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Ubisoft: The Division Netflix film with Gyllenhaal and Chastain; Apple game comedy from Always Sunny alums
In what’s shaping up to be a surprisingly gift-rich E3 this year, Ubisoft naturally hit the stage with tons of new gaming goodies. But it’s the fresh TV-gaming partnerships with major streaming players that may end up stealing the biggest spotlight.
During its update on what’s in store for Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Ubisoft announced that Netflix is developing a movie rooted in the game series’ post-outbreak urban setting — and that it’ll be packing some serious star power.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain will star in the currently untitled feature-length movie, which Variety reports will go back to the devastated New York cityscape of 2016’s The Division game, instead of the Washington D.C. ruins of this year’s The Division 2. Deadpool 2 and Hobbs & Shaw director David Leitch will helm the Division movie, with Rafe Judkins (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) adapting the screenplay.
The Netflix version sounds like a close parallel of the original game’s story: Just before Christmas, a chunk of the population becomes infected with a pandemic virus that rapidly reduces New York City (and the rest of the nation) to an apocalyptic, chaotically lawless wasteland. It’s up to the uninfected to take on a heroic role by uniting in a paramilitary effort to institute order, without losing out to the darker forces taking advantage of all the mayhem — and resisting their own inner demons at the same time.
There’s no early word on a release date, so stay tuned for more info about Netflix’s new foray into Tom Clancy’s dystopian world.
Apple TV+ also saw something it liked in Ubisoft’s behind-the-scenes development culture, because it sent It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Rob McElhenney out onto the stage during Ubisoft’s E3 press conference to unveil a brand-new comedy about the trials and absurdities of making video games.
Starring McElhenney and guided by key players from the Always Sunny creative team, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet looks at first glance like it’ll fall somewhere in the comedic Venn diagram where Silicon Valley, The Office, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia intersect. McElhenney stars as Ian Grimm, the creative director of a fictional MMORPG called Mythic Quest, who finds himself at a crossroads on the eve of the launch of Raven’s Banquet — the biggest expansion yet for the world’s most popular online game.
McElhenney joked that his game-creating character fancies himself ready for the sort of cultural relevance that historically veers toward towering film directors like Steven Spielberg and James Cameron, a conceit that actually showed up in the show’s preview trailer. “Like most of the creative directors I’ve met, [Grimm] has the ego the size of a city bus,” McElhenney told the E3 crowd, adding that he’s “going to get my ass kicked backstage” for saying that … because there are lot of creative directors here.”
Apple TV+ is expected to launch this fall, so stay tuned for more news about Mythic Quest’s release date.
Finally, Jon Bernthal showed up on Ubisoft’s E3 stage (accompanied by an adorable dog) to remind the gaming-focused audience that these TV-gaming crossovers can work in the other direction, too.
Bernthal introduced an all-new preview trailer for Ghost Recon Breakpoint, showcasing even more of his new Wolf character in the upcoming next installment in the sci-fi-tinged gaming series.
“I’m enormously proud to be part of the development of this game,” said Bernthal, whose new character sports a spot-on in-game likeness of his real self. “I’ve had the chance to play some pretty strong, tough men over the years,” he added, referencing his roles on both The Walking Dead and The Punisher. “Now I get to play Cole D. Walker” — an ex-Ghost who’s gone rogue, recruiting other dark agents to his team of “wolves” to battle for control of the Skell Tech headquarters on the fictional Pacific island chain of Auroa.
Bernthal’s gritty new bad guy arrives when Ghost Recon Breakpoint hits the streets this Oct. 4 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Ubisoft also revealed that an invite-only beta launch goes live on Sept. 5; you can register for a chance to jump in early over at the Breakpoint sign-up page.