Oscar Isaac is the latest A-lister to take the video game challenge and try to make a video game adaptation that doesn’t suck. Slowly but surely, Hollywood seems to be figuring video games out—Tomb Raider didn’t completely suck—but they still remain tougher to adapt than you’d expect, given their shared cinematic DNA with movies. Mostly, the challenge is in game lore, which can be dense and difficult to distill, and also the basic question of whether or not gamers are even into movie adaptations, given that triple-A video games usually come with extensive, cinematic cut scenes already, but then you get to control the action via gameplay. A movie is actually a step back from that perspective. Still, video games are hugely profitable IP and Hollywood is all about that sweet, sweet IP, so they will keep adapting games no matter what.
The latest game to get a script treatment is Metal Gear Solid, Konami’s popular war game. Isaac is in talks to play the lead, Solid Snake, and Jordan Vogt-Roberts will direct, with the production falling under the banner of IP-starved Sony (as far as franchises go, they only have Spider-Man). Metal Gear must be a particularly attractive proposition, even with the video game curse, because of all the spin-offs and sequels in the game franchise. It’s not unlike a comic book movie in that way, it comes with a bunch of characters and story possibilities built in. It also might be easier than the normal game to adapt, because, and I know Metal Gear fans will jump down my throat for this but search your heart and you will know it to be true, without the gameplay element, Metal Gear is basically just a Tom Clancy story with more robotics.
It’s basically an alternate history where a covert paramilitary group helped end World War II, and the Cold War stretched on longer than it did in the real world, and there is more advanced AI than we have today. I see the possibilities for a movie, I just continue to wonder if gamers even really WANT these adaptations, given that they cannot play them. Would they rather just have Oscar Isaac “star” in a Metal Gear game, the way Keanu Reeves is starring in Cyberpunk 2077? Also, I have a lot of questions about WHEN Isaac is going to make this movie. This dude is BUSY. He’s attached to Marvel’s Moon Knight series, he’s got that depressing marriage drama—which now stars Jessica Chastain, instead of Michelle Williams—there’s that movie with Jake Gyllenhaal about the making of The Godfather, and there’s an adaptation of Brian K. Vaughn’s Ex Machina comic in the works (not to be confused with Ex Machina, the Alicia Vikander film in which Isaac co-stars). Oscar Isaac is BUSY. But sure, make room for Metal Gear Solid because once Hollywood cracks the code on adapting video games, these will probably be the dominant studio film style of the decade. Might as well get in on the ground floor.