WarGames, the Oscar-nominated 1983 classic, has been in reboot talks for some time. The original film centers on a teenage computer hacker (Matthew Broderick) who accidentally begins a countdown to WWIII after hacking into a government computer to play a "game" called global thermonuclear war. In order to stop the program, he needs to convince the computer to shut it down.
The most recent news on WarGames came today from MGM, who owns the rights to the story. MGM has now cut a co-production deal with New York based interactive-video company Interlude to create an interactive digital short based on the movie. However, there's no fresh news on the feature-length remake, for the time being.
The companies describe the WarGames interactive video as a modern take on the original, melding the interactive elements of a video game with the cinematic experience of a movie. They announced that the interactive short will have entirely new plot lines and characters - but the plot has yet to be decided. The one things execs have been clear on is that the viewer will be in control of the experience, and repeat viewings will be rewarded as the story will change with new choices.
Interlude’s patented technology makes it possible for creators to tell live-action stories that can adapt in a multitude of directions. Yoni Bloch, CEO and a founder of Interlude issued the following statement on the WarGames project in particular (via Variety):
“I have always been fascinated by this classic movie. WarGames is more relevant than ever; it combines a look at hacking with the moral issues of treating war as a game. Our goal is to create a new medium, and to bring this gripping story to a whole new generation that is now demanding more immersive video experiences.”
Bloch also said that WarGames was the perfect franchise to try out the interactive experience - since it is about a kid who thinks he's playing a game.
“It was obvious to us that this would be an extremely interesting place to start working on this interactive narrative concept with a movie franchise."
Details are vague, and MGM has no plans to monetize the WarGames interactive short just yet, but they are prepared to test out the interactive moviegoing experience on a large scale. Here's the statement from Roma Khanna, President, Television Group and Digital, MGM, on the project:
“We are very excited to be working with Interlude on this audience-driven interactive story experience. ’WarGames’ is the perfect MGM title for this innovative technology. It allows us to engage the audience in the fundamental question of ‘what would you do?’”
WarGames does indeed have the added bonus of being about playing games with people's lives, so an audience controlling live action characters brings a whole new level of meta-experience to the movie/game. The story itself is just as relevant now as it was in 1983 - it's arguably less sci-fi even - as our computers are far more advanced, and the ability to affect the world through hacking is more prevalent in our reality. Using this story to jump off into new filmmaking territory is an exciting move.
However, it will be interesting to see if the interactive experience is more than a gimmick. Though the concept is interesting, and will probably even be fun, it doesn't seem very fleshed out for a next year release. Will it work like a choose your own adventure, where you can lose without making it to the end? Can you "win"? Is it more game or movie? In the case of WarGames isn't the most logical option not to play?
We'll bring you more information on all things WarGames-related as it comes our way.