“Two worlds, one reality” – so goes the tagline for ‘IRL’, a new feature film by director Erik Leijonborg which features Funcom‘s modern-day massively multiplayer game The Secret World as a central part of the story. Valter Skarsgård (son of Hollywood heavyweight Stellan Skarsgård known from films such as ‘Good Will Hunting’, ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Thor’) plays Elias, the film’s main character. Bullied at school, Elias escapes to the virtual universe of Funcom Montreal’s The Secret World, where he meets a girl – Scarlet – and they eventually decide to meet up in real life.
“This is a story about being a teenager in the parallel world of social media and online gaming which is increasingly challenging reality,” says director Erik Leijonborg. “A world where you can hide your real identity and be appreciated for who you really are, or be exposed and mistreated.”
An interview with director Erik Leijonborg was published today on The Secret World website, with footage from The Secret World is used extensively throughout the film, enabling the audience to see Elias and Scarlet visit in-game locations such as Transylvania, New York and more. Funcom worked closely with the filmmakers on developing the main character’s virtual avatar and to make sure that the scenes taking place inside the game were portrayed as realistically as possible in relation to normal gameplay. The film, which is in Swedish, is directed by Erik Leijonberg, written by Alex Haridi and produced by Martin Söder and Thomas Backström for Eyeworks Film & TV Drama.
“More so than any other massively multiplayer game out there, telling captivating stories with an emotional tie has always been an important part of The Secret World,” says Joel Bylos, Creative Director at Funcom. “Making our online world available to the filmmakers, so that they could use it to tell their story, has been an exciting experience and I think the end result is absolutely fantastic. The entire team is very proud seeing the game up there on the big screen!”
The film will first premiere in Sweden on October 25th 2013, but the production company expects it to hit theaters and film distribution services in other countries soon. For more information about The Secret World and how to become a part of the online universe yourself, visit the game’s official site.