Paul WS Anderson is the director of Mortal Kombat (but not the sequel, so, kudos) and the first Resident Evil pic (ditto, though he's returning for the fourth installment). He's also the producer of DOA: Dead or Alive and the development hell-bound Castlevania movie (which he was also going to direct until he left the project for Death Race, which was basically Carmageddon starring the bloke from Crank). He's just announced that after all these movies based on videogames, he finally wants to just out and make the games themselves. So whose footsteps will he be following?
Lord of the Rings, King Kong
Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
How'd he do?
Pretty well. The unwieldy vanity title – presumably meant to distinguish the game from John Guillermin's King Kong: The Official Game of the Notorious 1976 Flop - may have left out the game's most important element: Jackson's cohort, Beyond Good & Evil designer Michel Ancel.
That's no slight against the director: his skilful choice of collaborators has always been a strength, and Jackson's work with Ancel was well-received, matching the filmmaker's explosive populism with the designer's falutin' gaming sensibilities for the best of both worlds.
Give up the day job? Not just yet. PJKK:TOGotM was followed by the announcement that Middle Earth would become Halo, with Jackson working on both cinematic and videogame installments in Bungie's franchise from his homebase in Wellington, New Zealand. However, when funding was pulled, Halo's would-be director Neil Blomkamp made District 9 instead, and Jackson's Wingnut Interactive ceased work on the planned game to develop their own IP.
The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Speed Racer
Enter The Matrix, The Matrix: Path of Neo
How'd they do?
Not so great. While fans would generally agree that the later Matrix movies killed the brand fairly well on their own, Enter the Matrix – released between the second and third movies – was an early sign that things weren't going to end well for the franchise. The game was confused, clunky and damn-near unplayable upon release; the less ambitious follow-up, The Matrix: Path of Neo, tried to appease slighted fans, but succeeded only by raising the bar from “godawful” to merely “mediocre”.
Give up the day job?
While that day job's not going so great itself – Speed Racer was poorly received, and the duo don't seem in a hurry to recapture the success of their early hits, Bound and the original Matrix – Wachowski and Wachowski's efforts aren't geared toward future games. Juggling production duties on films like Ninja Assassin with their comics imprint, Burlyman Entertainment, the pair show no signs of inflicting another Enter the Matrix on the gaming industry any time soon.
Herbie, The Emperor, THX 1138, American Graffiti, Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
How'd he do?
Lucas has long been closely involved with games based on his IP: when developing little-known sci-fi sleeper Star Wars, he lobbied to retain the rights to all merchandise and tie-ins, and the profits from the resultant games alone – with Lucas often serving as writer or consultant - could probably pay off the national debt of several small nations. The Force Unleashed, boasting writing and production by Lucas, polarized Star Wars fans, pitting rabid acolytes against disappointed old-schoolers... which is to say, it did as well as any of Lucas's recent movies.
Give up the day job?
Lucas's game studio, LucasArts Entertainment Company, boasts some of the best credentials of its day. If Lucas's day job could best be described as “Chairman of LucasArts with sidelines in filmmaking and beard cultivation,” then the best advice to the director (you know, cause we're such Hollywood kingmakers and all) would be to keep running the studio, pausing only to release the occasional Star Wars remaster (because poking sci-fi geeks is funny).