A golden age of comic book movies may be dominating Hollywood right now, but over the past few years there have also been signs of an effort to turn around the thus-far lackluster genre of video game-turned film adaptations. Major developer and publisher Ubisoft has set up its own film studio, Ubisoft Motion Pictures, and has multiple adaptations of major franchises in development; there have also recently been rumor-mongering that Activision-Blizzard is interested in following suit.
One company that already straddles the border between video games and movies is Sony, and an adaptation of classic PlayStation 2-era game Shadow of the Colossus has been in development at Sony Pictures for years. Highly praised for its outstanding art direction and simple but effective story, Shadow of the Colossus is about a young man called Wander who appeals to a mysterious and powerful entity to restore the life of a girl called Mono. The entity demands that Wander first slay sixteen colossi – enormous, ancient beings that dwell in different corners of a forbidden land – and the game is based around these sixteen battles.
Chronicle director Josh Trank has been attached to Shadow of the Colossus since 2012, but things have been extremely quiet on the news front lately. This isn’t exactly surprising, since Trank only recently finished filming the Fantastic Four reboot and will soon be moving on to one of Disney’s planned Star Wars spinoff movies. Whether Trank has lost interest in Shadow of the Colossus or whether his full schedule is simple making it impossible to commit to it is unclear, but THR reports that Sony has now moved on – and has tapped Andres Muschietti (Mama) to direct the adaptation.
Hanna screenwriter Seth Lochhead, who joined the project last summer, is still attached and is now writing the screenplay with Muschietti supervising. Another mainstay throughout the film’s development thus far is producer Kevin Misher, who is backing the film under his Misher Films banner. Misher’s previous credits include It’s Kind of a Funny Story and The Scorpion King, while Muschietti is coming off his feature directorial debut with Mama (after first directing a short film of the same name).
As with any video game adaptation, there are going to be challenges when it comes to turning Shadow of the Colossus into a film. The game’s narrative is very simple with minimal dialogue, and the simplicity of the story is arguably what helped to make the game such a powerful experience. It wouldn’t be surprising if the film adaptation ends up having a hefty dose of extra plot added in.
With the right writer and director a Shadow of the Colossus movie could definitely make for great cinema, but are Lochhead and Muschietti the creative team needed to make it work? Moreover, when will Shadow of the Colossus manage to drag itself out of development hell and onto the big screen? Only time will tell for certain…
We’ll keep you updated on Shadow of the Colossus as development continues.