EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films has signed Scott Derrickson to direct Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the screen adaptation of the iconic Square Enix video game. Derrickson, who has had a hot hand recently in helming the hits Sinister and The Exorcism Of Emily Rose, will write the script with his Sinister co-writer C. Robert Cargill. Roy Lee and Adrian Askarieh will produce, and John P. Middleton is exec producer.

The setting is the near future, when dramatic advances in human augmentation have triggered a technological renaissance. The protagonist, an ex-SWAT security specialist named Adam Jensen, must embrace mechanical augments in order to unravel a global conspiracy.

Deus Ex is a phenomenal cyberpunk game with soul and intelligence,” said Derrickson. “By combining amazing action and tension with big, philosophical ideas, Deus Ex is smart, ballsy, and will make one hell of a movie. Cargill and I can’t wait to bring it to the big screen.”

I’m told that Derrickson and Cargill are serious about the lore of this game. In fact, they sat there and played through, all the way to the finish, before taking the meeting that ended up in this deal. The video game franchise launched in 2000 and its latest entry, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, has been a top-seller and will be the template for the film. The game was developed by Eidos-Montréal and published by Square Enix. CBS Films’ Maria Faillace and Alex Ginno are overseeing the film. Derrickson and Cargill are represented by WME and Brillstein.

This is the third major game that has made a significant move forward into features, after New Regency agreed to finance an adaptation of the Ubisoft game Assassin’s Creed that will star Michael Fassbender, and Tom Hardy became attached to star in a feature based on Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell. The video game-to-feature transfers have been a mixed bag and some of these films have been disappointments. But there was a time when movies made out of Marvel superhero characters totally sucked, and now every one of them is a blockbuster — an evolution that began when Marvel got its act together under Avi Arad and then Kevin Feige. As game companies become more discerning in how their hit properties get adapted, it is possible we’re heading for a golden age of game-based features?