Games vs. Movies

Well, the video gaming business is far more like the gaming business than I first thought. Game developers are not unlike writers and directors. They are the people who physically make the game. Publishers are not unlike studios. They put up the money and give notes. And in my particular situation Tiger Hill would serve as the producers….the middle men. That may be totally wrong but it is my interpretation.
Virtual Reality (The Developers) came up with a concept for a game called Demonik. For a time the project was with Sega. But Sega didn’t like the story. Fact is…the story was missing. There was a brilliant concept but as for a story with twists and turns there was none. So Sega asked Tiger Hill to take a look at it. Tiger brought me in. I forget the reasons but there was a time crunch to come up with a story fast so I did. But Sega had already moved on. Tiger later aquired the rights from Sega. Later still, Tiger, myself and the game developers went around to different publishers and pitched the game. Eventually, the publisher Majesco, who the developers had previously worked with on “Blood Rayne” became our Publisher and that brings us mostly current.
Now here’s the catch. The Developers were never a fan of my story. The Faustian elements in the story worried them. They were concerned that it would be compared to Spawn’s story. When I first heard of their concerns, six months to a year ago, I considered them just that, concerns. Todd McFarlan does not own the copyright on deals with the devil. And Faust is classic. Why not put a new spin on it? That was my argument and as far as I knew everyone agreed.
But that was not the case. The Developers still want no part of Faust. So, here’s where Todd Farmer the writer has to decide if he’s going to learn from his own past treatment and become the supportive producer or the confrontational producer. And the funny thing is…I’m not a producer on this project.
Tiger Hill and Majesco share the rights. The Developers essentually work for them. Tiger Hill stands behind the story completely. And although Majesco shares the Developers’ concerns they have told Tiger Hill that they will back their decision. In other words, if I want to go with my story I could without a doubt force the issue and make the Developers tell the story I created.
There’s no doubt in my mind that my story would add rich textures to the game and although one of the developers refers to it as derivative…most ideas are derivative if not exicuted properly. But the bottom line is that if the developers are not happy then they aren’t likely to be putting out their best work. I know in the past when I’ve been forced to make a change I didn’t agree with then my passion went right out the window and I’m certain scripts have suffered as a result.
Thus…I choose to support the talent.
I have to submit my ego. I have to back down. My winning the argument is not important. My being the hero is not important. What is important is that the artists (whether they be writers, directors or game developers) are happy, inspired and passionate about what they do.
Thus Tiger Hill and I fly to Texas in ten days to sit with the developers. I see this as having a two part goal. First I have to assure them that I’m on their side. I’m not there to piss in their sandbox. They are the talent. I’m there to help, inspire and offer my unique form or redneck creativity.
Step two will consist of out taking their concept and together we build a story that we can all be proud of as well as excite the developers so much that they develop the best game in ten years.