Salem’s Fire #31: Movie


Thanks to New Line Cinema and Weta, we now have a new standard in fantasy film.

Thanks to Pixar, we know that films with nothing but computer generated imagery can be highly successful.

Thanks to Final Fantasy, we know that a full length computer generated movie based on a game franchise is possible.

All of which neatly skirts the age old question… will Blizzard ever make a movie? Is is possible to make a full length movie based on a game franchise? Yes. Is is possible for such a movie to be successful? Yes. Does it have to be all CGI? Well, no. Return of the King is a mix of computer animation and live acting, and concludes one of the most successful film trilogies of all time. However, given that Blizzard?s experience with acting is more of the voice variety, likely a Diablo or StarCraft movie would be purely computer animated.

But why would Blizzard risk such a move? And is there a market, outside of the few million of us who would sleep outside the theater for week just on the rumor of a Blizzard movie? And if they did make a movie, what would it be?

Last question first. The most common answer is, Diablo of course! Myself, I am not sure the market is right for a Diablo movie right now. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the epitome of cinema high fantasy to date, and I am not sure releasing another hero driven action movie on the heels of Return of the King is a plan. Comparisons would be inevitable, and Blizzard would have a hard time winning that comparison.

However, there is another avenue. If they chose to do a StarCraft movie instead, the only comparison would be to the decidedly lackluster Star Wars movies. (I am speaking, of course, the recent prequel trilogy, not the original three… or does anyone really think that Blizzard could not better Jar Jar?) A StarCraft movie would be more likely to be judged on its own merits, and not be asked to measure up to other recent titles. Likewise, the StarCraft franchise could use a shot in the arm, in addition to Ghost. That universe is still wide open and largely unexplored, with a lot of stories only hinted at, or not told at all. Any of the three Blizzard sagas would work, and work well, the opinion here is that StarCraft would fair the best.

So, StarCraft. Space ships, greenish aliens, and guys who play with fire. This is definitely a very computer dependent movie. Should their even be live actors at all? To phrase it differently, can Blizzard pull off a full length CGI movie and maintain the feel of realism that has become the hallmark of Blizzard cinematic? Yes, they could. But at what cost? I do not thing Blizzard has in house the shear processing power to spare for such a venture. There are multiple projects underway already; something of this magnitude would certainly threaten to take resources away from the rest of the studio. Unless a massive expenditure in hardware was made provide the extra power needed for the making of a movie. If Pixar is any indication, a farm of 128 processor servers is par for the course. That is a lot of money for a company changing ownership. Too much money, in all likelihood. Blizzard no doubt has the skill and talent to make such a movie, but is there any realistic way they could afford it?

Or could it be farmed out? A partnership, perhaps, such as the one that is producing StarCraft Ghost? For the partner, why not Pixar? Right now, Pixar is in the middle of a sting of movies that all have a similar visual feel to them. Bold colors and cuddly heroes works for a partnership with Disney, but rumors are rampant that the Disney connection is about over, and that a new deal may not be signed. Pixar could certainly stand to diversify its films, and its fan base. There is little doubt that Pixar has the people and resources to devote to this venture, given that the company is one giant success story. There is also little doubt that, with Blizzard now having a connection to Universal, promotion would not be an issue. And with General Motors wanting to make sure the new Vivendi acquisition pays off, there should little opposition to one of the most successful gaming companies off all time partnering with one of the successful computer animation studios on the planet to produce a movie based on one of the best known and best loved computer games in history. If that does not say Golden Goose, I do not know what does.

Except geese do occasionally lay bad eggs. If Blizzard ever did decide to make a movie, I think it would be best done with StarCraft, and in a partnership. However, personally, I would rather not see a Blizzard movie. I would much rather see that talent and effort and money and time put to work on a new world, a new universe, and new gaming franchise to add to the big three. I would rather see it spent to bring something new to the PC that does not require a monthly subscription to play. I would rather see it be devoted to ensuring that Blizzard stays on top.

With a few million or so thrown at Diablo 3. Just in case the new franchise does not work out, it is always good to have a safety net.


Disclaimer: Salem?s Fire was written by Luke Blaize during 2002-2004, and hosted by Diabloii.net. The opinions expressed in these columns are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Diii.net.

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