Further proof that it ain’t yer father’s TV biz anymore. Who sez this isn’t the Golden Age of Electronic Media and, you know, writing for same?
Opportunity awaits. Time to make a move, yeah?
by Jimi Famurewa
When considering video games and television shows, it’s tempting to view them as rivals. Logic tells us that they are two distinct mediums competing for eyeballs and, in practical terms, the HDMI cable privileges for the big telly.
But now, thanks to a free transfer of creatives and a general cross-pollination of ideas, these two worlds are converging in dramatic style. Hold onto your moth-eaten Lund jumpers, box set snobs: the gamers are taking over prestige TV.
Fittingly, a series that explores the intersection of the past and the future is leading this trend. Westworld’s first series may have riffed intriguingly on the mechanics of virtual worlds and the lax morals within a Grand Theft Auto-ish playscape on screen but, behind the camera, there was a direct link to the world of video games.
Halley Gross, a California-based screenwriter who co-wrote two of those first 10 episodes, also works for lauded game studio Naughty Dog and will be one of the script masterminds helping to concoct their upcoming survival blockbuster The Last of Us Part II.
the Netflix-stoked age of Peak TV. The Beach author and film-maker Alex Garland — who scripted innovative platformer Enslaved: Odyssey to the West — is currently developing a mystery-shrouded show with the production team behind his cult hit Ex Machina. Rise of the Tomb Raider writer Rhianna Pratchett is working on The Watch, a fantasy police procedural based on some of the stories from her late father Terry’s Discworld series. Ken Levine, the auteur behind stylish first-person shooter Bioshock, is making things difficult for himself by attempting an interactive reboot of The Twilight Zone. The list goes on.
So what’s prompting these writers to leap between industries?
“The potential for narrative strength and complexity in games has increased,” says Richard Morgan, a sci-fi author who has written games such as Syndicate and Crysis 2 for EA and is now acting as a consultant on Netflix’s adaptation of his futuristic thriller Altered Carbon….