Minecraft Movie Is "Large-Budget," Might Not Arrive Until 2018

Mojang stresses it's still early days for film based on its seminal world-builder.

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The upcoming Minecraft movie from Harry Potter studio Warner Bros. is a "large-budget" production, but is still very much in the early days of development. In a new interview, Minecraft creator Mojang COO Vu Bui said the movie--which will be produced by The Lego Movie's Roy Lee--might not be released until 2017 or 2018. "I still have no idea," he said in an interview with The Guardian.

As for why Mojang decided to partner with Warner Bros. for the Minecraft movie, Bui said he got the impression that the company was looking to make a movie that respected the source material instead of one that made a quick buck off one of hottest brands in gaming.

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"We were approached by so many studios, but after talking to Warner Bros, we decided that this are absolutely the team we want to work with," Bui said. "They respect the brand, respect the IP, and want to make something that is going to be awesome, not just capitalize on the success of the game."

Pressed for further details about the movie, such as if it will be live-action and if so, who might star in it, Bui deflected. "A movie takes years, especially a large-budget movie like this. It's still in the beginning stages, and there really isn't a clear picture yet of what this is going to be. Once there is, I'm sure we'll share more."

Bui was more forthcoming regarding the story--at least at a high level--that the Minecraft movie will tell. He made it clear that, just like the game, whatever narrative is decided on for the film will represent just one possibility. After all, part of Minecraft's success is the way it doesn't push gamers into one avenue or another. This freedom will be reflected in the movie.

"We don't want any story that we make, whether it's a movie or a book, to create some sort of 'this is the official Minecraft, this is how you play the game' thing," he said. "That would discourage all the players who don't play in that way. When coming up with a story [for the movie], we want to make sure it is just a story within Minecraft, as opposed to the story within Minecraft."

In September, Xbox company Microsoft acquired Mojang and the Minecraft franchise in a deal worth $2.5 billion. Mojang's three founders, including Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson, will leave the Swedish studio when the deal closes, which is expected to happen by the end of 2014.

The Minecraft film is one of many video game movies currently in development. Ubisoft has a total of six films in the pipeline, including movies based on Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs, and Splinter Cell. Meanwhile, Sony is making a Last of Us movie, Konami is moving forward on a film based on Metal Gear Solid, Blizzard Entertainment has its Warcraft movie, and an Angry Birds film is scheduled for 2016. On top of those, new movies based on Capcom franchises Resident Evil and Dead Rising are in the works.

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