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E3: Games Get More Cinematic as Movie Versions Head to Bigscreen

In sequels to tentpole videogame franchises like “Assassin’s Creed,” “Uncharted,” “Far Cry” and “Tomb Raider,” publishers have taken a more movie-like approach in trying to make the titles appeal to gamers.

As next-generation videogame consoles like Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 give publishers more power to create visually impressive games, they’re stepping up in a big way and blurring the lines between what a game and a movie now look like.

Publishers always have been film-friendly when it comes to revving up the hype machine. They’ve embraced live-action trailers to promote new releases and hired actors recognizable to most audiences. The “Metal Gear” series also has been heavy on scenes in the franchise that a re cut like movies. But the latest footage takes the cinematic approach to a new level as story plays a larger role.

What’s interesting is that, in the cases below, the games have feature adaptations in development. And they may not need to look to far for up-and-coming directors to helm the adaptations.

If even a little of what appears in the new games translate to the bigscreen, then the future of game-to-film adaptations looks pretty promising.

“Rise of the Tomb Raider

MGM is currently developing a reboot of the “Tomb Raider” film franchise (with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s” Marti Noxon writing the script) that’s largely based on the new games from Square Enix that introduced a younger Lara Croft in 2013. The sequel continues the storyline that was introduced in that version.

“Far Cry 4”

In the fourth installment of Ubisoft’s shooter, players find themselves caught up in a civil war in the Himalayas. Ubisoft Motion Pictures plans to adapt the game franchise into the movie the way it’s doing with “Assassin’s Creed,” “Splinter Cell,” “Ghost Recon” and its “Rabbids.”

Ubisoft used E3 to introduce King Pagan Min, the self-imposed dictator of Kyrat, by showing the first six minutes of the latest game. The opener is an arresting sequence that could easily be brought to life and filmed shot-for-shot.

“Assassin’s Creed: Unity”

While New Regency is working with Ubisoft on an “Assassin’s Creed” movie that Fox will release and star Michael Fassbender, the latest game is set during the French Revolution. With a new installment of the game debuting each year, the company is beefing up the game with three other assassins able to join the series’ hooded character in co-op and multiplayer modes.

Uncharted: A Thief’s End”

Four years after “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception,” Naughty Dog will launch “A Thief’s End” exclusively on the PS4 in 2015. It will feature an older version of its star adventurer, Nathan Drake. Sony has a film version in development that would bring the globe-trotter, essentially a new generation’s Indiana Jones, to life. The footage shown in the trailer below was captured from the game itself in full high-resolution, demonstrating the PS4’s capabilities.

“Tom Clancy’s The Division

And Ubisoft’s “Take Back New York” trailer for original game “The Division” also begins with a visually inventive time-changing sequence that could easily be the title sequence of a film.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare”

Of course, there’s also Activision’s “Call of Duty” series, which does not yet have a movie version in development but has cast Kevin Spacey as the game’s main villain.

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