Hollywood and the transition to the big and small screens has long been an ambition of game developers on the upper echelons of the industry. Until recently, it’s safe to say this has largely been a poisoned chalice for many. However, rights acquisition has largely been Westcentric until 2016, when an RPG from Cameroon bucked that trend.
On the fourth anniversary after the rights for Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan were picked up by LA based agency Good Fear Films, I reached out to Olivier Madiba (CEO of Kiroo Games) to learn about how the deal came about and if we can expect Aurion to join the list of games being adapted to movies here.
How did the deal with Good Fear Films come about?
Good Fear Films heard about the Aurion game shortly after its release in 2016. They saw great potential in a sub genre rarely or never used in Hollywood (except for Black Panther which was released 2 years later) and thought it would be a good idea if it was adapted to Hollywood and contacted us.
Who initiated contact and what experience did you previously have in selling the rights to a film before?
It was Jake Weiner, one of the producers of Good Fear Films who contacted us one day by email and presented us his interest in the project. Honestly, we had no experience in selling film rights at that time, apart from a very general aspect (a bit like everyone else).
Was it the first such deal in Africa (to the best of your knowledge)?
In the world of video games, I think so, it was the first such deal. But in general, I can say that Hollywood has a growing interest in Africa. Just look at Mama K team, which is a new Netflix series exclusively based in Africa.
Were there any terms or expectations from your end you were expected to meet?
When can we expect to learn more about a prospective movie?
Honestly, Jake Weiner himself doesn’t know. There are cases where the decision was made in a week, and others where it took 10 years (Deadpool). Jake’s original plan was to make a big film, we’re now seeing how far we can go to make a cartoon ourselves if he can get us the financing. But we’re planning to make it after 2021 if all goes well.
Are you working on other tips you hope will also be picked up for film rights?
With Jake we’re evolving on how to contact studios, but we’re mainly working on our comic book, which helps us to pose the universe even better to be more interesting for Hollywood decision-makers.
Got any tips or suggestions for other developers across the continent looking to achieve similar success on that front?
The advice I could give is not to do something just for fun, at least if you have bigger ambitions in that direction. You really have to put some of your own, passion, time and a lot of discipline into it in order to have a quality product.