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Goddammit Leroy: Warcraft Film Lands Director

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trade News | January 31, 2013 | Comments ()


wow-pandaria.jpg

I have played a decent amount of video games in my life, but I'm a single player snob. I have found little to interest me in the world of multiplayer games. That's almost entirely because I want story, end stop. A game that isn't driven by story is to me just an elaborate game of minesweeper. But it's also because multiplayer games involve socially interacting with other people. If I wanted social interaction, I wouldn't be wearing my fancy sweat pants now would I? Those are saved for me and my pixels.

So I can feel the indifference pounding through my veins over the rumors of a Warcraft movie that have been circling for the last few years, including the attachment of Sam Raimi to said film until he dropped out to do that whole Evil Dead thing. Yesterday it was announced that Duncan Jones will be directing the film, which is now slated for a 2015 release. Jones has some genre credibility after Source Code, so there just has to be something better than this for him to be doing.

Uwe Boll, the man singlehandedly responsible for setting back to goal of a good video game movie by a quarter century, started expressing his interest in being involved (I assume by some sort ritualistic use of urine) a few years ago. To Blizzard's credit, and probably because they have more money than any movie studio anyway, they released an official statement saying "We will not sell the movie rights, not to you... not ever to you." And that makes me love them a little more.

There is absolutely no word yet on what the actual plot of the film will be, though I assume it involves orcs, magic, and battles. So, they're going to owe Peter Jackson some residuals.

Look, there's no reason that there can't be a great video game movie, anymore than there couldn't be a great comic book movie. But great movies require great stories, and so there will never be a great video game movie until the games with actual stories start being adapted.

Here an early sneak peak of the trailer:



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Legion

    The past 2 Cinematics for WOW, Cataclysm and Mists of Panderia, have been utter crap. Who is the director on those? I mean honestly Blizzard needs to cut that B movie director loose.

    I'm so glad Blizzar has no say with Duncan Jones and this film.

  • AsdffAnon

    I wish Duncan Jones the best. I think hes got real potential.

  • Ben

    Seriously if you don't think there is story in warcraft go play Warcraft 3, single player story driven stratagey game. With some of the best writing/characters in any game I've played.

  • googergieger

    So my friends have a new thing to talk about besides World of Warcraft?! I mean World of Warcraft movie isn't an entirely new subject, but you take what you can get.

  • Tinkerville

    Leeroy Jenkins will never ever get old.

  • Casper

    I've never been a huge fan of multiplayer games either-- not online at least. Give me a couch full of friends and a hockey game where I can make Wayne Gretzky's head bleed and I'm in.
    But if I'm going to be home alone in my ratty sweats (fancy sweats are for trips to the mailbox!), I'd much rather dive into a single player game where I can lose myself in the story-- I'm not playing to master button combos or prove I'm a great sniper, but to be immersed in a world that gives me a break from the real one for a few hours, the same way reading a good book or watching a good movie/TV show will do.
    Those of you pointing out that multiplayer games can be story driven are absolutely right. But for me, they're never completely immersive. If I'm playing with somebody in the same room, we're probably also chatting a little bit, catching up on life. If I'm playing online, there's a part of me busy wondering who the other person really is.
    But if the lights are down and it's just me and my character, the best games allow me to get totally lost in another world, and I come up for air a few hours later, refreshed and ready for this world again.
    As far as Duncan Jones directing a "World of Warcraft" movie, I'm all for it. Never played the game, but I am 100% behind any project that has a chance to be the one that finally proves that video game adaptations can be good.
    Plus, on "Source Code," DJ worked with Jake Gyllenhaal, the Prince of Persia himself. Maybe Gyllenhaal can play whatever Warcraft's version of a Middle-Easterner is. Star power!

  • AudioSuede

    First thing I think of when I hear "Duncan Jones" isn't Source Code. First is Moon. Second is Bowie's kid. Then I think of his weird little pixely Twitter avatar. And then, maybe when I'm bored and I've been thinking about Duncan Jones for a while, I might think of Source Code.

  • Dragonchild

    "I have found little to interest me in the world of multiplayer games.
    That’s almost entirely because I want story, end stop. A game that isn’t
    driven by story is to me just an elaborate game of minesweeper."

    Get out of my head!

  • Ley

    I find the story of Starcraft more compelling than Warcraft's (though it's also pretty good), and I think it would be amazing to see Starcraft on the big screen.

  • Guest

    Blizzard's response to UB is golden. That company just keeps winning.

  • idiosynchronic

    Po?

