Monday, February 26, 2024

Marauder Film Purchases Cinematic Rights to Primordia

Early today, Marauder Film exercised its option to purchase the rights to make a cinematic adaptation of Primordia! It’s another major step forward, even if the final destination is still a good ways off.

This journey started five years ago with an email from Bastiaan Koch (head of Marauder Film) to Mark Yohalem (Primordia’s writer/designer) asking about the possibility of adapting Primordia. Bastiaan is a movie-industry veteran with decades of experience on films like Pacific Rim, Rango, and Ready Player One.

Given the overwhelming enthusiasm from co-creators James Spanos (Primordia’s coder) and Victor Pflug (Primordia’s artist)—and after meeting with Bastiaan in person and seeing how enthusiastic he was—Mark got over his uncertainties, and we all signed an option with Marauder Film. It seemed like an impossible dream, but bit by bit, Bastiaan worked to turn that dream into reality. He enlisted Walker McKnight, Winner of the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship screenwriting award, to write a treatment and then a screenplay, and brought in his team of artists to develop the project’s look.

Over the years of that development process, Bastiaan spent hours talking with each of us about what Primordia meant to us. When he shared Walker’s draft script in January 2023, we each responded in our own style. Mark told Bastiaan about his “Aunt Virginia, whose poem ‘The Inheritors’ was so inspirational for Primordia,” explaining that in another poem, she imagined undergoing a sea-change that would bring new joy to others: “Shape me and shine me into a sea prize / Found by a boy’s / Quick eyes in glad surprise. / Sea, sky and sand, / Let me one day / A small child’s happy summer memory.” Vic invoked the film franchise that inspired his artwork on Primordia: “This is just fantastic in every way. It feels a bit like the sequel to Aliens to me—punchier and more action oriented than the original, but told in the same universe and the same world, with the same vision at its core.” James was simple and direct: “Exciting!”

As you can see from the poster, and as we’ve talked about before, this is a Marauder Film project, not a Wormwood Studios one. Our game is a jumping-off point, but Marauder is not simply making a non-interactive version of Mark’s story with an HD version of Vic’s graphics. Cinema has its own imperatives and strengths, and Bastiaan’s team members have their own distinctive talents as storytellers and artists, even if they don’t have a coder like James!

We hope Marauder Film brings new players to the game we made so many years ago, and it’s fascinating to watch another team explore and build upon our creation. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.