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Watch Dogs movie begins filming, and we hope it continues the streak of good video game adaptations

Published Jul 3rd, 2024 8:06PM EDT
London as presented in Watch Dogs: Legion.
Image: Ubisoft

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The past few years have completely changed our perception of video game adaptations. Once seen as cynical cash grabs or inevitable disasters, video game movies and shows have started to reach the same level of mainstream success as comic book adaptations. Despite the notable sea change, we still have yet to see a live-action video game movie receive any critical acclaim. Could the upcoming Watch Dogs movie be the first to reach that peak?

Watch Dogs is an open-world video game series about hackers who find themselves entangled in the criminal underworlds of their respective cities. Back in 2013, rumors of a Watch Dogs film began to swirl online, and a year later, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (Zombieland, Deadpool) were hired to write a script for a movie based on Ubisoft’s first game.

Years went by without a single update. At best, the movie was stuck in development hell. More likely, Ubisoft had decided to scrap it altogether. But then, last month, a surprise blog post over on Ubisoft’s website revealed that not only was the movie still happening, but that it had a new writer, a director, two stars, and an original story to tell.

“New Regency announced today that Tom Blyth (The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes) and Sophie Wilde (Talk to Me) have been cast in the film,” Ubisoft confirmed. Plus, the video game studio claimed the movie would “feature an original story set in the Watch Dogs universe” and “begin production later this summer.”

True to their word, the movie officially began shooting this week, as a post on X revealed:

Christie LeBlanc (Oxygen) wrote the screenplay for the Watch Dogs movie, and French director Mathieu Turi (The Deep Dark) is directing the adaptation.

Now that we know this is not going to be a direct adaptation of any of the games, I’m excited to see what they do with this universe. There have been three Watch Dogs games — Watch Dogs (2014), Watch Dogs 2 (2016), and Watch Dogs: Legion (2020) — each of which follows a hacker manipulating the Central Operating System (CTOS) that manages the city’s infrastructure. What about a high-tech Ocean’s Eleven set in that universe?

There’s no telling if Watch Dogs will be the next Fallout or The Last of Us, but the bar is higher than it was when Ubisoft was first kicking around the idea. I’m hopeful this movie continues the upward trajectory video game adaptations are already on.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.