  • Marc

    The Warcraft storyline is for the most part bog-standard fantasy cruft, but it's bog-standard fantasy cruft with enough compelling characters and situations that have arisen through four games and twenty years that if the stars aligned right, someone could hammer a pretty crackin' movie out of it. I'm not holding my breath or anything, but Duncan Jones makes me happy.

  • Monica

    I feel like there's actually SO (maybe too much) story they could use for the movie. The Arthas storyline I think would be pretty easy and probably my favorite. I think what will end up being disappointing to people/players is if they leave anything out. But I've always enjoyed Blizzard's 'cinematics' with each new expansion, so that leaves me slightly more hopeful.

    I feel that since that players have the option of playing WoW as role-playing instead of just pvp, there is a story-driven element to how both the game was designed and is approached by some players. I'm sure many multiplayers are similiar, I'm just not familiar with them.

  • Quatermain

    I can almost smell the oncoming storm of sweet, sweet, neckbearded nerd rage gathering out there on the Internet This is going to be more entertaining than when the news broke that they were making 'Lord of the Rings' into a movie. Hell, this might even be more entertaining than 'Disney buys Marvel.'

  • Natasha @ KGG

    If you honestly say that multiplayer games aren't driven by story, then you're highly misguided.

  • I really struggled with how exactly to word this, because I really felt like I was sounding like Ebert saying that video games can't be art. I can only speak in anecdotal terms: multiplayer games have never pulled me in the way that singleplayer ones do. But this also means that at this point, I never play multiplayer games. So it's a vicious circle. So to head off the flame war, if I'm wrong, please tell me why this movie could be great. Because, honestly, I would be thrilled if it was, and would be excited to try the game in question.

  • James

    A common theme in Warcraft is corruption. There are two intergalactic forces the Titans and The Old Gods (pure Cthulu style eldritch abominations). Titans try and create order while the Old Gods destroy order through corrupting the Titan's creations.

    I'll just do a quick overarching story of the last expansion which is onsidered the worst in terms of gameplay and design, most of the backstory is alluded to or explained in game or in official outside of game material. The head of the Black dragonflight returned to Azeroth after years in exile. He has allied himself with the mortal servents of the Old Gods, the Twilight Hammer, and some of the rulers of the Elemental Planes in an effort to scour all life on the planet and usher in The Hour of Twilight. Through out the questing experience you work with the Druids to push back Ragnaro the Fire Lord's attempt to destroy the world tree, ally yourself with the Earth Elemental Queen to push back the Twilight's Hammer from that realm, discover an ancient race of titan creations tasked with guarding the method to destroy the planet (a nod to a huge storyline from the previous expansion) and bring in to the Horde or Alliance long lost allies while fighting to the very heart of the Twilight Hammer stronghold.

    Once you get into raiding you fight the leader of the Twilight's Hammer and Deathwing's son to end their plans and weaken the enemy. You go to the plane of fire to finally stop Ragnaros the Fire Lord in his realm and finally kill him. Ultimately you confront Deathwing himself to prevent the Hour of Twilight. Mixed in with this is the history of the Dragonflights and what their purpose was, endowed with the power to prevent the Hour of Twilight by the Titans, their duty done they give up their immortality and pass on the responsibility to protect the planet and life to the heroes who have proved their worth.

    That's the over arching story. There are numerous quest chains that tell compelling stories. My favorite is the Rhea chain. A red dragon charged with investigating the corruption of the black dragonflight is one of the more emotional quest chains they've made for the simple reason that the quest reward at the end leaves you as the trusted guardian to her only surviving offspring.

  • Jezzer

    Warcraft didn't start out as an MMO. It started out as a series of strategic games that were VERY story-driven, so when WoW made its debut, there was already a very in-depth game history and story in place, which the MMO and its expansions all built upon.

  • Mr_Zito

    Was gonna say that. From what I remember there was a lot of story in the old games, with orcs coming from another dimension or something like that, so there is a lot of epic LOTR-like story to work on. But I still don't see the point of doing that.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Well, supposedly, Star Wars: The Old Republic is very story driven, and can be played alone up to a certain point.

    But every other MMorpuger I have tried only has the flimsiest excuse for a story in-game. The only reason to do something in them is grinding for XP and loot.

  • jaclynhyde

    As someone who was never interested in MMOs because I love story, I fell in love with SWTOR. There's definitely some filler quests in there (deliver 20 bantha asses), but there are eight distinct storylines that play like a single-player game, including companions that join your party and that you can romance. If you want, you don't ever have to play with anyone else--none of the group-oriented quests are part of the storyline and none are necessary to progress. The Imperial Agent storyline in particular holds up next to the storyline of any other Bioware game.

