You may have gotten awfully excited today when you read that not only is JJ Abrams talking to Valve about making a game, he's also talking about making a movie with the studio.
That's OK! Perfectly understandable. He's a talented guy, and the prospect of seeing Gordon Freeman on the silver screen is enough to get most people smiling.
But reading the news, I couldn't help but feel that Abrams and Newell had shown their hands too early. And in doing so, they're setting up a whole lot of people for a whole lot of heartache.
If you actually look at what Abrams and Newell said, it's a relationship at the earliest, most tentative stages. A game idea they'd like to work on, a pair of movie projects that Abrams is "going to be bringing on a writer" for. That's it. No contracts, no titles, no press releases.
As we've outlined before, the chances of a project advancing from this early stage to the silver screen are remote. At best. Hell, even most movies that get directors and writers officially attached, and studio backing, fail to materialise.
And that's before you even take into account how busy Abrams is going to be over the next decade doing, oh, Star Wars and Star Trek.
That's Hollywood for you. Budget realities and schedule conflict are bad news for the majority of aspiring projects. But it's also how the video game business works. There are way more games that are killed off in their early stages than ever reach the market. We see, on an almost monthly basis, how games with large staffs, completed assets and trailers are canned; if you could see the bodies of the number of projects terminated while still on the drawing board, it would make you weep.
So Abrams and Valve boss Gabe Newell coming out and "announcing" both projects so early is an odd move. Maybe they're trying to drum up interest/support amongst fans. Maybe they're trying to show movie studios there's a market here. Whatever the reason, the mere fact they spoke about them (and yes, I know Abrams dropped caveats like "it's as real as anything in Hollywood ever gets") is setting a lot of people up for disappointment if, as the laws of probability would have it, either one or both projects fails to ever materialise.
Who knows, though. In the year 2027, as we mourn the death of home consoles and play games in our flying cars, we may also look back on how awesome JJ Abrams' Half Portal Trek Wars was on the St3ambox, and only regret slightly how much money we spent on the 4K 3D home version of the Half-Life movie trilogy.
If after all this salt you still want to dream about that future, go ahead. I just don't see it happening.
Sorry if you see this as pissing on your parade. I'm not trying to hurt you in the short-term. I'm just trying to help your poor heart out in the long-term! It's hard enough waiting for Half-Life 3 as it is. Adding more Valve projects to the watchlist might just be too much to bear.