THQ talks Saints Row movie, Red Faction SyFy series

Publishing exec Danny Bilson talks cross-media efforts, teases original IP game and movie in conjunction with major filmmaker.

by

THQ has big gaming tie-in plans for the future, and appropriately enough, it is starting with the 22nd-century sci-fi shooter series Red Faction. The publisher has teamed with the NBC Universal-owned cable channel SyFy to produce a two-hour movie pilot called Red Faction: Origins, which will air around the time Red Faction: Armageddon launches in March.

Red Faction Origins will debut as a two-hour TV movie next March but could become much more.

Danny Bilson, executive vice president of THQ's core gaming business, first revealed the publisher's latest trans-media plans in an investor's conference call during the Electronic Entertainment Expo, but recently discussed them in greater detail with GameSpot.

Bilson outlined several key aspects of its various gaming tie-ins, including Red Faction Origins, the upcoming Saints Row movie, and a De Blob kids' project with SyFy. Both the De Blob and Red Faction efforts will debut in March, with the Saints Row film expected around the time of the next game in the series next year. That will be the publisher's biggest trans-media effort to date, Bilson said, with the movie and game accompanied by Xbox Live and PlayStation Network content, collectible card games with digital code unlocks for the game, novelizations, apparel, and other tie-in merchandise.

While Saints Row worked best as a film (it's a little too R-rated for most TV networks, Bilson said), Red Faction Origins made perfect sense as a TV movie for SyFy.

"The thing with SyFy is they wanted to get in business with us on multiple things. We thought about what would be good for SyFy, and Red Faction felt like a no-brainer for a couple reasons," Bilson said. "One is that it's producible on a television budget. It takes place on a terraformed Mars where people can breathe and a lot of it is natural terrain with vehicles and spaceships and different factions."

Depending on how well Red Faction Origins turns out and performs, it could be expanded into a full TV season of episodes a la Battlestar Galactica. Bilson said the movie will tell a self-contained story, but one that is designed to push the fiction into a regular episodic format.

"All of these pieces are really to support the games," Bilson said. "They're not big revenue drivers or anything like that. It's really about how we can make the universe cool, give fans more access points to a game they enjoy, and how we can make a game more important when it comes out."

One thing that Bilson said separates THQ's efforts from those of its competitors is that announced projects will come to fruition much more consistently. Instead of licensing out its intellectual property or letting other people take it through the film development process, the publisher makes partnership deals with "guarantees to picture." As a result, THQ films should avoid the development purgatory that has claimed game-to-film adaptations like the Halo movie.

Despite that insistence on releasing finished products, Bilson said the company is mindful about the damage done by substandard tie-ins.

"One thing about trans-media is you can't have a bad piece because it ruins the whole thing," Bilson said, adding, "With these partnerships, if it's not good, we can stop it."

While THQ will continue pushing its existing intellectual properties into new media where it makes sense, Bilson said the publisher is also taking another approach to the idea. He said the company is working on a partnership with a "major filmmaker" that will see a game and film project for a new intellectual property developed jointly from the ground up, though specific details aren't yet ready to be announced.

Discussion

73 comments
pwii60
pwii60

@Tonylnthe602 they are still making the saints row 3 game it's coming out with the movie next time read all of it not just the title

TonyInThe602
TonyInThe602

I loved Saints Row 1 & 2 but WHY THA F**K WOULD THEY MAKE A SAINTS ROW MOVIE WHEN THEY COULD BE WORKING ON SAINTS ROW 3!!!!!

Hemmaroids
Hemmaroids

We don't need a XXXXXX SR movie.

Vividnightmare
Vividnightmare

Lets hope SyFy does a better job with Red Faction than with most of their made for TV movies. Hopefully it's done like Battlestar or Eureka, where it's put together with serious effort and not just cheap CGI for a quick toss onto the screen.

