Delilah, his supervisor.

“When we met Good Universe we were floored by how they recognize, cultivate and produce incredible stories. It’s rare you meet another group that shares so many of your values and makes the process of creating things even more exciting. We can’t wait to see what we make together,” said Sean Vanaman, Campo Santo’s founder.

Obviously, it’s still very early in the process, so it’s unknown when Firewatch’s film adaptation will be released.

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Max Brooks is writing an “Official” Minecraft novel for Mojang

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There are lots of novels based on Minecraft on the shelves at your local bookstore, but Mojang has announced they’ve partnered with Max Brooks to produce a series of official novels based on the blockbuster game.

Brooks is best known as the author of World War Z, an “Oral History of the Zombie War” that was recently adapted into a movie starring Brad Pitt. But Brooks is also the author of The Harlem Hellfighters (which features many of the same events and people as this Fall’s Battlefield 1) and The Zombie Survival Guide. He’s also the son of legendary parodist Mel Brooks and Oscar-winning actress Anne Bancroft.

The first novel will be titled Minecraft: The Island, and according to Mojang Blog, readers should expect “cuboid Robinson Crusoe, but madder: a hero stranded in an unfamiliar land, with unfamiliar rules, learning to survive against tremendous odds.”

“I’m very excited to be part of this new venture,” Brooks said. “Finally I can justify all those hours I’ve spent playing Minecraft.”

“From our first meeting with Max, we knew he would be a perfect fit for our first foray into novels based on Minecraft,” said Lydia Winters, the Brand Director at Mojang. “His enthusiasm and understanding of all things related to the game bring out the sense of wonder and possibility that so many players love about Minecraft… ourselves included.”

We don’t know when Minecraft: The Island will be released, but we do know it’ll be published by Del Rey Books.

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