Way back in 2013, it was reported that Valve CEO Gabe Newell and Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J Abrams had been in discussions about making a movie based on either Portal or Half-Life. Since this announcement, there hasn’t been much news about the project, but Abrams has just stated that movies set in both game worlds are still in the works.
In an interview with IGN about 10 Cloverfield Lane, which Abrams produced, he was asked if he could give a status update for the movies. "Not yet, but they're in development, and we've got writers, and we're working on both those stories. But nothing that would be an exciting update,” Abrams said, confirming their existence.
Newell had talked about a Half-Life movie long before the 2013 DICE Summit announcement. In 2010, the CEO complained about the pitches he had received from production companies looking to cash-in on the Half-Life name.
"Their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of."
As IGN points out, 10 Cloverfield Lane is directed by Dan Trachtenberg, who rose to fame partly thanks to his 2011 short fan movie Portal: No Escape. He hasn’t been linked to the Abrams Portal project, but Trachtenberg does seem like he’d be a good fit.
Barring a handful of exceptions, movies based on video games have a history of being pretty terrible; one of the more recent examples, Hitman: Agent 47, scored 28 percent on Metacritic and just 8 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. But having Abrams tied to the projects should make people optimistic that they’ll be worthy of their respective names.
While the Half-Life and Portal projects may be “in development,” there’s no guarantee that they’ll ever become a reality. How well some of the upcoming movies based on games – such as Warcraft – perform could be a factor in whether we’ll ever see Gordon Freeman and Chell on the big screen.
Half-Life and Portal movies fan-made posters
Credit: Tristan Reidford Art
Credit: Sean Keenan