According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film will be a mix of CGI and live action. What the storyline will entail is unknown, because the game itself has none. Like many simulation games, RollerCoaster Tycoon is about building and maintaining the best infrastructure possible — in this case, amusement parks — not interacting with characters.
So let’s count off game-based movies whose plots are a mystery. I previously wrote about Universal’s plans to make a movie based on the arcade classic Asteroids. Since then, Warner has negotiated with Taito to make a Space Invaders film and is working on a Spy Hunter movie, and Fox is trying to get the rights to Missile Command. None of these games have more than one line of narrative or any iconic characters.
Ostensibly, the studios are interested in these movies because they’re low-risk. The utter lack of plot affords a blank canvas for generic spy drama, space opera or family fun, and the recognizable video game franchises automatically raise the profile of the films (Case in point: I wouldn’t be writing about any of them if they had nothing to do with video games).
But maybe these films are risky business after all. There’s no past experience to draw on here, as these are not traditional game-to-movie adaptations where the narrative is set and fan interest is a given. The studios are seeking production rights and starting development with no guarantee that people are going to buy the concept. It’s entirely possible that people will recognize these films as hollow attempts to capitalize on nostalgia and brand recognition, but no one knows, because no one’s tried.
So the question is, who goes first? I’m sure all the studios are anxious to see whether plundering plotless video games was a good idea after all.