It’s been a long, strange twenty years since id Software blew up PC gaming with Wolfenstein 3D. In the intervening years, id grew from a scrappy gang of twenty somethings to PC gaming technology trailblazers to a faded subsidiary of Bethesda. That individual game’s legacy is greater than that of its creators, though. It is the software that launched a thousand ships, making the first-person shooter the single most common mainstream game. While Wolfenstein’s domain is now ruled by the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Halo 4, the franchise lives on. At least, that is, on the silver screen.
Roger Avary, Quentin Tarantino’s one-time writing partner on Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, and Pulp Fiction, is teaming up with production company Panorama Media to write a Wolfenstein movie.
“I’ve been playing the Wolfenstein games since I was a kid, and feel that their outlandish sensibility has deeply influenced my own writing and directing throughout my career,” said Avary, “I have always thought Wolfenstein, transformed and opened for the screen to wider audiences not familiar with the games, would be a major cinematic experience, which why I introduce it to (producer Samuel Hadida). He bought the rights, and I could not be happier that we are now embarking on this adventure.”
This isn’t the first time that Avary has attempted to embark on said adventure. After writing the screenplay for the moderately successful 2006 movie Silent Hill (and not its flop sequel from this fall), Avary announced in 2007 that he would make a screen adaptation of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, the 2001 sequel to Wolfenstein 3D.
That version never came to pass since, after finishing work on Beowulf in 2007, Avary was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter after getting in an accident that killed a passenger in his car. He was sentenced to 1 year in a work furlough facility but spent the last eight months of his sentence in 2010 in Ventura County Jail.
While Avary’s Silent Hill adaptation was a poor representation of that game, the man’s roots in pulp violence are an ideal fit for the schlocky Wolfenstein series. These are games in which a man fights a giant robot Adolf Hitler after all.