Valve is Considering Making a Half-Life Movie on Their Own?
Remarkably, in the four years I've been running this blog we've never once talked about a Half-Life movie, despite the game being one of my all-time favorites and one that I know many people hope to see made into a movie. In a recent interview at PC Gamer (via IGN) with Valve's CEO and co-founder, Gabe Newell, he opened up a bit about their dismal history with Hollywood and even hinted that they might be considering making a movie based on Half-Life on their own. At this point we've seen the Half-Life franchise go through so much, including a fantastic sequel, that I don't know if what he's talking about is still in the works or not.
Newell starts out saying he wants to see game makers doing their own movies, complaining that "we're kind of sick and tired of the way you guys are slicing and dicing the experience of being a fan of Harry Potter, or Half-Life." Then he gets into their experiences with Half-Life and it gets pretty depressing. Newell explains:
"Where we got into this direction was after Half-Life 1 had shipped. There was a whole bunch of meetings with people from Hollywood. Directors down there wanted to make a Half-Life movie and stuff, so they'd bring in a writer or some talent agency would bring in writers, and they would pitch us on their story. And their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of.
"That's when we started saying 'Wow, the best thing we could ever do is to just not do this as a movie, or we'd have to make it ourselves.' And I was like, 'Make it ourselves? Well that's impossible.' But the Team Fortress 2 thing, the Meet The Team shorts, is us trying to explore that."
That's sad to hear they got so many crappy pitches early in the day, but if he's talking about when Half-Life 1 came out, that was back in 1998. Maybe they should actually hear some pitches from screenwriter nowadays who are passionate about the game and could adapt the full sci-fi story exactly like they want. I bet there's a few out there who could write an incredible Half-Life script (I know a few myself). My other concern is that those Meet The Team shorts are animated, so are they considering a full-length animated Half-Life movie? If so, I'm worried that would turn out like Ultramarines. I don't know about you guys, but I hope to one day see a kick ass, live-action epic adaptation of Half-Life, not something quick and forgettable like that movie.
I know video game movies still get a bad rap (and deserve it because most are bad), but it's potentially great adaptations like this that I think could help turn things around. They just need a writer who knows the game inside-out to adapt it, give it the big budget that it needs, and find a director (maybe Marc Forster?) who can do a great job bringing it all to life. It's possible that it could work out and turn out as awesome as the game itself, but of course there are a lot of factors to that and it seems like Valve just doesn't like dealing with all that. Only time will tell what happens, but it doesn't sound like Valve is interested in much at the moment.