The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Sega's mostly-dead Shinobi franchise is being turned into a film. The movie is being developed by Marc Platt Productions and Sega's Stories International, Inc. Marc Platt, Adam Seigel, and Stories president Tomoya Suzuki will produce the film. Platt's previous film adaptations include Into the Woods and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
"We love the Shinobi games and believe that the world of ninjas has never been properly explored onscreen. We now have the opportunity to do just that. With Shinobi, we hope to make a film that honors the essence of the games and brings this fascinating world to life for moviegoing audiences," said Platt in a statement.
Sega's ninja franchise started in 1987 with the first Shinobi game. The series has had a number of popular entries, including The Revenge of Shinobi, Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master, and 2002's Shinobi reboot. The franchise was ushered into obsolescence by 2011's Shinobi 3D.
That same year, Sega established the Stories International subsidiary to adapt its intellectual properties to film, television, and other mediums. At the end of 2014, the studio hired Break Media director Evan Cholfin to work with Stories president Tomoya Suzuki and ramp up production on film properties. Stories has pushed Altered Beast, Streets of Rage, Crazy Taxi, and Rise of Nightmares to the front of the list for adaptations, but Virtua Fighter and Golden Axe are also on the company's radar.
Of course, the big problem here is that there's really not much to adapt with Shinobi. The series theoretically stars ninja Joe Musashi against the assorted forces of evil, but Musashi doesn't really have a personality. Quick: name three things about Joe Musashi other than the fact that he's a ninja and he fought cheap clones of Spider-Man and Batman? This is pretty much taking a name and creating something completely new. There's no fans that will harp on this not being a faithful translation.
So bring on Joe Musashi as a college-aged young man who finds out he's the heir to secret ninja powers. I look forward to Altered Beast, the story of a crack team of soldiers that can change into wereanimals; Crazy Taxi, a funny comedy about one man and his Uber driver; or Streets of Rage, a gritty look at the downfall of Detroit, Michigan. Get crazy, Sega.