Novelist Christopher Fowler: Developers Should Make Hollywood's Cowardice Their Strength

October 5, 2011 -

English Novelist Christopher Fowler shares his curiosity with Computer & Videogames about why more books like his haven't been turned into video games. According to the author, games can be used to create more faithful adaptations of popular novels. He says that his latest project - an adaptation of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds proves it. Fowler is currently adapting the classic story to an XBLA and PSN title due for release in early autumn, with voice work by Patrick Stewart.

In an article written for C&VG, Fowler explains how game design has changed and what game developers can do to take advantage of the literature that Hollywood is afraid of:

"Games used to be more problematic. The player decided where to go, so how could you have a literary adaptation with multiple endings? Kim Newman tried this with pretty much the first game/ novel hybrid called 'Life's Lottery', but the reading public wanted its stories to have closure, and the book wasn't the success it should have been. Closure makes better stories. The more openings you have, the less powerful the tale is.

Greek tragedies work because right from the outset, there's only ever one outcome, and it usually comes about because the hero/ine has a flaw they can't see, and that flaw gets exploited by enemies. So how could a book ever become a game?

Then a game designer told me something that made sense. He said that since side-scrollers moved on to 3D environments the player imagines having total control, but the secret of most games is that the main options are really all decided for you. So that, I imagined, was gaming's dirty little secret, that you didn't really get the one thing you most wanted - freedom to participate and choose your course of action, not truly.

Then something totally unexpected happened. Games started embracing their stories and acknowledging the secret. By doing this they opened up an incredible new vista for players. If you tell a story well, and then fill it with kick-ass action, you can have both a great time and enjoy a satisfying adventure.

This means that now, Hollywood's cowardice can become gaming's unique strength."

Fowler closes by saying that if game developers want to know which books they should adapt into games, all they need to do is talk to a writer.

You can read the rest of Fowler's thoughts on adapting literary works of art to the digital world here.


 
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Andrew EisenIt's not needed. It's a joke. Albeit one with quite a bit of commentary packed into it.05/25/2015 - 10:59pm
Matthew Wilsonmot game related, but still interesting. http://www.polygon.com/2015/5/25/8654983/jurassic-world-chris-pratt-apology the fact that this is even needed in modern culture is a embarrassment.05/25/2015 - 10:26pm
Matthew Wilsonyeah, but with no voice chat its doa.05/25/2015 - 9:48pm
TechnogeekYet, you're going to be hard-pressed to find anyone other than insecure 2EDGY4U teenagers seeing it as anything other than an extremely fun game.05/25/2015 - 8:36pm
TechnogeekSplatoon's probably the best example at this point. Gameplay-wise, it's a team-based third-person shooter with a significant online component. It's rated E10.05/25/2015 - 8:36pm
TechnogeekThe silliest thing about most of the Nintendo hatred is that they may be the last company that interprets "family-friendly" as meaning "fun for more than just the really young kids".05/25/2015 - 8:33pm
ZippyDSMleeWell it could be worse, like skyrim out of the box, a shame DAI dose not have that level of editing...05/25/2015 - 5:58pm
Zenpretty well without getting "nasty". Many people are disappointed in the decision and the about face on the status of the games development.05/25/2015 - 4:22pm
ZenEvery market has horrible people...but being like this towards all of them in a group is not a way to garner support and can make people more hostile towards you. Ironically his response was to someone that wanted to state a disagreement, but worded it05/25/2015 - 4:22pm
Goth_SkunkAs demonstrated by Ian's remarks, that 'market of possible fans' is apparently negligible.05/25/2015 - 4:18pm
Zeninformation while other versions had everything talked about openly.05/25/2015 - 4:15pm
ZenYeah, I've read through it and wanted to make sure I had it quoted correctly. I get there are issues, but this is horribly unprofessional and just burning a market of possible fans..many of which supported them and were waiting while getting little to no05/25/2015 - 4:15pm
Goth_SkunkOh wow. That's not even misquoted, he actually said that. Though for additional context in previous pages, he truly does not think highly of Nintendo console owners, and claims that in the industry, he's not alone.05/25/2015 - 4:12pm
ZenI also took a screenshot of the statement in case it is taken down (via my Twitter): https://twitter.com/zenspath/status/60293960536562483205/25/2015 - 4:05pm
ZenLink for my previous post - http://forum.projectcarsgame.com/showthread.php?27584-Project-Cars-Sales-figures&p=942776&viewfull=1#post94277605/25/2015 - 4:03pm
ZenProject Cars basically canceled for Wii U, Slightlymad Studios Head, Ian Bell, states "Yup, and if you need to pass this on, we really dislike Nintendo users" on Forum to Wii U players waiting for the game and disappointed in the news.05/25/2015 - 4:03pm
Goth_SkunkAnd now, a humorous gif. Oblivious Otter is Oblivious. http://i.imgur.com/zdUZOWo.gif05/25/2015 - 3:49pm
Goth_Skunka bonified game dev.05/25/2015 - 3:45pm
Goth_SkunkGranted, most of that feedback is going to be vicious, but if a novice dev knows full well not to expect their hastily strewn together game as the next Grand Theft Auto, such curmudgeonly feedback shouldn't deter them from their ultimate goal of becoming05/25/2015 - 3:45pm
Goth_SkunkAdditionally, Steam is a platform whereby these novice devs can showcase what they were able to put together and see what kind of feedback they can get from the community.05/25/2015 - 3:44pm
 

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