Uncharted director: video game adaptations shouldn’t ‘recreate’ the games

Tom Holland in the Uncharted movie
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Ruben Fleischer has offered his thoughts on what it takes to make that most elusive of things: a successful video game movie.

The film version of Sony’s popular Uncharted video game series has seemingly taken an age to make it to the screen. Over a decade of development has seen a host of directors come and go, with filmmakers as varied as David O Russell, Joe Carnahan, Dan Trachtenberg, Travis Knight, Shawn Levy and Seth Gordon all said to be involved at some point.

However, it wasn’t until Zombieland‘s Reuben Fleischer came on board that the project finally made it into production.

But will the film be worth the wait? Video game adaptations are notorious for usually not working out particularly well. From 1993’s Super Mario Bros onwards, the lion’s share of them have struggled to impress. Ahead of the launch of Uncharted, which will also mark the debut of Sony’s PlayStation Studio’s label of films, Fleischer has some ideas why video game adaptations tend not to impress.

He told Empire that “part of the problem is that they’re trying to recreate the games. Because players have had such a visceral experience, I don’t think you can compete with that. I wanted to make sure [Uncharted] worked as a film first.”

That certainly makes sense, considering film is the medium that Fleischer is working in, and it’s an approach he has even extended to the film’s action sequences. “We tried to take inspiration from the games whenever we could, but we also wanted to have original set pieces that aren’t a part of the games at all. I’ve never seen anything like our third act finale before and I think it will blow people away.”

The film’s narrative will also depart somewhat from the games as we will follow a younger version of Nathan Drake than we know from the games, with Tom Holland portraying the adventurer. Mark Wahlberg will play his mentor, Sully, whilst Antonio Banderas, Tati Gabrielle and Sophia Ali also feature.

Uncharted is scheduled to be with us on February 18th, and marks what Sony is hoping is the first success in a string of adaptations from their PlayStation gaming brand, including a film version of its samurai action epic, Ghost Of Tsushima. Whilst Fleischer’s comments do make sense, we’re interested to see if that translates into a well-received movie. With the film’s release just around the corner, we certainly don’t have too long to wait and find out. In the meantime, here’s the trailer below to tide you over.

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