Project marks the first time Bay has worked with Warner Bros., after previously producing and helming films primarily with Disney, Sony, DreamWorks and Paramount.
The “Ghost Recon” games revolve around a fictional unit of the U.S. Army Special Forces that essentially operates as the President’s private army, using the latest technology to infiltrate and take down threats around the world without leaving any traces behind that they exist.
“These guys don’t belong to any specific organization,” Jean-Julien Baronnet, CEO of Ubisoft Motion Pictures. “They’re in the field where the U.S. troops are not supposed to be. It’s a small team with very strong personalities and very specific skill sets. They’re using weapons nobody knows about but it’s very grounded. It’s not sci-fi.”
Ubisoft wanted to work with Bay “because he is a master at action movies,” Baronnet said. Bay is currently directing “Transformers 4” for Paramount.
The film is the third high-profile adaptation of one of its games that Ubisoft has set up within the past year, with New Regency co-producing both “Assassin’s Creed” and “Splinter Cell.” Twentieth Century Fox has already set Memorial Day 2015 as the release date for “Assassin’s Creed,” which will star Michael Fassbender.
However, as opposed to just licensing the films rights to Hollywood and hoping for the best, Ubisoft is taking more control in how the games are adapted, with an eye toward maintaining the DNA of the games while telling a brand new story not based on what gamers have already played.
It packaged its first film projects before shopping them to production shingles and studios, attaching Fassbender to “Assassin’s Creed” and Tom Hardy to “Splinter Cell.” Nickelodeon will also air an animated series based on Ubisoft’s “Raving Rabbids” games.
Ubisoft is now also meeting with screenwriters to tackle “Ghost Recon,” with Bay overseeing its development. Should he spark to the script, he could direct the film. The goal is to hire screenwriters later this month and start attaching talent in July. Ubisoft has the rights to use Tom Clancy’s name in the film title.
“When we started Ubisoft Motion Pictures we wanted to be able to maintain creative control of our franchises,” Baronnet said. “We wanted to be in a situation where we’re not making mainstream movies but movies that can respect the DNA of our game franchises. Today it’s real.”
More than 24 million “Ghost Recon” games have sold over the release of nine titles, four expansion packs and a Facebook game since 2001. “Ghost Recon: Future Soldier” was released in 2012.
Ubisoft already had produced a live action short for the franchise, “Ghost Recon Alpha,” that was directed by Francois Alaux and Herve de Crecy, and produced by Ridley Scott, giving a sense of what a big screen feature could look like.