James Cameron planning MMOG/film crossover

Storied director tells <i>BusinessWeek</i> that he's working on an ambitious game that will tie in to his next big-screen project. But is it <i>Battle Angel</i> or <i>Avatar</i>?

by

Last March, filmmaker James Cameron shook up the 2005 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Sitting on an Xbox-sponsored panel discussing the future of entertainment, the Terminator director revealed he was planning an Enter the Matrix-like crossover game to be developed alongside his next movie.

"In my next film, I can only tell you what we're planning on doing, which is simultaneously developing a major motion picture and, hopefully, a major game title that coexists in the same world that shares characters." He continued, "Going into that world will actually inform those watching the film and vice versa. I don't want to say anything more than that, because I don't want to give away some of the cool stuff that we're working on."

Despite his protestations of secrecy, Cameron apparently spilled the beans less than two months earlier to popular film site ComingSoon.net. "We're in preproduction now on a movie called Battle Angel, which is based on a Japanese manga series of graphic novels by an artist named Yukito Kishiro," he told the site. According to Cameron, the film will amalgamate the first three books in the series, which profiles a cybernetic heroine struggling to survive in a savage postapocalyptic world. "It's a father-daughter-relationship story that just has the most insane action that you can imagine," said Cameron.

Just under a year later, Cameron has once again made news with his game-movie crossover. In an interview in the February 13 issue of BusinessWeek--which, like many magazines, hits newsstands a week before its cover date--Cameron talks about how his upcoming film will also be a massively multiplayer online game.

"So much of literary sci-fi is about creating worlds that are rich and detailed and make sense at a social level," Cameron told BusinessWeek. "We'll create a world for people and then later present a narrative in that world." For Cameron, a lifelong gamer and technology nut, the appeal of an MMO universe is obvious. "You are exploring the interaction of technology and the human imagination," says Cameron, "and you play it out in a highly competitive, fast-paced interaction." The article also said neither the game nor the film would come out until 2008--at the earliest.

Though news of a Cameron-created MMOG will be music to many sci-fi fans' ears, the article also carries a nasty surprise for those looking forward to Battle Angel and its associated game. Namely, Cameron does not mention the film by name once. Instead, he refers to his next project as having the working title of "Project 880" and steers clear of any description other than calling it "completely crazy, balls-out sci-fi."

Just what is Project 880? Early speculation pegged it as a cover name for Battle Angel, much like Blue Harvest was for Return of the Jedi. However, a report last summer in theHollywood Reporter indicated that Cameron is also developing an entirely different film called Avatar, which Project 880 could also be a cover name for.

According to several respected underground film Web sites, such as CHUD, Avatar is a wildly ambitious sci-fi epic about "a love story set against an interplanetary war where no one is human." Other unconfirmed reports set the film against the backdrop of humankind's initial exploration of our nearest interstellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, and the conflict that arises from it. (Warning: Contains potential spoilers.)

The Battle Angel/Avatar confusion has been increased by recent reports that Cameron has been holding casting calls for a young, athletic actress to play his next film's heroine. The question of what exactly that film will be will likely be answered in the coming months.

Discussion

86 comments
Philosoma
Philosoma

Yukito Kishiro's Battle Angel Alita (GUNNM) is a cyber-drama that is so action packed and intense that it could never be made into an equally awesome movie. But I'm so glad to see that Cameron is actually doing something now and in some way, these productions will more than likely be totally badace.

SpazH3d
SpazH3d

Make it an Aliens MMORPG!!....what the crap is battle angel?

Chirijiden
Chirijiden

Screw Battle Angel, I want a live action version of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. Major Hoodwinked ownage.

hindug
hindug

Great, just what the industry needs, another crappy Movie/Game crossover.

linktheking
linktheking

cmon, make it a REV game! Free Wifi for All!

Belianth
Belianth

I like James Cameron's movies but I am getting tired of Movie/Game tie ins. Can't someone come up with a good idea without selling it to every media at once. It seems like there goals is to put it out on so many platforms one of them has to make them a dollar.

Longhorn
Longhorn

I don't see why the article is tagged as being an MMOG; "coexists in the same world" probably means a conventional title with a parallel storyline, not a persistent world. Also "The Matrix Online" is the MMOG, not "Enter the Matrix".

zsoujiro
zsoujiro

I hope it will be battle angel, the story is great. I am a fan of the manga, and Cameron has made good films of action and sci fi, please be battle angel.

jaefrmbk2k
jaefrmbk2k

hey, isn't it funny how when to try to get on gamespot the stupid razor ad locks you out of the site indefinately? good thing i'm samrt i faound a workaraound

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Sounds cool. We'll see how it all turns out.

wreak
wreak

i realy hope it's battle angel, caus everything about that world is so bad ass and just plain cool. plus i'd like to see what james cameron would do w/ it!

