(Special thanks to professional surfer Lei Hu for sending in this article)
McQueen in 'Escape' Video Game
LOS ANGELES, California
(Hollywood Reporter) --
Steve McQueen was talented,
smart, good-looking and known for playing
characters who were tough but never cruel. Now it is within
everyone's reach to be that icon of cool, at least for the 40 hours or so it
takes to play "The Great Escape."
Based on its critically acclaimed 1963 MGM movie namesake, the Gotham
Games video game licensed McQueen's name, likeness and voice characteristics,
making it possible for gamers to be McQueen as his character, Captain Virgil
Hilts ("The Cooler King"), and his fellow prisoners of war break free from the
notorious Stalag Luft III prison camp and battle Nazis throughout World War II-era
Gamers can choose to be one of three other characters besides McQueen. And
yes, the game includes the famous motorcycle chase scene: Players can try
their luck at leaping the barbed wire fence into Switzerland and to freedom.
In addition to MGM's and Gotham's involvement, "The Great Escape" is
published by SCi Games Ltd. and developed by Pivotal Games Ltd. The game
will be available for
PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC.
"We think this will appeal to classic movie fans, Steve McQueen fans and video
game fans," said Leslie Golden, licensing manager at the Roger Richman Agency,
which represented the McQueen estate. "It has the nostalgic look and feel of Steve
McQueen brought up a notch."
Although the movie-based game has been in the works for many months, the estate
was cautious about authorizing the late actor's likeness. It retained approval
throughout the process. "We had to make sure it's as accurate as possible," Golden
said. "We had opinions and suggestions because we like to capture the essence
She said the project was attractive to the gaming companies because the older
demographic of McQueen and "The Great Escape" fans would extend the game's
From the McQueen point of view, "They've truly captured the essence of Steve,"
Golden said. "That builds interest and value in the brand. It also brings a new
audience into the movie and brings the brand awareness into a whole new arena."
Nor can the royalties from the game be dismissed. "The revenues that you see from
the video game industry are so high right now," she said.
MGM's "The Great Escape" was based on the true story of an Allied escape attempt
from German POW camp Stalag Luft III in March 19 44. The movie was directed by
John Sturges and featured an ensemble cast that starred McQueen alongside
James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson and James Coburn.
The game re-creates many of the film's settings, including a mountaintop fortified
castle, a fortress, a hospital, a moving train and an active Luftwaffe airfield as well as
the German POW camp. As in the movie, periods of stealth activities are
interspersed with frantic and dramatic action.