  • foolsage

    SWTOR is indeed fairly story-driven, as is The Secret World and LotRO. Most other MMOs have considerably less emphasis on story. It's there, sure, and you can often seek it out and learn more about it if you like, but the story doesn't strongly impact on the day to day play of most players in most MMOs.

    WoW has a moderate amount of backstory but it really isn't central to gameplay. You don't actually need to know anything about what's going on because objectives are mapped out for you. Some players do get into the backstory there but that's absolutely the exception and not the rule.

    Story isn't dependent on playing alone though, which you seemed to imply. It's quite possible for multiplayer games to have strong stories, and it's even possible for the storyline to be central to gameplay, as I noted above. It's just rare.

  • James

    It is more that multiplayer games have such a wide base that they make it so there's as much story as you want to get out of it.

    Strict raider? Power through dungeons to level cap. Like questing? Quest through the zones and see what little storylines you can pick up. Like exploration? The newest WoW expansion has tons of hidden things to seek out and find.

  • Guest

    Is this like my fish-eggplant-tofu thing, wherein for many years I misguidedly thought they all sucked because I never had any of these foods prepared properly, and when I finally had fresh fish, soft eggplant, and decent bean curd, I saw the light?

  • [tries deep frying WoW disc, breaks tooth]. Well it might be a similar problem, but it definitely doesn't have an identical solution.

  • Guest

    Quite right.

  • Jennifer Schmennifer

    Not to say that this will definitely be a great movie, but Warcraft is driven by multiple stories as well as history among and between the different races. There are stories galore, and you don't even have to be involved in all of them to appreciate the game. Compared to console RPGs, you have so many more options in terms of which path to follow. But I really doubt that, just because Warcraft isn't linear, the movie will lack cohesion. If the filmmakers have an ounce of sense, they're going to go with a single story that's layered by the history and relationships in the game. I can't see them picking a story that's already played out in quests though. It'll probably be something that they can piggyback off of for new quests.

  • Dragonchild

    Yes but at the end of the day, the stories. don't. matter. I can't suspend the disbelief that this is just a sustained program running on a bunch of servers generating money. I'm only one participant in a massive social activity. If I die, I just re-spawn. Bosses sit in their lairs until challenged. Any quest I do is accessible to anyone else, so everything happens in a bubble. There is nothing ever at stake.

    To be fair, I'm not too drawn to single-player games where "things happen". Linearity is fine, but if this is a story, it should be about the protagonist's actions. "New school" games often don't reel me in because I never feel like anything matters.

    In single-player games like Chrono Trigger or Dragon Quest IV, wow. . . that's how it's done. DQ4 is much more linear, but in both cases the actions make TANGIBLE, PERMANENT changes to the landscape. So even if this is just a program, you really get the feeling that your action, your story, matters. You can restore a forest (Robo in CT), or repair a bridge connecting two kingdoms (Torneko in DQ4). In a MMORPG, that bridge will either always be there, or never be there, or maybe added by a dev team or at most be tied to some quest that anyone else can do. In the end, whether or not the bridge is there FOR EVERYONE ELSE isn't really up to you. Maybe some people can convince themselves that they're THE heroes that'll get that bridge fixed, but I can't do it.

  • James

    Multiple new technologies have been put in place where your in game actions do have tangible permanent changes to the game world.

    But guess what.

    People didn't like it because friends and other players who weren't at your level of progression couldn't play with you. So they scaled that back down to only major events changing the world.

  • Jennifer Schmennifer

    Thanks for the Chrono Trigger memories! There was a time when I wanted to marry Squaresoft... I have to say though that, like you can't convince yourself that you're the hero in Warcraft, I couldn't convince myself that anything I did mattered in any of the old school RPGs. The story was always going to go the limited path it was programmed to go, and end in one of the few ways it was programmed to end. Not that it affected my enjoyment; it was like reading a good book. But I really was just concerned with whether or not I was going to die, and that's about it. Warcraft also has its limitations, but there are many more possibilities. Still, I have to admit that I enjoyed those old RPGs much more than I've enjoyed WoW, and most of that has to do with the belief that hell is other people.

    This, of course, doesn't have bearing on whether or not the stories (and history) of Warcraft can provide an interesting enough base for a movie. I thought the movie "Clue" was pretty entertaining, and they had so much less to work with.

  • Guest

    Just the expansiveness of the WoW universe, which is so far unmatched, is .... there are no words. Fond fond memories. Movie will no doubt suck, as most video game films do, but WoW4ever.

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