If you haven’t heard, Take-Two Interactive has filed a lawsuit against the BBC, beloved broadcaster of Sherlock and Doctor Who, for trademark infringement related to the production of Game Changer, a 90-minute film about the travails of Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games. The film will reportedly star Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar honcho Sam Houser and chronicle the success and controversies surrounding the studio’s flagship franchise.
Once we got past our initial confusion – it turns out Game Changer is not about the Vice Presidential candidacy of Sarah Palin – we were shocked to discover that Rockstar was the BBC’s first choice for a TV movie about a game studio considering ‘knockoff version of The Social Network’ seems like the best-case scenario. So if the lawsuit with Take-Two doesn’t work out (Take-Two is Rockstar’s parent company), we thought the BBC might like to have some backup alternatives.
Without further ado, these are five game studios that deserve their own movies before Rockstar Games. These are all inspired by true stories, though we may have taken some dramatic liberties for the sake of entertainment.
Working Title: Cliff-Hangar
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Cliff Bleszinski
Cliff-Hangar starts out a little slow, but it kicks into high gear once the Unreal Engine debuts and the entire production team starts tooling around North Carolina in a fleet of Lamborghinis and Ferraris and stuffing hundred dollar bills into the napkin dispensers in the lunchroom. It’s basically the Entourage of video game studio movies, a film dedicated to the excesses of rich white men living the lives that you wish you were living.
The title also doubles as one of our primary shooting locations. I have to assume the ‘Cliff-Hangar’ is what Cliff Bleszinski calls his garage.
Working Title: Eternal Dark Knights
Starring Ray Liota as Denis Dyack
Eternal Dark Knights is a classic gangster flick about the rise and fall of a group of upstarts brought low by flagrant arrogance. The rousing first act builds to the release of Eternal Darkness (there’s a montage of them counting money and rolling in Metacritic scores) before the studio starts buying tigers and releasing Too Human to kick off the long, litigious descent into insolvency. We reach Goodfellas territory once Epic enters the picture, with X-Men: Destiny standing in for steel bowls filled with unwashed traces of cocaine.
After all, Silicon Knights might have gotten away with it had they not gone to court with all of that unlicensed Unreal code hidden in their engine.
Working Title: Aesop’s Fable
Starring Charles Dance as Peter Molyneux
The requisite biopic about a misunderstood visionary at various points beloved and reviled by the people of his time. While Aesop’s Fable will follow Molyneux’s career across several studios, the bulk of the movie will take place at Lionhead as he slowly loses the goodwill of his audience and lands in rehab for the dangerous overuse of exaggeration. The movie will ultimately end with his triumphant redemption after he finally manages to conceive a functional AI child (Andrew Garfield) and rewires the Kinect to communicate via telepathy. The script is still yet to be completed.
No word yet on Charles Dance’s availability for the lead, though Ashton Kutcher is already booked for the scenes of young Peter during his days at Bullfrog. We’re taking a flyer on that one, but our people tell us he did work in Jobs.
Working Title: Return to Grim Fandango
Starring Lena Dunham as Ron Gilbert and Amy Schumer as Tim Schafer
Directed by Judd Apatow, Return to Grim Fandago is a workplace comedy about a lovable band of misfits fending off the encroaching pressures of adulthood. The script is a little light on plot, so most of the movie will be Apatow all-stars improvising banter and making references to pirate movies and old arcade games. There’s also a stuffy boss (Jack Black, playing against type) who pops in from time to time to tell the boys that their quirky comedy games will never find an audience.
After a string of early successes, the team eventually hits hard times and the movie ends with the band splitting up and going on to find success in other ventures. Things will never be the same again, but at least they’ll always have Monkey Island.
Working Title: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Respawn Entertainment
Starring James Franco as Andy Serkis’s Mo-Cap Suit
The developer of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare fittingly provides the source material for the most violent game studio film. What starts as lucrative business relationship rapidly devolves into a full-blown insurrection after the mega-corporation Activision escorts Jason West (Vin Diesel) and Vince Zampella (Channing Tatum) out of the building. The incident leads to a tense showdown between labor and management that escalates even further with the introduction of zombies and riot police near the end of the second act.
Just when all seems lost, the exiled West and Zampella return in a giant Titan mech (Dwayne Johnson) to rescue the last small party of surviving developers. Together they abscond to a secure compound on the other side of Los Angeles where they set up a colony to continue the technological war against their former employers.