If you pay attention to entertainment news headlines even just a little bit, then you’ve noticed the name J.J. Abrams quite often lately. Whether it’s his upcoming mega-sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, the recent announcement that after Trek he’ll hop over to Star Wars Episode VII, or various other bits that may be reported, it’s a name we see often.
Now Abrams is adding to this run in the spotlight and looking to fortify his status amongst the geeks of this world.
At the D.I.C.E. Summit for video game designers and developers in Las Vegas recently, Abrams and Valve Software co-founder and president Gabe Newell announced that they are working on movie adaptations of two massively popular Valve games, Half-Life and Portal.
It’s not yet known how long it will be before we can expect to see movie versions of these two great game franchises, or if Abrams will actually direct either of them. The projects are being developed through Abrams’ Bad Robot and Valve, but no studios are involved yet.
Of storytelling in games, Abrams said “In many cases, games are better at telling stories than movies,” when it comes to you controlling where to go, what to do, and, in some cases, what to say next. But he also added that “players are often driving scenes in the wrong direction.”
One example he used was Portal, saying:
“You start Portal with no idea why you’re there. The whole game is about figuring out the mystery and what’s going on. The more you play, the more you learn, the more you felt.”
Newell praised Abrams’ Cloverfield, Super 8, and Alias as “brilliant projects,” but did have a familiar bone to pick with him as a gamer watching Cloverfield:
“When the film’s monster first attacks New York City and a character with a camera records every step.
I’m looking at that as a gamer and saying, put the fucking camera down and fucking run! Characters in movies don’t do what you want.” [When playing a game] “it’s our story, it’s about us and what we’re doing.”
We’ve already seen a hint at what a live-action Portal movie could look like in Dan Trachtenberg’s (the new director of the movie adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man) short film Portal: No Escape.
Who would you want to see cast in the Half-Life and Portal movies?