Call of Duty Cinematic Universe plotted out for many years says Activision

Ben Skipper
Call of Duty Black Ops 3

While films based on video game properties have never fared well critically, and have scarcely done any better commercially, Hollywood and the game companies themselves remain keen.

If a video game series were ever to make a successful jump to the silver screen, a franchise as popular and cinematic in scope as Activision's Call of Duty would certainly fit the bill.

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In November 2015 Activision Blizzard launched a film studio wing with the aim of creating a "robust cinematic universe" based on Call of Duty. Development has been quiet since then, but now Activision Blizzard Studios co-presidents Stacey Sher and Nick Van Dyk have offered an update.

"We have plotted out many years," Sher told The Guardian. "We put together this group of writers to talk about where we were going.

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"There'll be a film that feels more like Black Ops, the story behind the story. The Modern Warfare series looks at what it's like to fight a war with the eyes of the world on you. And then maybe something that is more of a hybrid, where you are looking at private, covert operations, while a public operation is going on."

Call of Duty games have run the gamut from period World War 2 settings to the contemporary Middle East, and more recently near-future and sci-fi settings. While there's been no official word yet, it appears the series will be heading back to the Second World War later this year.

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Activision plans a TV series centring on historical conflicts, while the big screen outings concern the modern day.

"It's going to have the same sort of high-adrenaline, high-energy aesthetic as the game, but it's not a literal adaptation," added Van Dyk. "It's a much more broad and inclusive, global in scope... a big tentpole Marvel-esque movie."

Marvel popularised the concept of a "cinematic universe" - a connected series of films starring different characters whose paths will often cross. Many other Hollywood studios have tried and are trying to replicate their success: Warner Bros with its DC superheroes, Legendary with King Kong and Godzilla, and soon Universal with its classic monster movies like The Mummy.

The pair have notable experience in Hollywood. Van Dyk is a former Disney executive who played a role in the House of Mouse's acquisition of the enormous Star Wars and Marvel properties. Sher meanwhile was a producer on several Quentin Tarantino films, including Pulp Fiction.

"We have a very rich library," says Van Dyk. "I would say our first order of business is existing current franchises, but there's an incredible opportunity to have these hundreds of games that have huge huge followings and tremendous nostalgia."

Activision Blizzard's library of titles also includes Overwatch, Starcraft and Destiny – all of which could potentially be subject to efforts for the big or small screen.

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