A Battlefield TV show is in the works, because who needs a plot?
Hollywood seems to have decided that the next big thing is going to be movies and TV shows based on video games. So far that plan is a little more based on hope than reality, but it isn’t stopping studios from eating up gaming properties. If nothing else, maybe the property will be huge in China.
In a fairly bizarre, but not all that unexpected turn of events, Paramount Television and Anonymous Content have optioned the rights to Electronic Arts and DICE’s first-person shooter series, Battlefield. The property will be developed as a TV show by Oscar-winner Michael Sugar, a producer on the films Spotlight and The Fifth Estate, as well as the Peabody-winning TV show, The Knick.
It’s an impressive pedigree for a series that’s more or less about nothing. The Battlefield games do have stories, but they are generally pretty simple. If you ask ten fans what the campaign of Battlefield 4 was about, you’d be lucky if two of them vaguely remembered that it had something to do with China. Battlefield 3 was about… umm… shooting?
“Battlefield has a tremendous built-in, engaged fan base, making it a highly coveted piece of IP primed for long-form adaptation,” said Michael Sugar in an excellent piece of word salad. “Together with EA and Paramount TV, we’ll develop the Battlefield TV series with the same commitment to robust storytelling that has made the game such a runaway success for nearly fifteen years.”
To repeat, “robust storytelling that has made the game such a runaway success.” Let that sink in for a minute.
The series doesn’t really have much to adapt. It is primarily a multiplayer game, with teams vying to control locations. What it does have is an established brand. For the people working on the show, that’s probably the best offer of an adaptation they have ever heard. They were handed a blank slate about a military squad, everything else is up for grabs – and yet it still has an established base. In that, it is already doing better than all the other pilots it will be competing against.
Fans, on the other hand, are probably going to wonder what the hell they are watching and what it has to do with a series best known for its multiplayer.
In a strange twist that isn’t really that strange at all, Battlefield’s non-rival rival, Call of Duty, is also being developed, albeit for the big screen. Activision knows which way the money/wind blows, and it followed Ubisoft’s lead in creating its own movie division to adapt its properties. Naturally, Call of Duty is high on that list.
Of course, optioning a property is wildly different from actually developing it. Assuming it does go ahead, no word on when the studio might want it on the air. Or what it will be about. Or which game it might be adapting. You get the point.