Sony has announced that they will be bringing “Metal Gear Solid,” the immensely popular video game franchise, to the big screen, courtesy of “Spider-Man” producer Avi Arad. The announcement was made at the Metal Gear Anniversary event in Tokyo (via /Film). “Metal Gear Solid” director (and we do mean director – the latter games contained hours of purely cinematic cut scenes) Hideo Kojima was joined onstage by Arad to make the announcement. A “Metal Gear Solid” movie has been in the works for years, with the last notable attempt being in 2008 with producer and former New Line exec Michael De Luca. If anybody can bring “Metal Gear Solid” to the big screen, it’s Arad.
Arad was the founder and former chairman and CEO of Marvel Studios, overseeing the initial crop of movies, most notably the Sam Raimi-directed “Spider-Man” movies (he was also a producer on this summer’s regrettable “The Amazing Spider-Man” reboot) and the original Bryan Singer “X-Men” movie. He’s essentially the man responsible for the tidal wave of comic book projects today. So you can either thank him or hurl a sizable chunk of asphalt at him.
Kotaku quoted Arad at the press conference comparing the two formats. “For many years I fought to bring comics to the big screen. Comic books are now biggest genre in cinema,” Arad told the crowd. “Video games are the comic books of today.” (Wait – aren’t comic books the comic books of today?) Arad certainly buys into this – after leaving Marvel he has been in development on a number of videogame-based properties (all of which have yet to see the light of day or the inside of a movie theater), things like “Mass Effect,” “Twisted Metal,” “Pac-Man,” and the notoriously difficult “Uncharted.” The learning curve on how to translate video games to movies might be even steeper than it was for the comic book to film transition. Watch out, Arad!
“Metal Gear Solid” is certainly an A-title amongst the video game faithful. A spin-off of a 1987 game called “Metal Gear,” the “Metal Gear Solid” line debuted more than a year later (in 1998) and continues today, with over 31 million copies sold. The game follows Solid Snake, a sneaky mercenary type who takes out bad guys in the slyest ways imaginable (it’s a game that emphasizes “stealth” over “shooting every fucking body in the room”). As the games have gone on, their game play complexity and thematic concerns have grown deeper and more immersive, with many critics citing them as absolute highpoints of the format. Interestingly, David Hayter, who contributed to the original “X-Men” screenplay, voices Solid Snake in the later videogames’ domestic adaptations. Small world!
While no creative principles have been announced for the “Metal Gear Solid” movie, according to Kotaku, Kojima talked about how much he liked American actors like Matt Damon, Hugh Jackman and Ben Affleck, as well as his affinity for director Christopher Nolan. Arad fired back, “We’ll tell these actors and directors who you want, and maybe they’ll do it for nothing.”