Back Page: Our Sneak Peek At The (Definitely Real) Early Draft Of Ubisoft’s Female Game Reviewer Movie

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In the magazine business, the Back Page is where you’d find all the weird goofs that we couldn’t fit into the rest of the pages. Some may call it “filler”; we prefer “a whole page to make terrible jokes that are tangentially related to the content of the mag”. We don’t have pages on the internet, but we still love terrible jokes – so welcome to our new regular feature, Back Page. This week, Kate snuck into Ubisoft’s HQ, Ezio-style, and found a few pages of their latest script…


Hello there. I’m a female video game reviewer, and no, I was not placed here at Nintendo Life as a promotional tie-in with Ubisoft’s upcoming film about a female video game reviewer — it’s just a coincidence! However, I have managed to get exclusive access to the (extremely real) in-the-works script for REPLAY, which is about a female games critic who’s unlucky in love, and gets the chance to turn her dating life into a video game.

Isn’t it every woman’s dream to combine their gaming hobby and their love life? It’s certainly mine. Life would be much easier if I could win over a potential partner by save-scumming my way to saying “the right thing” instead of just screaming and running away!

Anyway, here’s a few excerpts of the script. We didn’t get the whole thing, but who wants to spend their weekend reading through an entire script? Not us, that’s who.

FADE IN:  EXT. KATE'S HOUSE - EVENING  We see, at first, the exterior of a cosy, well-appointed house in the suburbs. The trappings of comfortable middle-class life are apparent: a car with a baby seat in the driveway, a neat, recently-painted white picket fence, and a royal blue front door with a stained glass window. It's all very "The Family That Sends A Photo Of Themselves As A Christmas Card".  INT. KATE'S HOUSE, CHILD'S BEDROOM - EVENING  A child is tucked into bed, and her parents are by her bedside.  CHILD: Mother, won't you tell me the story again?  KATE: Which story, my precious Player Three?  CHILD: The one where you and papa met!  PAPA: But, darling, we told you that just last week...  CHILD: Oh, please!  KATE: Very well. It all began when I was struck by lightning one fateful Tuesday...  WIGGLY DREAM SEQUENCE VFX  INT. STARBUCKS UNNAMED COFFEE SHOP - DAY  A woman, obviously Kate but younger and less jaded, is looking at her phone in the queue of a coffee shop. The sky is blue and clear.   BARISTA: What can I get you?   KATE: Builder's tea, please.  BARISTA: This script is set in America. I do not know what a builder's tea is.  KATE: Oh. Um. Do you do hot chocolate?   BARISTA: No.  KATE: Then I'll just have an orange juice.  Kate walks outside with her confusingly hot coffee cup of orange juice. Several espresso beans are floating in it, and it has a mountain of whipped cream. She sips it, then throws it in the nearby bin.  Suddenly, a bolt of lightning arcs down from the sky, and ZAPS Kate right on the noggin.

Alright, so, off the bat, we learn that the video game reviewer — who’s apparently called Kate, weird — meets with some potentially supernatural weirdness. Getting struck by lightning seems like a bit of a mid-2000s thing to have in a film, but we’re not complaining — it’s second only to that gimmick where two people body-swap for a day. Freaky Friday is the height of cinema, and we will not hear any debate on this.

KATE: My mother always told me that the way to a man's heart was giving him a single egg, every day, until he loves you.  SASSY BEST FRIEND: Oh my god, I wish you'd told me! I could have turned my fridge contents into a boyfriend instead of a disappointing carrot cake! Hahaha!  KATE: Some boys don't like eggs, though - I learned that the hard way. My last boyfriend was really into fish, but only small fish. Like, if I gave him a fish bigger than 10cm he wouldn't text me for a week.   SASSY BEST FRIEND: Ugh, I'm so glad you dumped him.  KATE: Oh, no, I didn't. I gave him a seafood platter and he ghosted me.  SASSY BEST FRIEND: Damn.

You know, I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be a bachelor or bachelorette in a Harvest Moon / Story of Seasons game. Can you really fall in love with someone purely because they come into your house once a day, hand you an egg, and leave? I guess if you’re into the mysterious types, maybe. And eggs.

EDITOR: Kate, I need you to stay late to finish this review of Cloud Strife Goes On Holiday. It's very important, and also, it's 80 hours long. I hope you brought a sleeping bag.  KATE: I usually just nap under old magazines, actually.  EDITOR: Oh, that's where those went. By the way, I am not a representation of Nintendo Life's editorial staff. They are very nice and did not tell me to write this.  KATE: What?  EDITOR: Nothing. Bye!

