Shall we play a game?
“WarGames,” the iconic ’80s hacker drama starring Matthew Broderick, Alley Sheedy and Dabney Coleman, will be reimagined as an interactive video with all-new characters and storylines — in which you, the viewer, decide the outcome.
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. The plot of the 2.0 version has yet to be sketched out, but execs said that there will be multiple user-controlled outcomes that will reward repeat viewings.
“We are very excited to be working with Interlude on this audience-driven interactive story experience,” said Roma Khanna, MGM Television Group and Digital president. “‘WarGames’ is the perfect MGM title for this innovative technology. It allows us to engage the audience in the fundamental questions of ‘What would you do?'”
For now, MGM doesn’t have an explicit plan to monetize the “WarGames” interactive video. Rather, the project — one of the biggest moves in Hollywood to date to tap into the promise of interactive video — represents the studio’s desire to experiment with the new form of storytelling and expose a new generation to the film.
The movie lends itself well to an interactive milieu, because it’s about someone who thinks he’s playing a game, Interlude CEO Yoni Bloch said. “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,” he said, adding that he’s been fascinated by “WarGames” ever since he was an amateur hacker as a kid growing up in Israel.
While there’s no revenue associated with the “WarGames” reboot, “part of what we are doing is to really test out how people enjoy this different kind of entertainment,” said Bloch.
New York-based Interlude was founded in 2010, focusing on creating interactive music videos. It’s since worked with major labels and advertisers, but sees an opportunity to expand into longer-form entertainment. Earlier this year Interlude hired longtime TV exec Nancy Tellem as executive chairman to drive Hollywood deals.
“WarGames,” released in 1983, is about a teen computer whiz kid (Broderick) who accidentally initiates a countdown to World War III after breaking into a U.S. military computer to play what he thinks is a simulation of global thermonuclear war. “WarGames” was nominated for three Academy Awards, including best screenplay.