What makes a great film, what makes a great game? Are there similarities and lessons to learn from one another? Why reinvent the wheel?
Although I profess I haven’t watched it for a while, one of my favourite films of the past decade was Franklyn. There are a lot of criticisms levelled at Franklyn; with many YouTube commenter’s saying the film/trailers actively mislead viewers to stick bums on seats.
Without ruining in it, although you’ve probably been on Wikipedia by now and ruined it for yourself, the plot involves unconnected storylines, to quote the offending website “in contemporary London and the otherworldly metropolis of Meanwhile City.”
The accusations that the film misleads centre on the bait-and-switch of Meanwhile City to predominantly more mundane locales. This misses the point that the film’s director “McMorrow has pulled off a very handsome look on a limited budget”, thanks Wikipedia. Made for £6 million the scenes in Meanwhile City are fantastic and world created inventive and full of promise. The interplay been the steampunk dystopia and the scenes with Eva Green and Sam Riley in what passes for a real London have all of the hallmarks of game play and cut scenes respectively.
This film is a perfect candidate for a game driven by interesting ideas and perhaps should have been. For developers and investors, savings can already be made in that much of the asset design has been done already as has the story and game plotting. Its lacklustre financial performance would also suggest IP rights wouldn’t break the bank.
Franklyn hates Fat Cats
There’s also precedent, the ever-inventive Rockstar has converted the cult film, The Warriors into the fantastic 2005 title – later released on the Playstation Network in 2013. We can’t always rely on Rockstar to push the envelope – but maybe other developers should look at what cult titles could be converted.
Rockstar’s reward was $37 million, according to Wikipedia through concrete, if uninventive gameplay set in an interesting world. This sounds like damning the title with false praise, but as innovation becomes industry standards, such as Arkham’s combat, storyline and universe return to the fore. Existing games can be repurposed to accommodate new ideas, such as Farcry 4’s Blood Dragon. With IP and existing assets and engines already designed, Game Designers could further sweat the value of the hard work, in a world were other sources of revenue such as micro-transactions and on-disc DLC are not tolerated.
It doesn’t have to be Franklyn, there are countless idea driven films that hold a kernel of a game – no longer selling and ripe for IP acquisition.
Having addressed game developers let me have a word with the film producers reading. £6 million does not fund AAA games, but a more modest game can be created and offer higher returns to investors than films ever could. Why waste your great idea on a mediocre performing and generally misunderstood indie film?
Instead, gaming now represents the biggest media market in the world and one where £6 million can actually take you quite far.
Featured image is sourced from Franklyn’s director (Gerald Mcmorrow) page on 76 website
No permission sought, published under fair use. Please contact the author by twitter if you are the rights holder and want this removed.