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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MattsworknameAndrew: Im not sure Im the one to be explainging this really, Im not sure im articulating it right07/31/2015 - 9:20pm
Big PermI got to around 30 in tera before giving up. I liked my sorc, but I need better motivation to grind07/31/2015 - 9:14pm
Andrew EisenAh TERA. I made a video about TERA censorship. One of my more popular ones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO26h9etTbw07/31/2015 - 8:52pm
Goth_SkunkI've been playing TERA all day. Just took a break to barbecue some chicken. :3 And Andrew: I'm using Cabal to suggest a group of people secretly united in some private views or interests within a community.07/31/2015 - 8:50pm
Andrew EisenI'd love to but I'm at work. But once I get home... I'm going to work out for a while. But after THAT... I'm going to shower. Then eat. Then prep tomorrow's meals. And THEN play video games! YEAH!!!07/31/2015 - 8:38pm
Big Permlol, ya'll are still going back and forth? Take a break and play some video games07/31/2015 - 8:37pm
Andrew EisenGoth - Are you using "cabal" to describe a group of writers or to suggest they all worked together in secret to publish those articles?07/31/2015 - 8:30pm
Andrew EisenMatt - That doesn't disprove the general premise of the various articles as that's not what they're about. Unless, again, he's talking about a different batch of articles.07/31/2015 - 8:28pm
Goth_SkunkThe difference between one voice being offensive and a cabal being offensive.07/31/2015 - 8:22pm
MechaCrashFunny how "you're offended, so what" flips into "we're offended, retract everything and apologize."07/31/2015 - 8:18pm
MattsworknameIts not the only argument he points out ,its just one of them07/31/2015 - 8:06pm
Mattsworknameidea that Gamers as the articel puts it, the "White male sterotype are dead, essentially was compltely false07/31/2015 - 8:03pm
MattsworknameThe video actually shows that the shaw study actually disproves the Premise of the artices by showing that the "Gamer" dentity, has no actual meaning to thsoe who use it other then "I play games", its not connected to race, gender, or orientation. So the07/31/2015 - 8:01pm
Andrew EisenWith the exception of a brief mention in Golding's Tumbr post. Even so, he's talking about gamer identity, not desire for diversity in gaming.07/31/2015 - 7:50pm
Andrew EisenI'm not calling his examination of the Shaw study into question. I haven't read the study nor seen his video. All I'm saying is that it has nothing to do with the Gamers Are Dead articles I've been referencing for the last year.07/31/2015 - 7:49pm
MattsworknameSome times sargon just goes off on tangents but in this case he was pretty direct and went through teh research in detail, did the whole first video about the shaw study itself07/31/2015 - 7:45pm
Andrew EisenWell, unless it's disingenuous twaddle but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.07/31/2015 - 7:42pm
Andrew EisenGotta be. The argument you describe makes no sense otherwise.07/31/2015 - 7:40pm
MattsworknameThat is a possibility, they looked like offical articles but its possible they are different from the articles you mentoin07/31/2015 - 7:28pm
Andrew EisenNot unless he's referring to a completely different set of Gamers Are Dead articles.07/31/2015 - 7:19pm
 

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