Phoenix Pictures Memo

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PHOENIX PICTURES INC. M E M O Monday, May 20, 1996

FROM: Stuart TO:Mike, Arnie, Marcia, Christy
RE:WING COMMANDER NOTES and directors reel
CC: Gerry Schwartz

These notes are based on a meeting with Chris Roberts on 5/17/96.


Electronic Arts is motivated to enter into a deal. They are also planning a WC V.


A budget is available with a total below the line of $26.7 million


NOTES ON DIRECTORS REEL:
The Chris Roberts directors reel contains scenes from WC IV. The acting is stilted and the writing sophomoric at best. A tremendous number of scenes were written and shot in an extremely short time by feature standards. 6-10 pages per day, 37 sets, 42 day schedule, for under $8 million. Sets and props are also phony looking, again suffering from time and budget constraints. Also the writing for CD ROMs as a rule is poor and much too didactic in order to fit into the context of the game. It is reasonable to assume that these limitations could be overcome for a feature.


The computer graphics must be viewed with the caveat that they were created for viewing on a computer monitor and therefore they are less than 1/4 the resolution and detail that would be needed for a movie. Concept, art direction, and design on is exceptional, and it is reasonable to assume that the same team could achieve feature film standards with a higher budget. The final two minute trailer is the best summation of the footage available. There is a total of 2 hours of footage on the CD ROMs including 58 minutes of CG.


There are 4 Wing Commander games that have been released with a cumulative unit sales of around 4 million making it one of the all time best-selling computer CD ROMs.


The current script by Kevin Droney is based WC I. The directors reel is from WC IV and I think it is a more interesting and stronger story. Chris is open to developing a new script based on WC IV which could either be a first movie, or a sequel.


In the CD ROMs dramatic content is secondary to the game design, however the story becomes better developed in the latest version.


Roberts is open to discussing the possibility of other directors. The digital fx would in any case rest with him and a new CG studio he is putting together, Digital Anvil.


STORY

WC I
is about humanities war with an alien race, the KILRATHI. The Kilrathi are born and bred for waging wars and conquest. They are like the fanatical Japanese in WWII or the Vikings on voyages of conquest.


WCII
The war continues. The player saves the flagship but is framed as a traitor.


WC III
The player makes it to the Kilrathi homeworld, destroys it, and saves the girl.


WC IV
The Kilrathi wars are long over. Another menace is threatening civilization. This time it is revolution of the “Outworlders” colonists in “planets” against the Confederation of Planets. Its 1776 in space in 2700. The new weapons are nanotech robots that can infect people, detect their genetic makeup, and selectively kill.


It turns out that the war is being orchestrated by Admiral Tolwyn who is seeking to create a genetically enhanced master race. The player must discover the treachery and defeat Tolwyn.


GENERAL NOTES ON WC I SCRIPT

THE ALIENS
They need to be much more interesting and mysterious, not just war mongers. There tactics, ships, culture, ecology must be more developed.


THE MISSION
The mission of the TIGER CLAW needs to be strengthened with more at stake. Admiral Tolwyn is sending the TC into a deep space battle with the main force of the Kilrathi as a decoy while he plans on attacking a major base. The TC commander discovers that they are the sacrificial lamb. The TC also discovers that the Kilrathi know about the attack and are instead heading toward the earth. Its up to TC to save the Earth.


BLAIR and ANGEL
The two main characters, Wing Commander Angel Deveraux and rooky fighter jock BLAIR need lots more development and story. First, Blair is exceptional because he is the product of a “mixed” marriage. His father married an “Border worlder”. Blair might have an ulterior motive in helping the Border worlders, led by his father, after the Kilrathi war is won. There are secrets the Borderworlders have that help Blair against the Kilrathi. Angel has a vendatta against Borderworlders yet a Romeo and Juliet affair between Blair and Angel develops.


THE MOLE
Commander GERALD should be the real mole who is somehow leading the kilrathi to the Tiger Claw. Not an errant communications computer chip as it is now. It might be that Gerald is involved in another faction of the Confederation ready to launch a coup at the end of the war.


PALADIN
Paladin could be a more important character. He is Naval Intelligence under cover as a “pirate” trader. Only he knows the true mission of the Tiger Claw and that it is a sacrifice. In the end he might help save the TC, even though its against orders.


PRODUCTION DESIGN
The ships and tech in this world are not too sleek. There is wear, dirt, and cramped quarters. There is a WWII feel, sense of reality.