Michael Fassbender's run couldn't last forever! So far even the actor's paycheck gigs have been strong showings*, but now he's gone and gotten himself attached to a movie in that most toxic of all genres: video game adaptations.
Fassbender will star in and produce an adaptation of Assassin's Creed, a game that's sort of like a
first person Prince of Persia with a hood and without fun. It's a pretty popular franchise, so I'm in the minority when I say that I found the game impossibly dull and repetitive, and that the storyline was hugely unmemorable. With one exception: the whole game has this bizarre book end where a guy gets put into a memory machine that allows him to live out the actions of his distant relative Altaïr ibn-La'Ahad, who was an assassin in the Holy Land way back in Crusades time. I don't know why the developers thought the wrap around was a good idea at all, but I think it would be funny if Fassbender only played the modern day dude, Desmond and someone way less famous played Altair.
Of course that's hugely unlikely. Side thought: will people complain that honky Fassbender is playing brown face in this movie, taking on a role that should go to an Arabic actor?
Ubisoft will be financing the film independently.
Let's talk about the wisdom of doing a video game movie in the first place. I don't believe this is a good genre in general. Very, very few video games are suited to cinema; the fact that the visual language of games usually apes the visual language of cinema makes people think games would make good movies, but I fundamentally disagree. The whole point of a game like Assassin's Creed is to be doing what Altair is doing - climbing very tall towers, sneaking up on guys, surreptitiously sneaking in and out of places. Everything surrounding the gameplay is junk, more or less. And this, honestly, is the case with 99% of games. There's some nice design work, the occasional intriguing character, but almost never a truly engaging narrative. And the few that do have engaging narratives utilize the length of video games to really make the narrative work - think of the Mass Effect series, or Red Dead Redemption.
What makes a good video game good is the gameplay - take that out of the equation and you're left with something limp and, more often than not, fairly derivative. Maybe some day someone will prove me wrong, but the only way to make a good video game movie is to basically take the title and designs and ignore everything else about the game.
* or, in the case of Jonah Hex, he's barely even in there.