'Wanted' Producer Bluntly Explains The Video Game Movie Pitching Process

You, like me, might have been surprised to hear that GRIN, the folks behind the "Bionic Commando" revivals were adapting this summer's action movie "Wanted."

At a "Wanted" preview party in San Francisco this week, I talked to "Wanted" director and GRIN co-founder Ulf Andersson.

Andersson was a brutally honest guy, far less PR trained than most developers. So when I asked him how he decided to work on "Wanted," I anticipated an unscripted answer. I got it.

"They [Universal Studios] pitched us the game," he said. "It's not like we came [and said] 'oh, can we do 'Wanted' for you?' They come to us, they present the script before the movie is made. Basically, you sit around with them, you read it and you go…this, this and that could make good gameplay elements. And then you have to ask yourself 'Does it have a good story? Does it have anything unique about it?'"

You don't hear much about the pitch for a movie game. The fact that publishers come in with an idea of what game they're looking for interested me.

"Every publisher does," he explained. "If you have a lot of money, you're going to put a lot a money down. You have to have some f--ing idea. You go from there. That's sort of it. Then, I have to come up with good gameplay, basically. Everything's based out of if it's gonna play or not -- that's it. In some cases, I get more restraint. In other cases, they let me go. In this case, they really let me f--ing go."

The "Wanted" game is is a third-person cover-based shooter with a gameplay gimmick of shooting your bullets in curved trajectories. It played better than I expected. It's not going to revolutionize shooters, but for fans of the movie -- or just fans of action games -- it's looking remarkably solid. Maybe the freedom Andersson was given is the reason.