Since movies based on video games don’t tend to do well at the box office, Paramount Television has decided that TV shows based on video games are the way to go. It optioned the rights to create a series based on the multiplayer game Battlefield from EA. Anonymous Content will be the production company in the venture. Spotlight producer Michael Sugar and Ashley Zalta will be executive producers.
The Battlefield franchise has been successful since 2002 with the original Battlefield 1942. It may be difficult to envision it as a TV series, though. Over the years, the series has jumped from World War II to some fictional campaigns, to “cops and robbers,” and then back to World War I with the current Battlefield 1. It doesn’t have a consistent cast of characters or overarching plot line.
Michael Sugar made the statement that “Battlefield has a tremendous built-in, engaged fan base, making it a highly coveted piece of IP primed for long-form adaptation.” IP stands for “intellectual property” and that is the latest Hollywood buzz. The hope is that audience familiarity will lead to buy-in to the television or movie product. This has worked well for Marvel and Disney but not so well for DC and Warner Brothers.
Despite the fact that there are many video game-based movies in the works, the track record for previously-released video game movies is not good. Warcraft is the latest casualty, quickly dropping from U.S. screens but doing well overseas. The knock is that the film is so devoted to the mythology of the video game that new audiences cannot relate. The beauty of Battlefield is that there are no characters or plot conventions to be true to – there is only combat and violence.
Battlefield provides a clean canvas for creators to develop whatever they wish – crime drama, World War II action, or futuristic battle series. All that is required is a battle setting and some fighting. Or, they could cater to the fans of Battlefield 1 and include the kind of grisly violence the trailer featured.