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Publishers turned down 28 Days Later licence, producer reveals

Just weren't up for it.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Several videogame publishers, including Sony and Electronic Arts, turned down the chance to make a videogame based on hit horror movie 28 Days Later, DNA Films producer Andrew MacDonald has revealed.

Speaking at the Develop conference in Brighton yesterday, MacDonald - whose previous films include Shallow Grave, Trainspotting and The Beach - said that his efforts at selling the licence to 28 Days Later had been met with no interest from publishers.

The British film was a gritty action / horror movie set in England in the wake of a viral outbreak which had turned the population into zombies - and which despite its low budget went on to take over $45 million at the US box office.

According to MacDonald, none of the publishers he spoke to were interested in picking up the title - and while many independent developers were keen, they needed his firm to pay for the development costs of the game, a move which DNA Films was unprepared to make.

Ironically, Halo composer Marty O'Donnell - who was in the audience for the session - revealed that it was after watching 28 Days Later that Bungie chose to approach Alex Garland, the scriptwriter for the film, about the possibility of writing the Halo movie.

Garland was reportedly paid $1 million for his script for Halo - and MacDonald described him as the ideal writer for the job, revealing that Garland is a huge games fan who often buys several games each week.

A sequel to 28 Days Later, titled 28 Weeks Later is currently in production - and MacDonald is also presently working on a movie titled Sunshine, which is an original science-fiction film.

Despite his failure in attracting interest to the 28 Days Later game concept, MacDonald told the audience that he saw many parallels between the British game and film industries - most notably that they have both continued to thrive creatively despite their respective markets being dominated by US firms.

However, he said that he himself does not play games - stating that he finds conventional game controllers such as the PlayStation pad "too fiddly," and commenting that most creative people in the film industry do not play games, which may be responsible for fostering a misunderstanding of videogames in some parts of the movie business.

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