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A Deus Ex developer remade Hamlet into a 'video game' ... and then back into a play

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Hamlet: The Video Game (The Stage Show) is an interactive parody of video games that kicks off in a Christchurch, New Zealand theater this week.

The play, turned video game, returned to play format was conceived written and directed by Simon Peacock, the voice and motion capture director for upcoming Eidos game Deus Ex 4: Mankind Divided.

In the play, the audience is meant to be the game focus group for Hamlet: The Video Game, and they have the ability to change how the play/game moves forward.

"No two 'play throughs' will be the same," according to the website for the play. "Partly scripted, partly improvised and wholly unique. The audience calls the shots. Every level must be conquered until his father's death has been avenged!"

The promo site promises, most certainly tongue-in-cheek, a Hamlet "good with his fists, good with a gun and even better with the ladies." A Gertrude who kicks ass and a Shakespeare play with a tutorial level and final boss battle. And, Peacock promises, there will be zombies.

Hamlet: The Video Game (The Stage Show) has all of the excitement of an online death match, the website promises, with none of the lag.

The play is making its world premiere at The Forge at The Court as part of the Christchurch Arts Festival. On the site, Peacock says that he consulted with Mary DeMarle, the narrative director for the Deus Ex games, on how to turn Hamlet into a video game.

"We've ratcheted up the action and added improvisation to give it the interactivity that comes with a video game, giving the audience control over the show's course," Peacock said.

The original Shakespeare play, considered by some to be one of his best, was also streamlined; characters removed, plot points sanded down and then the whole thing was peppered with a variety of stereotypical game characters and references to video games.

The show will also feature audio visual effects. No word if it will have a showing beyond the Sept. 3-6 offering in New Zealand.