The opening weekend for the movie “Rampage” was big, topping the box office charts with over $38 million in revenue.
But it was even bigger for Homewood resident Brian Colin, the designer and developer of the video game on which the film was based.
“I never get tired when somebody says they remember one of my games or they liked it. I’m genuinely amazed that I touched somebody’s life,” Colin said. “I’ve been grinning like a 10-year-old for several years now because what spills over into my day-to-day life (because of this movie) has just been wonderful.”
He designed the game while working for Bally/Midway in 1986. Today, he runs his own company, Game Refuge.
“Everybody knows about the video game curse when it comes to making movies. I didn’t expect much because every movie that’s ever made from a video game has not come up to particularly high standards,” Colin said. “A lot of less than great movies have been made.”
He changed his mind when he was invited to watch the film being shot in Atlanta last year. Producer John Rickard gave Colin a tour around the set and explained the choices that were made with the story. He met stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Naomie Harris, other producers, cast and crew.
“I realized that this was going to be an incredible film,” Colin said. “Everybody was giving 110 percent. Everybody was working their butts off in like 110-degree heat.”
The passion for Rampage around the set stuck out to Colin.
“(Rickard) was a guy who really loved the game as a kid. Meeting The Rock, there was another guy who really loved the game,” Colin said. “While it’s always fun to hear from people who loved the game when they were growing up, when fans of the game turn out to be Hollywood stars or film producers and decide to turn it into a movie, my grin just gets bigger and bigger.”
The film doesn’t follow the exact story of the game, but Colin’s alright with that. The game was meant to be a humorous, silly adventure. The movie needed more.
Rickard explained to Colin how the humanity of the game was still a part the film, though. But they didn’t just copy the game and count on its fans to make it a success.
“Would it have been fun for me if they had followed my story? Yes. But it was a ridiculous, ridiculous, intentionally ridiculous tongue-in-cheek parody,” Colin said. “I wasn’t disappointed that they didn’t because they’re doing a completely different thing. They’re making a film for an audience. I was making a game that people were interacting with.”
There are little references, or “Easter eggs,” within the movie that call back to the game, though. At a preview screening in Frankfort the week before the official release, Colin’s friends and family and gamers cheered those moments.
A cameo Colin shot while on set ended up on the cutting room floor. He said he’s content waiting for the director’s cut to see how that came out.
“I’m pretty high right now, walking on air,” Colin said. “It’s fun. It’s been great hearing from people. The fact that (the movie) brought (the game) to their attention and they stop me and say wonderful things. It doesn’t get any better.”
- Homewood designer’s Rampage game hits Hollywood (Oct. 30, 2017)