For some reason, we still haven't had a truly great video game movie. The failures that have plagued video game adaptations have not prevented Hollywood from continuing to give it a try. There are quite a few video game related projects currently in development, but the Metal Gear Solid movie is one that fans have been looking forward to for quite some time. After sitting idle for a period, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has provided a huge update on the movie.
The director recently spoke with Collider while promoting his upcoming movie Kong: Skull Island. He has been attached to direct the movie since 2014 for Sony and since then, things have been fairly quiet. That being the case, the interview eventually shifted to Metal Gear Solid in hopes that he may be able to provide some new details. Jordan Vogt-Roberts decided to dish out quite a bit of information and made it clear just how important the video games are to him. Here is what he had to say.
"Metal Gear Solid is probably the most important franchise to me on the planet. It is such a genius, idiosyncratic work and being able to spend time with [Hideo] Kojima recently has been like a dream. He's the best and his whole team is the best. We are working on the script. That is a property that I will fight tooth and nail to make sure is done properly because it's so easy to screw it up and so easy for a studio to try and make it into G.I. Joe or try and make it into Mission: Impossible or try and make it into something that it's not. Metal Gear Solid needs to be exactly what it needs to be, which is Metal Gear Solid."
The original video game, which was created by Hideo Kojima, launched in 1998 for the original Playstation console. The game follows a soldier known as Solid Snake, who breaks into a nuclear weapons compound to stop a terrorist threat by a rogue special forces unit known as Foxhound. There have been more than 10 games in the series and it has spanned nearly two decades. As Jordan Vogt-Roberts notes, almost all of that came from the mind of Kojima, which makes it unique to adapt.
"It's so interesting because unlike a comic book that's had 40 writers or 100 writers over the course of a decade or two decades or whatever, for decades now Metal Gear Solid has essentially had one voice. So you're dealing with a highly, highly specific property that's idiosyncratic to one persona and one person's point of view and the way in which they interpret sort of culture and Western culture and twist that back around into this super pure amazing property that has a tone that I think is unlike anything else that is out there. I actually think that when people see [Kong] they'll realize like, 'Oh tonally there are things that sort of line up with this' where this can be incredibly serious and dark and intense or it can also be incredibly goofy and kind of take the piss out of itself and be slapstick at times, much like Metal Gear. Luckily there are amazing producers on it, but that's a property that is so pure and important to my soul, because it's something that I grew up on, that I would love to shepherd into the film that it needs to be. I think it'd be a massive film, I think it'd be an incredible film, but it needs to be done in a way that completely honors what Metal Gear is because it's a classic and it's a seminal work not just in video games, but in media."
Recently, Deadpool proved that an R-rated movie can breakthrough into the mainstream in a big way. The upcoming Logan is also going to go the R-rated route and has impressed critics so far. Jordan Vogt-Roberts was asked if the Metal Gear Solid movie would go that route. He was noncommittal, but here is what he had to say about it.
"I think that for me, I want to make the version of the movie that is most true to what it needs to be, so if that is a Deadpool or Logan route where you go with a smaller budget and you're able to make it R, great. If you need to blow it out more and really get that bigger budget and go PG-13, I think it could exist in both avenues. There are hyper-violent parts to Metal Gear but I would not necessarily call the hyper-violent part the core element of it versus like the tone and the voice and the philosophies that the characters exhibit. Those characters sort of are these walking philosophies, so I think nailing that part is far more important necessarily than thinking about the rating at this point, because right now we're just trying to get the best version of it...I think right now the more important thing is let's nail the voice, let's nail a story that makes sense. You look at the scope of the Metal Gear world and you go all the way back to the '60s and before that in the lore, and then you go to the more contemporary games in the near-future and stuff like that, you're dealing with decades and decades and decades of characters. You're dealing with like okay how do Snake and Boston interact, how does Zero and all these other people interact with each other? How do you pick and choose the cyborg ninjas and the sniper wolves and all these people and have them fit into a narrative that makes sense?"
Metal Gear Solid is a beloved video game series with a lot of very hardcore fans all around the world. That will make it really tough to make a movie that pleases not only those who love the games, but also casual moviegoers who aren't familiar with the source material. Jordan Vogt-Roberts is aware of the challenge that represents, but his main goal, since he is also a huge fan of the video games, is to make a movie that fans of the franchise will find satisfying.
"So first and foremost beyond thinking about budget, I wanna find the version that someone like you who's like a superfan of this property would say, 'They did it. That's my Metal Gear. That's my shit.' Beyond it being a video game movie, beyond the difference between active experience and passive experience and why people haven't been able to translate an active experience into a good passive experience in the shape of a film, beyond that question to me it's not even about being a video game movie, Metal Gear is an important story, an important set of characters. So it just needs to be approached right now from how we nail that, and once we nail that then budget questions will happen, then those things will happen down the road, but right now I'm just working with incredible producers and trying to make a version that you or a Metal Gear megafan would be proud of and where people would be comfortable with that version to say, 'I know this is different, I know this is not exactly the way a normal movie might go, but this is very Metal Gear' and that is what will make random Joe Schmoe in Nebraska who has no idea what Metal Gear is, that is what will make them fall in love with this franchise and with Solid Snake and these people, and that is what will make them say-beyond the nerdverse and things like that who already accept this thing as super important-it's such a potentially massive thing that we're focused on getting that right first."
As of right now, Sony has not set a release date for the Metal Gear Solid movie, but they have a very passionate filmmaker on board the project with Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Outside of that, screenwriter Jay Basu was brought on in 2015 to write a draft of the screenplay, but it is unclear if he is still working on it. Roberts' schedule looks to be pretty clear once Kong: Skull Island comes out, so that should give him some time to get working on Metal Gear Solid and hopefully the movie can actually gain some traction in the near future. If nothing else, fans can take solace knowing that the man behind the movie is very much in love with the video games and doesn't want to screw this up.