“This group of kids in hoodies with their dreams about Star Wars. They had created this whole world, and to watch them putting that together, and the way they did it was fascinating.”
Writer Frank DiGiacomo is talking about the team behind the Force Unleashed, the groundbreaking Star Wars game. ”I had never seen a video game put together,” DiGiacomo says.
“To see it done with Star Wars was doubly cool, because Star Wars was a pretty big in my whole appreciation for movies and sci-fi / fantasy.”
You’ve read our coverage on TG Daily looking back on George Lucas’s Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Star Wars Holiday Special, which was expertly covered for Vanity Fair by DiGiacomo.
Going from the ridiculous to the sublime, DiGiacomo also had the good fortune of covering The Force Unleashed for the magazine.
As DiGiacomo continues, “They had just put offices at the Presido, and you’d see this whole population of Lucas Arts people that have been so influenced by the whole Star Wars canon, and here they were evolving to. Certainly there were Star Wars games before that, but they wanted to take the whole Star Wars canon and do something new with it.”
As you may recall, The Force Unleashed boasted a great storyline during a time when writing for games was getting stronger, and Hollywood veterans like John Milius (Apocalypse Now), Robert Towne (Chinatown), and Hal Barwood (Close Encounters, Dragonslayer), were helping to pen top-selling titles.
“There was also this game called Republic Commandos,” DiGiacomo explains, “I think it was before Xbox 360, a lot of the guys who were on the Force Unleashed team worked on that game, and I kept telling them, ‘I want to see a sequel to that.’ I think that game would make a great movie. I could also see Force Unleashed becoming a movie. What they had there could really be turned into something, but I didn’t get the impression that’s where they wanted to go. It was like they looked at it where they didn’t need to do the movies, that this was as important as one of the Star Wars installments.”
Reading DiGiacomo’s article, you got the impression there could have been the big movie/game crossover the Hollywood studios were hoping for when games were out-grossing movies. But this crossover still hasn’t happened yet, and games and movies may remain separate entities.
“My sense is that Halo was probably their best shot. Where do you find something that’s character driven enough. I thought the second Dead Space game was very interesting in those terms, and I guess they’re already making a movie out of Dead Space,” DiGiacomo says.
“You have to build a character that the audience is going to care about. When you play a video game for ten hours over two or three days or a weekend, you become connected to something in a way, where with a movie, you only have two hours to do so, so it has to be much better written. And it’s not interactive, so it’s a real challenge.”