Yes, indeed, “Gears of War” as a movie is again a possibility.

A spokesperson for Cary-based Epic Games tells WRALTechWire that the videogame company is in fact working with a big-name producer in another attempt to take “Gears of War” to movie screens.

“We are working with Scott Stuber to explore the possibility of a Gears of War movie,” Epic’s public relations manager Wes Phillips says. “And that’s all we have to say for now!”

The confirmation came after Hollywood news site Variety reported that a Gears movie deal was in the works and that Epic had struck an agreement with Stuber.

As a producer, Stuber has extensive credits dating back to 2006. As Wikipedia notes, he has worked on a range of films ranging from comedy to action:

  • The Break-Up 
  • You, Me and Dupree
  • The Kingdom
  • Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins
  • Role Models
  • Love Happens
  • Couples Retreat
  • The Wolfman
  • Repo Men
  • Love & Other Drugs
  • Your Highness
  • Safe House
  • Battleship
  • Ted
  • Identity Thief
  • 47 Ronin

The “Gears of War” franchise has produced more than $1 billion in sales and sold some 19 million copies over four versions of the game, but despite its popularity the Gears’ team of heroes has not transitioned to Hollywood’s big screen. 

Varietyfirst reported that Epic was near a deal with red-hot producer Scott Stuber to put together a script and find a studio.

Gears fans have heard similar stories in the past, the most promising of all being a 2007 agreement with Peter Jackson, the award-winning director for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and New Line Cinema. But the deal fell apart, reportedly due to a squabble over control of the story.

But even with Stuber, getting Gears onto the screen is not a done deal, Variety’s Justin Kroll noted.

“The project has yet to attach talent, writer or distributor, although Stuber does have a first look deal with Universal,” he says. “Both parties will begin taking it out to studios.”

Kroll reports that negotiations about the Gears project began “six months ago.”

The talks thus began as Epic was going through a change in leadership following the acquisition of a 40 percent stake in the company by China-based Internet giant Tencent for some $300 million. Epic President Mike Capps stepped down in December. Creative lead Cliff Bleszinski, a major force behind Gears’ development, had left earlier.

But co-founder Tim Sweeney remains chief executive officer, and he brought in Paul Meegan, formerly president of LucasArts, just before Capps left. 

Even if a deal is struck, few videogame franchises translate well onto movie screens. 

“In many cases, the videogame companies are adamant about having control over the project when rights are sold, and insiders say the reason for meetings taking such a long time may have to do with working out how much control would be allowed on the projects,” Variety notes. 

For Gears fans, hopefully this Hollywood contract saga will have a happier ending. 

[EPIC GAMES ARCHIVE: Check out more than a decade of Epic stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]