DJ_Quack_Quack
DJ_Quack_Quack

if he is really going to do this, please let the movie be about battle angel.

ninfan4life
ninfan4life

hey i wunder if it wuld look like the animatrix dat wuld be cool

Gmex
Gmex

avatar? anyways sounds cool

nemes1s3000
nemes1s3000

STARCRAFT! Well, since I don't play the other 2 games, might as well be a popular one.

PSPdude79
PSPdude79

So it's Avatar. I can't wait till 2008.

Princecake
Princecake

I only know battle angel the hentai manga... it'd make great xmas present for me if they make an MMO based on this with lots of pre-rendered movies lol..

Splincir
Splincir

It's Avatar. Cameron and his cronies are working hard to remove all e-scripts of it off the net. I read it before they did, and there's not way this film will cost less than $250 million to make. Need more proof? Cameron registered three URLs, all dealing with Avatar. I can't wait.

Zahriel
Zahriel

If he does battle angel. Please let us all hope that it doesn't screw up and become a bad movie/game

ewjim
ewjim

Did't hear about those films... I think because they not popular (if even was) in Russian Federation.

RazMasters
RazMasters

Anyone who believes that "Gunnm," or "Battle Angel Alita" is "standard-fare" clearly hasn't read much of it. The anime, while an exciting and bloody action romp, isn't anything compared to the remarkably deep manga. Disappointingly, the first three volumes are the smallest and also the least detailed, for they are essentially an introduction to the series. From there on, it gets incredibly deep, delving into believeable scientific theory about the future of cybernetics and the related nanotechnologies (and as many know, sci-fi must be believeable and based on existing scientific theory or technology to be good). The problem is, Cameron stole the concept of "The Terminator" (and was sued and forced to pay royalties and give credit forevermore because of it), and after examining the "Gunnm" material he created the hideously laughable "Dark Angel." Clearly, the man has problems, and they're related to the filmmaking equivalent of the "four finger discount." I certainly hope that Kishiro is overseeing this in its entirety, for the introduction of one of the finest Japanese sci-fi manga series to the US in hideously bastardized form is the last thing we need...

hump
hump

Why couldn't cameron do a Battletech movie? The whole story arc is there, the subject matter kicks azz and Bt is a perfect match for an MMORPG. Instead we get Animae phaggotry.

ShockG707
ShockG707

All scripts of Avatar have vanished from the Internet and also hard copys from those who once had it per James's Lawyer. Its very likely Project 880 is Avatar simply because he confirms in this interview Project 880 will be the MMO game... http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_07/b3971073.htm Needless to say it wont be Battle Angel.

ShockG707
ShockG707

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Stan_Lee
Stan_Lee

Well, given his past success (after all, his Titanic movie still holds the no. 1 worldwide box-office record I believe), he will most definitely have the budget to pull it off, but I seriously don't want to see Jessica Alba (she was Dark Angel after all, another Cameron project) as Gally / Alita (if they retain the heroine's name). Yeah, she's cute and would physically fit the role but she's not a good actress ... sorry. Finally, I think Project 880 IS a cover for Avatar since Battle Angel has been named forthright.

EqualPlatinum
EqualPlatinum

Yeah well, the most insane action I can imagine can't be captured on film.

Hades-Sama
Hades-Sama

if it is Battle Angel Alita (Manga) then this well be a sad sad game T_T

CloudStrifeFFO7
CloudStrifeFFO7

Thats cool that some movie directors are working with games, hope it turns out to be good!

snyper16
snyper16

Sounds preety sweet- Cameron is one of the gretest visionary directors

unholygemini
unholygemini

Well considering James directed the legendary Aliens movie, I think anything game he is making should at least be "good."

topraman517
topraman517

My sister reads battle angel, I think. It seems like typical manga fare. I don't see why Mr. Cameron would want to do a film based on it.

i_love_my_ds
i_love_my_ds

it better be Avatar. the other one sounds dumb.

XlpranksterlX
XlpranksterlX

King Kong was a movie crossover and that game wasnt all that bad...

whitout
whitout

Well This seems good. James Cameron is a excellent director. I love his sci-fi movies.

daveg1
daveg1

should be interesting!!

seibei
seibei

Enter the Matrix Reloaded. But let's keep the faith

SapSacPrime
SapSacPrime

Have to agree that most American film convertions of Japanese anime or films turn out to completely ruin the origional for me. I hope I don't have to avoid this one it does sound promising at the moment.