Sam Barlow, once lead designer on the Silent Hill series, has now made his name exploring the lines between film and gaming with 2015’s Her Story. While we’re still waiting for that games’ spiritual sequel, Telling Lies, he’s just announced the release date for #WarGames, an interactive six-part programme where the viewer controls the video feeds, which will, apparently, influence your experience of the series as it goes on.It’s described as a “live action interactive series that puts viewers in the middle of a tale about hactivism, modern-day espionage and military intrigue.” Which all should be reminding you of the 1983 Matthew Broderick film, Wargames. Which this officially licenses.
This time however we’re seeing it from the perspective of a young woman called Kelly, an “ex-military brat” and now a hacktivist. Teaming up with other hackers around the world, she’s attempting to bring peace in an escalating tale of who knows what, but it sure does seem to be escalating.
Framed as “The series that watches you”, quite how that will work still isn’t clear. We know that we can choose which feeds we’ll watch, and that it will “learn” from this. The “learn” scarequotes their own, used throughout the press release, just in case we were worried that as some sort of meta-game the series itself was going to form into a sentient AI that tries to bring about the singularity and destroy the world. Although that’d be pretty cool. Quite what this “learning” will do, and how it will affect the show as a person watches it, we will have to find out come March the 14th, when this all begins.
Don’t go thinking this is an original idea though, because I for one remember 1988’s What’s Your Story with Sylvester McCoy. Except in that one, middle class children controlled the story.
PS. Wargames, the original film, was a bit rubbish actually.