×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

J.J. Abrams will develop ‘Half-Life,’ ‘Portal’ games into films

Bad Robot and Valve haven't yet set up projects with studio

J.J. Abrams has a couple more franchises he wants to tackle.

The producer-director, who is busy wrapping up “Star Trek” and tackling “Star Wars” as his next tentpole, plans to work closely with Valve to adapt the games “Half-Life” and “Portal” into films, he told a gathering of videogame creators at the D.I.C.E. Conference in Las Vegas.

The projects are in early development through Bad Robot and Valve and not yet set up at a studio.

Abrams made the announcement with Valve Corp president and co-founder Gabe Newell during a keynote conversation kicking off the confab that focused on the storytelling differences between films and games.

Both creators agreed that there are elements of both forms of entertainment that connect with viewers and players in different ways and the two hoped to combine those as they move forward with the Valve adaptations.

The projects are just the latest in a growing list of videogame adaptations set up at studios. Others include “Assassin’s Creed,” “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell,” “Need for Speed,” “World of Warcraft,” “Deus Ex,” “Uncharted,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Asteroids,” “Missile Command,” “Spy Hunter,” “Twisted Metal,” “Mass Effect” and “Hitman,” to name just a few.

“In many cases, games are better at telling stories than movies,” Abrams said, with gamers involved in steering the action, rather than acting as a passive viewer. But he added that there are times when “players are often driving scenes in the wrong direction.”

Abrams pointed out “Portal’s” slow reveal of its characters and plot as an innovative way to build a mystery.

“You start ‘Portal’ with no idea why you’re there,” he said “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.”

Abrams and Newell used clips from “Cloverfield,” “Half-Life 2” and “Jaws” to prove their points, with Abrams also playing a scene from his first “Star Trek” to reveal “Star Wars'” R2-D2 floating in space in a field of debris.

Abrams revealed the robot as an example of giving audiences additional details to enjoy upon multiple viewings of a film.

“We often ask what things can we hide that people will find over time?” Abrams said.

Referring to Abrams’ “Star Wars” helming job, “So I have to go back to your movies to see what movies you’re going to direct next?” Newell asked.

Newell cited Abrams’ “Cloverfield,” “Alias” and “Super 8” as brilliant projects but was frustrated in “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!” Newell said. “Characters in movies don’t do what you want.” When playing a game, however, “it’s our story,” he said. “It’s about us and what we’re doing.”

Ultimately, interest in a movie or game will all come down to characters and their storylines.

“If you don’t care about the characters, nothing matters,” Abrams said.

More Film

  • The Kings Man

    Film News Roundup: Disney Sets 'The King's Man' Spy Comedy for February

    In today’s film news roundup, “The King’s Man” and “A Kid From Coney Island” get release dates, and “Barry” star Anthony Carrigan joins “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” RELEASE DATE Disney has set its Fox spy comedy prequel “The King’s Man” for release on Feb. 14, 2020. Disney made the announcement Wednesday at its [...]

  • Shyrakshy: Guardian of the Light

    Shanghai Film Review: 'Shyrakshy: Guardian of the Light'

    The bombastic English title might sound like it describes some comic book sci-fi epic, but in “Shyrakshy: Guardian of the Light” our hero does not wear a cape but a weathered cap, and the light he guards is not an interstellar death ray but the flickering beam of a battered old movie projector. Prominent Kazakh [...]

  • Wanda Film's Zeng Maojun

    Shanghai: China's One-Mighty Wanda Casts Itself in Role of Survivor

    The soundtrack for the introductory showreel at Wednesday evening’s Shanghai press event announcing Wanda Pictures’ annual line-up was aspirational and strangely defiant.  It began with Nina Simone crooning, “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good,” and then continued with “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child. “You [...]

  • 'The Souvenir' Costume Designer Fashioned 1980s'

    'The Souvenir' Costume Designer Put a Decadent Twist on Opulent ’80s Style

    Set against the backdrop of London’s early-1980s cultural renaissance, British auteur Joanna Hogg’s exquisitely sculpted and critically acclaimed “The Souvenir,” which A24 has been widening in platform release for the past month, follows film student Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) and her gradually destructive romance with the magnetic Anthony (Tom Burke). “We didn’t want a film [...]

  • Anne Hathaway

    Crew Member Stabbed on Set of Anne Hathaway's 'The Witches' in England

    A crew member has been stabbed in the neck on the set of Anne Hathaway’s “The Witches” remake, which is being shot at the Warner Bros. Studios stages in Leavesden, Hertfordshire. The Hertfordshire Constabulary said in a statement that the victim was hospitalized and his alleged attacker was arrested. The two men are believed to [...]

  • paranormal-activity-1

    Paramount, Blumhouse Announce Seventh 'Paranormal Activity' Movie

    Paramount Pictures and Jason Blum’s Blumhouse are teaming on a seventh “Paranormal Activity” movie. Paramount chief Jim Gianopulos announced the untitled project Wednesday during the studio’s CineEurope presentation in Barcelona. Plot details are also under wraps. The franchise was launched with 2007’s “Paranormal Activity,” a micro-budget film about a young couple who had who moved [...]

  • Steve Buscemi

    Steve Buscemi Joins Judd Apatow's Upcoming Pete Davidson Comedy (EXCLUSIVE)

    Steve Buscemi, Kevin Corrigan, Domenick Lombardozzi and Mike Vecchione have rounded out the cast of Universal’s untitled Judd Apatow comedy starring Pete Davidson. Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Bel Powley, Maude Apatow and Pamela Adlon had been previously announced. Apatow is directing from a script he co-wrote with Davidson and Dave Sirus. The film is a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content