I’ve definitely had editors like this. It’s weird the way they occasionally look directly at a spot that I can’t see and spout off disclaimers. I always just figured that it was an Editor thing!

INT. VIDEO GAMES WEEKLY, DAY  Kate is at her desk, typing rapidly. A Carrie Bradshaw-style voiceover narrates her writing.  KATE: The platforming in this game reminds me of men I've dated: it's very bad and it probably won't pay for dinner.  Kate shakes her head and backspaces the whole sentence.  KATE: The graphics in this game are like my last boyfriend: old-fashioned, outdated, and unpleasant to look at.  Kate places her head in her hands.

This is 100 per cent what it is like to write a review. It’s all puns and elaborate metaphors. Give the people what they want, I guess.

EXT. STARBUCKS MARTHA'S COSY TEA SHOPPE  A large bonfire with a sword in it burns outside of the tea shoppe. Kate is sitting next to it.  KATE: I feel like I should put my stats into "Kissability", but it's really tempting to just put twenty points into "Puns". I mean, it'll only attract the right kind of guys, won't it?  MAN: What was that?  He is walking into a wall.  MAN: Huh, must have been my imagination.

I’m glad to see that Ubisoft are hoping to represent all parts of gaming, good and bad! Skyrim wouldn’t be Skyrim without idiotic guards and their myopic cones of vision, would it? If only shoplifting in real life were as easy as putting a bucket on someone’s head and nicking all their tiaras.

KATE: I want more from a partner, Stacy! I don't want to be with someone just because they can double my inventory slots! I don't want to marry someone just so I can unlock the next house upgrade!  STACY: Well, we make do with what we can get, Kate. You know I married Eve because I knew our children would have the best possible statistics. But you also know that I cheat on her with her sister, Eve2, because it makes for a really dramatic family tree!   KATE: I'm surprised Eve hasn't figured it out.  STACY: Oh, I just make sure Eve's in the room with no windows and doors first.

I’m starting to think that video games have it right. I wish my partner was sworn to carry my burdens. I’m lucky if I can get him to carry half of the shopping. He usually just says things like “maybe you shouldn’t have bought 2kg of ice cream” and “do we really need this many crisps?”.

PLAYER TWO: My darling, my [INSERT PET NAME HERE], I knew you were the one for me when you did that really sick ollie in the park. But what really made me fall for you was when we made love for the first time and I had an overwhelming need to give you a card with my face on it.  KATE: Oh, Player Two! I think I... [love you] [need to go to the bathroom] [will give Cloud Strife Goes On Holiday a 10/10]

Ooooh, looks like REPLAY is going to get spicy. I wonder if it’ll just fade to black like a video game sex scene? Maybe with the “ooh”s and “ah”s done as a voiceover, Fable-style? Maybe you have to pay extra to see them in the cinema — or maybe they’ll let the audience press a button to skip the cutscene? Guess we’ll find out.

EDITOR: This review... well, it's not really a review, is it?   KATE: It's avant-garde.  EDITOR: Well, no, it's more of a ten-page essay on your new boyfriend. Did you actually play Cloud Strife Goes On Holiday?  KATE: I did. But I also played a much more important game. Love.  EDITOR: I didn't commission you to write a review of love-  KATE: It's a 10/10. Great framerate. Wonderful mechanics. Fantastic replay value.  EDITOR: I think I'm going to hire someone else.

Seems like REPLAY is going to end much like other films about journalists: they write a six-page essay about the things they learned about love, and submit it to their editor even though it’s not what they were asked to write, before ceremoniously quitting their job, because… boyfriend??? Yeah, we’re looking at you, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.

INT. CHILD'S BEDROOM - NIGHT  We see in an over-the-shoulder shot of KATE and PAPA that the child is peacefully sleeping. KATE gently pats the covers.  KATE: Sleep tight, baby. Turn your NiGHTS Into Dreams.  PAPA: I can't believe we made such a perfect child by kissing for ten minutes.  KATE turns to PAPA. Her eyes are outside of her skull, and her arms are held out in a T-pose.  KATE: Maybe let's make another one right now.

Aw, what a lovely ending. It’s a shame that women are so hard to animate, but we can’t help it — we’re just so darn confusing. It’s all those tentacles, probably.




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