WarGames remains a fun movie to watch today, though it plays quite dated as a 1980s relic from the Cold War. So with the property being rebooted as a new series in 2018, obviously some modernization to the story needs to occur, and that’s definitely what we’re seeing in the series’ first trailer.
The new series from MGM and interactive video company Eko puts a new spin on the concept. This time, instead of a clueless videogamer who accidentally nearly starts a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, a group of skilled hackers are actively looking to sow havoc online. The series also promises to be interactive, allowing the audience to “shape the story” and using the slogan “the series that watches you.”
The trailer really hits the notes of the series being a real world threat by name-dropping a number of actual online hacks, like the 2014 Sony hack and this year’s Equifax hack that exposed the majority of Americans’ social security numbers. Not much of the actual series is shown save for some quick cuts of hackers seen from their computer screens and an AI voice creepily asking, “Shall we play a game?” Check it out below.
The series’ director, Sam Barlow, discussed what fans can expect from the new WarGames with io9, and the series sounds unlike anything else that’s been tried before.
“You’ll have a bunch of windows on your screen. We’re used to video chatting with our friends, having a big image, and smaller images of other people, things dropping in and out. So we decided to build the show around this concept. As the story’s progressing, all these different characters are talking to each other over the internet, and all of their windows are up on the screen. There’ll be additional video windows as well, so if they’re hacking into CCTV cameras, you’ll see that. If they’re watching a live TV broadcast, you’ll see that. If you’re particularly interested in a certain character, you’re spending more time focused on them, we can have that steer the story.”
Barlow also mentioned that fans of the original WarGames don’t have to worry about him sullying that film’s reputation, as the new project merely goes off the themes of the original rather than trying to function as some type of sequel or reboot — though fans can expect at least one explicit nod to the Matthew Broderick film.
“It feels inherently dishonest to try to do a sequel or prequel to someone else’s story. It sometimes feels pointless. If we’re looking at hackers that exist in the present day, they are part of online culture. They are constantly self-referential about movies and catch-lines. They are going to have seen the original WarGames movie and love that movie. Without spoiling anything too much, there is a direct callback to the original. What I was excited about was looking at the themes and what that movie said, and staying very truthful to that.”
The WarGames series will be arriving next year, though there’s no word yet on where you’ll be able to watch it… or where it will be able to watch you.