Games News

A Call of Duty 'cinematic universe' is in the works

Activision
A soldier looking at a burning and dusty site in Call of Duty
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

One of the most 'cinematic' AAA games of all time is finally heading to actual cinemas. Activision Blizzard aims to slide their fingers into some sweet profit pots in a manner similar to Disney's Marvel movies.

The Call of Duty series started out by imitating the then amazingly popular TV show Band of Brothers, with its themes and general aesthetic, plus some id Tech 3 shootyness added to the mix. Things are coming full circle now as Activision Blizzard has announced that its in-house movie studio will be embarking on a copycat adventure, trying to mirror the success of Disney-Marvel's cinematic universe.

Call of Duty's singleplayer gameplay experience was always a heavily scripted affair, up to the point where a lot of people started calling them corridor shooters, so the transition from mildly interactive video games to entirely uninteractive movies as a medium seems like a logical step. 

GuardianActivision Blizzard Studios co-presidents - Stacey Sher and Nick van DykActivision Blizzard Studios co-presidents - Stacey Sher and Nick van Dyk

The two big names behing the project, Stacey Sher and Nick van Dyk, have a lot of successful movies behind them, even being partially responsible for inventing Disney's multi-movie production techniques. Whether they will sucseed in turning video game franchises into successful movies, a feat in the face of which everyone else failed is anyones best guess at this point. The recent Warcraft movie is a good example, despite being universally frowned upon by critics, it made a lot of money, but experienced nowhere near the massive returns of the Marvel movies.

“It’s going to have the same sort of high-adrenaline, high-energy aesthetic as the game, but it’s not a literal adaptation. It’s a much more broad and inclusive, global in scope ... a big, tentpole Marvel-esque movie." Van Dyk told The Guardian in a recent interview. Let me translate that for you real quick - "We will be using and focusing on the exact same bluishness model and production approach as the marvel movies, but will slap a Call of Duty logo on the posters and everywhere we can possibly fit one in." Now all the franchise needs to be make money is Michael Bay in the director's seat, famous for his military fetish and tendency to show a lot of exploding cities on the big screen, same as the Marvel movies.

BloodyDisgustingA soldier looking at a burning and dusty site in Call of Duty Michael Bay - "... and then, EVERYTHING EXPLODES!!!!"

I sincerely hope this will funnel some of Activision's "scripted" game production approach into the Call of Duty movies and away from the games - but the way I understand shareholder thought patterns, if the movies do well, it will most likely have the opposite effect.