Urworstnhtmare
Urworstnhtmare

Red Faction as a film could really work. As a TV film however, I assume it would only be screened in the states...

fireycheeseball
fireycheeseball

Hopefully it will be better than what sharktopus looks like.

ANTHONYMVP2U
ANTHONYMVP2U

saints row movie sounds great folks*******

apsalar
apsalar

Hope SyFy create another hit with Red Faction like BattleStar Galactica hehe. BSG was just a mini series but it turned to 4 season epic ( in my opionion). Good luck THQ

grasshopper6
grasshopper6

I hope they don't make Red Faction too much PG on the dvd if it does come out, I'll get it

daihideo
daihideo

"Sci-Fi" produced movies are on the corny side from budget issues, but the plots have always been pretty interesting. Can't wait to take a gander at the RF movie, thanks THQ for at least thinking about the fans point of view for it not sucking.

The-Longshot
The-Longshot

I can see the redfaction series doing well as it already has a lot of consistent back story to it. But the saints row movie i think will probably just be a random gangland type movie with saints row plastered over it. Don't get me wrong tho I love saints row and the movie could definitely provide some entertainment as does the game, but in comparison i think the red faction stuff will do better then the saints row content but all will be enjoyable. Glad to see THQ is protecting their Intellectual Properties and not just whoring them out for cash.

Nintendo_Ownes7
Nintendo_Ownes7

At TxtBin if it is successful on SyFy it will probably last atleast 4-5 seasons. Which is a pretty long run for a Sci-Fi series the longest run for a Sci-Fi show was 10 years that was Stargate SG-1 but it started out on Showtime for 5 years then moved to Sci-Fi (Syfy) for 5 more years.

TxtBin
TxtBin

I personally feel that a Red Faction TV series will be rather successful. There are many shwos like Doctor Who, Smallville and other stuff which have been running for long and they all are based on sci-fi/action genres, and since Red Faction has a huge amount of topics to cover, it will have a lengthy run. The only thing I'm not so sure about is the channel it is to be aired on. If it was aired on a more popular channel, it will gain more revenue and wont suffer a short run. On the other hand, THQ is playing it safe by avoiding larger corporations like MTV who are very likely to chop off most the flesh of the show and just produce a toned down version of what originally intended to be produced to save up on costs but the views will be very short. A Saints Row movie will probably be a success as long as they have a good cast and a strong technical team. No cheap stunts and all that cause then its pointless. I've wanted a GTA film for years now but they didnt bother. I agree that its risky but anything is possible in a world full of criminal activities and a very strong plot can be formed if a bunch of talented folks could weave something spectacular. I can think of several crime stories which will become huge hits at the box office so it wont be too hard as long as they keep the ideas fesh and loosely base it on the games. If they just plan to remake the plot of one of the games, it'll most likely be an epic flop.

SunOfAtom
SunOfAtom

Don't get me wrong - Saints Row 2 was a good game. However, its success doesn't warrant a whole movie (GTA has never produced a film). Add in the fact that not a lot of people have actually played SR2 and you have a choice - either stick with the main plot and storyline to appease fans of the series and perhaps take in less money, or expand and edit and cut for the majority audience. I'm not holding out any hope for the former...

ribtor
ribtor

The guys who should be making the movies are the same guys who make the trailers to some of the huge MMORPG and the blockbuster games. Pre-production trailers to games like WAR and The Old Republic are always WAY better then the games. They should have skipped making WAR and just made a 2 hour feature film like the trailers. Movies that are based on post production games almost always suck, aka Hitman.

5-0
5-0

All of these are probably going to suck. That's just how things are with videogame movies.

Pete5506
Pete5506

I really see no point in doing any of this

856891
856891

come on theres been plenty of saints row inspired movies

outthere12
outthere12

Saints row movie will be frkkin awesome.

