When the Mythic Quest television series was first announced, I really didn’t think it would be that great, but he was. When early images of Henry Cavill as Geralt from Netflix’s The Witcher series first surfaced, I thought, Wow, that doesn’t really look good — but it was! So now that Ubisoft has announced that it’s working on a live-action series based on Driver, I have to wonder, will it surprise me too?
Not that there’s anything wrong with Driver, and it’s actually a fairly obvious candidate for a TV translation: The original game tells the story of a former race car driver who turns out to be an NYPD detective to take down a notorious crime syndicate. goes undercover as a getaway driver. What makes this an odd choice is that the series has been morbid for a decade. We quite liked Driver: San Francisco, giving it an 80% score in our review, but this was in 2011 and aside from a 3DS game in 2014, there’s no peeps from the series. A new Driver game was in development at one point, but it was eventually replaced by the Watch Dogs series we know now.
So why postpone it now, when we haven’t even caught a glimpse of a new driver game in a decade? One possibility is that Ubisoft may want to test the waters of live show development without losing any of its heavyweights. The driver series is being developed for binge.com, a streaming platform set to go live in 2022 dedicated to “original series and shows made for gaming fans.” That’s a small audience compared to what you’d get from more mainstream platforms like Netflix or Apple TV.
“Our mission at Ubisoft is to bring our games to life in new and exciting ways and set content across the world, culture and community of gaming,” said Danielle Krenik, Ubisoft Head of Television, Film and TV Development. “Working with Binge will allow us to bring a driver series straight to the audiences who are most passionate about seeing this franchise come to life.”
(Cynics might also suggest that there’s a Ubisoft executive somewhere who really enjoys jerking around fans of their older, neglected games, but I don’t want to get into such things.)
To be completely fair, I can see where this chainring could be good, although your mileage may vary on your definition of “good” here. For example, I’d love to see a quirky 1970s style: keep the cars, clothing, and gutter, eschew casual racism and sexism. At the same time, though, I can’t help but wonder, if Ubisoft doesn’t just make a new driver game so eager to do right by “passionate” driver audiences.
Ubisoft’s driver series doesn’t have a release target yet, but more details will be revealed “at a later date.” For now, here are five minutes of Ryan O’Neill dodging the cops in the 1978 flick The Driver—a film sometimes credited with providing the “thematic inspiration” for Ubisoft’s game series. is, as well as, possibly, the name.