Sony producing Getaway film
Sony look set to be creating a script for a possible Getaway film, for the third in the series of videogames. Previously they had a script developed for the first Getaway film but they rolled into production with the second so quickly that there wasn't time to develop the film property.
The Getaway was set in gangland London where one of the two characters you play, Mark Hammond, finds his son kidnapped by Charlie Jolson who is the biggest crime boss around. Hammond has to carry out tasks for Jolson in order to get his son back. At the same time DC Frank Carter, the other character you play, is searching for answers to the crimes that Hammond is committing and trying to find a way to put Jolson behind bars.
There's not much word on what the third Getaway film will be about, but it is due out on the Playstation 3 sometime this year, currently slated for September.
DenofGeek through Eurogamer have the scriptwriter Katie Ellwood talking about the third game and its conversion to film. She wrote the scripts for the first two games and revealed there was a film script for the first The Getaway.
“Sony did work on and develop a screenplay for the first Getaway...However, by the time it was ready, we were releasing the sequel and the story had changed...
...We are certainly talking to production houses about a movie for the third game in the Getaway series...The story and game script for this one is very exciting, as is the writer we have on board. I'm afraid I can't give any further information, other than to say: watch this space.”
So there is a writer signed up to develop a film from the third game, let's hope that they are a strong writer and they concentrate on the strengths of the Getaway series, for it does have a plot to it and characters who do develop, something that is missing from quite a few videogames that are in development for films just now.
Ellwood goes on to talk a little about the process of writing for videogames and has a few interesting comparisons to make:
“Games can be structured very differently where as (on the whole) films are linear. Different types of game (RPG, Linear, Branching) call for different types of writing and understanding. Also with games writing you have to understand that your story plays second fiddle to THE GAMEPLAY. Gameplay is king in video games. If a game doesn't play well, it has to be the best story of all time that keeps a player involved. Possible? I guess so. Ideal? Certainly not.
In movies, 'story' is the beginning of everything. Without a great screenplay, your movie stands no chance of getting made. I doubt a game has ever been green-lit on story alone. It's usually a mechanic or strong concept. Following this story can go miles to creating a world for the game to live in... and create compelling characters that can, and do, take that game to another level. Emotionally involvement paired with captivating gameplay is the holy grail of video gaming in my opinion...
...the players' relationship to a player character is very different from a viewer's relationship to the lead in a film. In films your protagonist is the active one, always pushing the story, the one making all the smart decisions and performing all the dynamic action.
As a game writer, if you take that decision away from the player and give it to your lead character it breaks the player’s involvement. For example, a character makes a cool decision or takes that door in a non-interactive cutscene, you are cheating your gamer out of being the hero.
The same is true of 'over characterising' a game hero. In many ways you want the lead to be somewhat of a blank canvas; someone who observes the world around them and has the ability to act and change it for the better.”
Now that is interesting because we've never really heard from the professionals who are involved in creating these videogame scripts before, the most we've heard is from the people who are adapting the games into films and we don't get to see what the other viewpoint is.
I do believe that videogames can provide a rich source for films, but they need to be respected from the film side, not just plundered and destroyed for a story, alienating the original audience. They also need to put a little more effort into the productions, because the power of these new consoles is stunning, and they're catching Hollywood faster than Hollywood is able to exploit them.