EA_LOVER
EA_LOVER

may be redfaction but not saints row bad story

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

Wouldn't redfaction origins be the story from the first game? Or more likely a prequel to that which would mean mars hasn't been teraformed yet..... I smell fail in the plot already which is a shame

Lizardskin7
Lizardskin7

@Death_182: I greed with you 100% man... Saint's Row would probably just turn out to be a generic action movie... like there aren't 3824 of those out there already...

Death_182
Death_182

Not so interested in the saints row movie, but the Red Faction SyFy sounds pretty cool.

jedediahpelland
jedediahpelland

@Ruffin316, I was sorta imagining Lou Diamond Phillips as Johnny Gat, but whatever, this seems like it would be a pretty cheesy movie.

RGDT021
RGDT021

The s#!^ spraying scene's gonna pwn!

iceeman
iceeman

total waste of money. save the money instead for better games.

X-7
X-7

Cool. I like RF Guerilla. Here's hoping for a good movie and show.

eriktkire
eriktkire

If there were money on the table I'd go for the odds that say this will set a profound new low in game-to-movie adaptations. Why is it big money makes so many game companies make the stupidest decisions!?! "It's really about how we can make the universe cool, give fans more access points to a game they enjoy, and how we can make a game more important when it comes out." So he's saying A) it's a commercial, B) it's a commercial, and C) the game isn't going to be good enough to suck you in on its own?

ActionHero29
ActionHero29

syfy movies are terrible. chances are the red faction movie is gonna have a supergater or giant cgi spiders running around eating bad actors

Alex_09
Alex_09

THQ... I thought you were better than this... Taking money away from development and putting it into this kind of wasteful marketting? Saints Row 3 is going to be amazing if they give the graphics a major overhaul, not that anyone who doesn't like the series will listen. It seems some people get confused about the fact you don't actually have to decide between GTA and Saints Row, and have the right to own and/or like both.

HammerOFdawn
HammerOFdawn

Red Faction should be interesting. I don't know about Saints Row though.

gearbear94
gearbear94

don't care about the saints row movie, but i think the red faction show could have a chance of being good

kejigoto
kejigoto

As cool as it sounds to see the universes of these games expanded, something tells me that anything that involves the Sci Fi Channel (that is the proper name, not that terrible way of spelling it....) means it is going to be absolutely horrible with some of the worst acting to date. It has been quite some time since I've been impressed with anything Sci Fi has done and to me when you add in an Video Game based story that is just tripling your chances for something bad coming out. Most video game movies = bad Most shows/movies from Sci Fi Channel = bad Video Game Movie/Show from Sci Fi Channel = An abomination

styymy
styymy

Enough with all this movie and SyFy series talk, where's Homeworld 3??

snake3rules
snake3rules

Gotta worry when the first reason they say they decided on a red faction tv series is the cheap budget.... And RE a saints row movie... really?! Generic gang shooter is the definition of a stupid property to develop.... not t mention lack of a lead character (as customizable means no face or name tied to the property in peoples minds) ... its just dumb.

Ruffin316
Ruffin316

What the hell would a SR movie even be about? A ghetto Godfather knock-off with Samuel L. Jackson as Julius, Donnie Yen as Johnny Gat, and Kelly Hu as Lin? Actually... those people as the characters doesn't sound too bad. I dunno how I came up with that. :D

dillon_o4
dillon_o4

Saint's Row = a fun gta Saint's Row movie = another horrible step in game to movie adaptations

Titoforu
Titoforu

saints row 1 & 2 are good but this is just dumb a movie come on.. jesus lets hear about the 3rd already i mean the game is going to be 59.99, with that money you open up your mouth and tell me wtf is going on.

shemrom
shemrom

If Red Fraction turns into a tv series like Battle star galactica on syfy. I would watch that

death_dealerK
death_dealerK

i would watch a saint's row movie since the second game was fun

tyeman64
tyeman64

I would buy Saints Row branded tampons and Im a male. Im buying everything

MrJack3690
MrJack3690

@Megawizard1 Lol! I dunno I think its pretty entertaining watching those movies, they're so bad and corny its hilarious