Paramount Television and Anonymous Content announced today an option for the rights to Electronic Arts' Battlefield franchise. Spotlight producer and The Knick executive producer Michael Sugar will work on the potential show with Anonymous Content's Ashley Zalta. If Anonymous Content doesn't ring a bell, it's the film and television production company that's been a part of shows like Mr. Robot, True Detective, and Schitt's Creek. Odd pedigree for Battlefield.
"Paramount TV actively seeks smart content from all sectors that will resonate with audiences and translate to compelling programming," said Paramount TV president Amy Powell. "EA's Battlefield has an incredibly dynamic narrative, coupled with a loyal fan base, which will allow us to bring this exciting and unique property to the small screen. We look forward to working with EA and Anonymous Content and thank Michael Sugar for his tenacity in bringing us this exciting project."
"Battlefield has a tremendous built-in, engaged fan base, making it a highly coveted piece of IP primed for long-form adaptation," said Sugar. "Together with EA and Paramount TV, we'll develop the Battlefield TV series with the same commitment to robust storytelling that has made the game such a runaway success for nearly fifteen years."
Of course, the truth is that this television show will likely carry the Battlefield name and not much else. Narratively, there's no specific thing to hang the series' hat on. Most of the games are largely unconnected: Battlefield 1 takes place during World War I, Battlefield: Hardline was a story of modern-day police, Battlefield 4 was about a military coup d'etat in China, and Battlefield 3 took place in the Middle East. There's no shared characters and given the series' multiplayer online focus, I doubt many Battlefield players have the same connection to Battlefield's single-player campaign cast that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare players have with "Soap" MacTavish or Captain Price.
Activision Blizzard seemed to have the right idea when they announced Activision Blizzard Studios to bring its properties to the big screen. At the time, the studio announced a "robust cinematic universe" based around Call of Duty. A couple of military action films seems like a solid idea for Call of Duty as a brand. Battlefield as a television show is more of a question mark for me.
Execution is everything though. Paramount and Anonymous Content could turn out an amazing, thought-provoking television series with the name Battlefield. They could make Banshee - which is an awesome show - with a new name and more military bent. There's many ways this can go and not all of them are bad.