Although it was well received upon its release in 2005, 2K Games' Shattered Union made little impact in the industry and served as developer PopTop Software's swan song before being folded into fellow 2K subsidiary Firaxis Games. So it comes as some surprise that more than four years after it came and went with little fanfare, Variety is reporting that the turn-based strategy title is in development as a feature film, and with some big names behind it.
According to the trade, Jerry Bruckheimer's production company has enlisted Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski to adapt the game. Straczynski is also writing a feature film based on Marvel Comics' Silver Surfer and is working on another project based on the zombie apocalypse novel World War Z. The writer's diverse background stretches into other media as well, with runs on the Amazing Spider-Man and Thor comics, as well as Saturday-morning cartoon fare He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors.
Where many game-to-movie projects give filmmakers precious little story to work with, Straczynski will be working from a detailed blueprint with overt political overtones. The Shattered Union plot begins in 2008 with a virtually tied US presidential election. The man who makes it in to the White House, by virtue of a Congressional decision, goes on to polarize the nation. Public protests lead to riots, which become domestic terrorism. A Supreme Court ruling hands the unpopular incumbent the 2012 elections, but the 2013 inauguration is interrupted by a nuclear bomb detonating in Washington, DC. With the president and most of Congress dead, the country sinks into chaos, and Texas and California secede. European peacekeepers sent to DC become embroiled in the fiasco, and before long seven different factions are fighting for control of the United States.
The Shattered Union movie is by no means Bruckheimer's only link to the gaming world. The producer has seen many of his hits adapted into interactive entertainment, from Top Gun to Pirates of the Caribbean. He's also behind the in-development movie adaptation of Prince of Persia, and in 2007 he established Jerry Bruckheimer Game Studio with MTV Games. Described as a "game incubation studio," the operation conceives of games but tries to find external partners to actually develop them.