Universal Bringing EA's Army of Two To the Big Screen
by Alex Billington
October 24, 2008
Electronic Arts has partnered with Universal Pictures to produce an adaptation of the video game Army of Two. Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (of The Bourne Ultimatum) has been hired to write the adaptation with Scott Stuber (of The Break-Up, The Kingdom, Role Models) producing. Universal is fast-tracking the project and hopes to start production in 2009. In the game, players team up with a live or AI partner on two-man missions using two-man tactics to ultimately create an advantage that no enemy can withstand. The story focuses on the fictional story of two private military mercenaries "fight[ing] through war, political turmoil, and a conspiracy so vast it threatens the entire world" in a timeline spanning from 1993 to 2009.
Burns explains that "because people experience the game in pairs, playing two guys who go against the world, Scott and I agreed this format presented an opportunity to make a great buddy film." So far, so good. "The ambiguity of these private military corporations lends weight to an intelligent thriller with relevance to what's going on in the world right now. You have contractors with their own agendas, and two guys whose friendship supersedes all the politics. I told EA right off the bat I wasn't a gamer, and that appealed to them because they didn't want to simply replicate the game." Another interesting statement, although not necessarily a good thing. This just means we can expect the movie to be a departure from the game.
I'm quite interested in seeing this head to the big screen, but with Max Payne being the latest video game failure (at least amongst the majority of moviegoers), I'm still not convinced that video games make great movies. Obviously Scott Z. Burns as the writer is a start, but that's not entirely enough to make this an instant success. As always, my opinion on this project still depends on which director they choose and other details, including the cast and the budget and so on. For now, we can just hope that Burns is turning this into a solid action film and not another video game flop. For those interested, you can still pick up a copy of the game on Amazon. I've heard great things, but never actually played it myself. Thoughts?